A special breed of cats are taking over our urban jungle— meet Toshi Neko! Clogtwo’s latest creation is here to charm their way into your homes! We sat down for a cosy chat with our long-time friend and collaborator to learn more about him and his newly acquired frisky counterparts!
Where did you draw your inspiration from to create this series of cat themed collectibles? Tell us a little about the story behind this feline community!
It can get a little stressful at The Ink&Clog studio at times so my partner Inkten and I thought it might be nice to have a companion in the studio to ease the tension. When we got our first studio cat Yoshi, he was really quite a handful and we started second guessing our decision. Ginger cats like Yoshi are notorious for their mischievous character and we were especially worried for our canvases when we’re painting! Despite all the chaos he created in the studio, Yoshi is loyal to the bone. He would often welcome us at the door when we return to the studio and sleep on our laps while we’re working or even when we’re just taking a coffee break.
Not long after, we decided to adopt a younger sibling for Yoshi and named her Yuki! This tabby cat was no walk in the park either, always disrupting the peace and quiet in our studio. Putting aside her disruptive nature, Yuki really is a beautiful feline with detachment issues that will cling to you 24/7!
"Yoshi and Yuki are the muse for our creations. Through them, we learned to be more patient and just be there for each other though thick and thin."
Jackson (Founder of Mighty Jaxx) saw the undeniable love we had for our cats (and his) which sparked the birth of the Toshi Neko series as he imagined Yoshi as a Maneki Neko! Next thing I know, I received a call from the very eager Jackson saying, “ Clog, let’s do a cats series. I love it!” and that’s how Toshi Neko came about!
In the process of conceptualising the Toshi Neko series, what do you find most rewarding and difficult?
Being able to create the Toshi Neko series with Mighty Jaxx has really been a pleasure because of how close to heart the subject is for both Jackson and I. Whenever Jackson comes over to the studio, we would get really distracted talking about our cats!
It really helps that Jackson is always on the same page with me! His enthusiasm coupled with my support for his unending ideas, made the collaborative process an enjoyable one.
The only difficulty I faced was probably in trying to reflect a particular urban element in a specific breed of cat. Like in the first release— AlleyKat, I had to portray the Singapura cat breed as purely a street cat.
Overall, the process of conceptualising the Toshi Neko series has been very rewarding for me as I saw the project as a tribute to all cat and animal lovers out there.
How does your other personas as a graffiti artist and video designer contribute to your work in creating toy collectibles?
Being a graffiti writer has given me a lot of knowledge about urban culture, focusing on fashion and attitude, which really helps in creating characters that are appealing and unique.
Having experience as a motion graphic designer has given me the ability to imagine and create characters in different poses without reference.
I imagine that most artists have a certain habit they stick to in their creative process. Do you have any kind of routine when you’re working in the studio? Like certain music you listen to or any snacks that you munch on etc. Anything, really!
For me, I prefer to switch things up and I try to change my routine regularly.
Sometimes, I would sit down in front of the computer with a cup of good coffee or I will enjoy a long bus ride and sketch out my ideas on the road. Most important of all, before starting work on any project, it’s a must for me to organise and lay out all my materials (sketches, stationery etc.) before I begin!
Follow us on our social media for the latest updates of subsequent Toshi Neko releases. Second addition to Clogtwo’s Toshi Neko series— Kweeny will be dropping online at www.mightyjaxx.com on August 12.