Since society seems to be moving at an ever-increasing speed towards going all digital, the thumb drive is like the file folder of the past, except more compact and much more stylish. Retailers have cashed in on the market for people's desire to have cool gadgets in their pockets, and you can find all manner of interesting flash device out there.
However, when you combine storage space with something like an MP3 player, ask your favorite designers to come in and finish it off with a great look, you may just find you have a product on your hands that really catches people's attention. Such is the case with Mugo, a line created by Aaron Atchison that features big name artists such as Julie West, Shin Tanaka, Jon Burgerman and more.
With the announcement of a new line of Mugo Players themed after the DreamWorks film Kung Fu Panda 2, Mugo is hotter than ever, so we thought it'd be an ideal time to sit down with Aaron to chat about the line, inspiration, plans for the future and more.
Aaron: I have always been into cool gadgets, art and music and after working as a graphic designer for over ten years, I had a desire to pursue other facets of creativity. So I mashed up all the things I was passionate about and created Mugo. I took everything I knew about product design, art, toys and the collaborative process to generate this functional platform shape. What I thought would be a fairly simple endeavor has taken years to develop and countless cafe mochas at Starbucks while I gathered feedback from friends. Simply a labor of love.
COLOURlovers: Are you a toy collector yourself? Why made you want to go with the designer vinyl style?
Aaron: Events like Comic Con and local stores like Giant Robot and KidRobot always provided me with visual nuggets that piqued my interest in collecting these inexpensive art pieces. As a result, I slowly built up a collection including Dunny, Unkl Brand, and two Halo Master Chief action figures that now sit on the shelves at my office.
Aaron: I certainly was privy to a lot of the popular artists circulating in the art toy scene, but I had a few that I wanted to pursue for sure. It was a combination of personal tastes and marketing appeal along with artists that had a style that I felt could compliment the Mugo platform. The initial challenge was trying to convince artists that this was a viable idea and that we weren't wasting their time. As a concept, some artists simply didn't respond while others embraced the notion of collaborating on this new project.
"...we have a Discover Series that promotes creativity from our fans and emerging artists."
COLOURlovers: Do you have more artists on the slate for the future? Can you give us any hints?
Aaron: The great thing about creating a platform toy is the ability to work with different talents. Our next series includes an all female artist lineup including Yupyland, Lulibunny, Olla Boku and Cecy Meade. In addition, we have a Discover Series (see submissions here) that promotes creativity from our fans and emerging artists. In fact, some of our most popular designs are via community submission, which reinforces our idea of promoting these upcoming artists and designers. Anyone can submit a Mugo concept by downloading the Mugo template and if the design rocks, we'll produce it. We are also excited to work with our first licensing partner, DreamWorks, to launch Kung Fu Panda 2. We are most proud of this as Dreamworks discovered us before we even had product on the market thanks to all the support from fans and bloggers.
COLOURlovers: We will see larger capacity Mugo Players in the future?
Aaron: We currently offer a 2GB storage capacity on all our MP3 players which can store about 500 songs, 1000 photos or 2000 documents. Though most of our fans like the Mugo for the design aspect, the demand for a higher storage capacity is within our scope along with other fun products to accompany the Mugo platform.
COLOURlovers: Do you feel consumers react to the designer vinyl style and artists? What makes it cool? What do you like about the look?
Aaron: I think the main appeal to art toys is their ability to remain somewhat obscure from the mainstream. It's something we can take ownership of, kinda the same way we get excited about discovering that unsigned band or small fashion label. The vinyl toy scene is not for everyone, and that makes it cool. And with so many amazing artists from every corner of the world sharing their vision through this art toy medium, I feel it has a thriving culture.
COLOURlovers: What artists and designers are you inspired by?
Aaron: I have mad respect for most artists just trying to make a name for themselves as they explore the development of their craft. The ones that confidently pursue their own style catch my eye the most. My art tastes change, similarly to the genres of music I get into to, but currently I'm stoked on Jeff Soto, Buff Monster, Mark Ryden, Evan Hecox, and David Kinsey.
COLOURlovers: Thanks so much for your time, Aaron!
Contest & Giveaway
Mugo is giving three (3) lucky ducks the opportunity to win their very own Mugo Player of choice! Simply go to their site, mugoplayer.com and pick at least one (1) favorite player or color combination and link directly to it in the comments... tell us what you like most about the design(s) you chose to link to.
Contest will run today (Monday), May 23rd through Friday, June 3rd, 2011. The winners will be chosen by random selection. You will only be entered in to the contest once, but feel free to keep posting your favorites. This is a contest for both US & International residents. Thanks Mugo!
FYI: The new Kung Fu Panda series are also a part of the contest!
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HP is not involved in this giveaway.