Art Whore

#AWTR – Frank Mysterio – ‘Primitivo’ soft vinyl – One Off

  • Produced By = Frank Mysterio (Mexico)
  • Figure Name = ‘Primitivo’ aka ‘Primitive Monster’
  • Custom By = Frank Mysterio (one off custom)
  • Release Details = Frank Mysterio – ‘Primitivo’ aka ‘Primitive Monster’ soft vinyl – One Off (Custom request by Art Whore from February 2017)
  • Material = Soft Vinyl (made in Mexico)
  • Country of Production = Mexico
  • Height = 23 cm
  • Depth = 7 cm
  • Width = 15 cm (arm to arm)
  • No of Parts = 4 (head, body + 2 arms)
  • Released = February 2017
  • Sculpt Debut = February 2017
  • Price = US$ 70
  • Genre = Sofvi

Read the full review and pics after the jump…

Back Info

The ‘Primitivo’ aka ‘Primitive Monster’ soft vinyl is designed by Mexican artist Frank Mysterio and is a self released work – the vinyl figure itself also being made in Mexico.

‘Primitivo’ debuted in January 2017.

This version is a one off custom requested by Art Whore.

Frank himself is well known in the art toy, graffiti and fine art worlds – having been in the game for many many years. He has previously released two made in Japan soft vinyl arts toys: the ‘Narquito’ (debuted in 2016) and the ‘Anticristo 666’ (debuted in 2013).

Interestingly, late 2016 saw Frank beginning to work with soft vinyl makers in his native Mexico, with his ‘Frank Balls’ series of single piece toys. The ‘Primitivo’ is the 2nd made in Mexico figure released by Frank.

** Side note – we at ‘Art Whore’ LOVE how the soft vinyl scene is opening up production wise, with soft vinyl art toys now being produced in Japan, China and Mexico. It’s DIY, punk as fukk and more avenues for production can only help to grow the scene. **

(Photo below of the ‘Primitivo’ with a clay mushroom house and copper Tasmanian Tiger)

The Sculpt

Clunky, misshapen and highly detailed. The ‘Primitivo’ has one head with four eyes, a wide mouth and three noses. Additionally the monster has two arms ending with four fingered hands, two legs and uhhh…. both a penis and a butthole.

The sculpt details are in the textures of the ‘Primitivo’s’ flesh: ridges, bumps, missing chunks, boils, holes and all. All topped off with three tiny antennae-like prongs on the head.

The two arms are off centre and different lengths, really highlighting the janky aspect of the figure.

Importantly for us, the human aspect really shines through in the sculpt, you can see the work of human tools and hands to craft the figure in all it’s details  – a boring, clinical 3D sculpt this is not.

(Pictures below of the original sculpt, wax version, and some molds used to make the ‘Primitivo’ soft vinyl)

The Vinyl

The figure is made out of plain white made in Mexico soft vinyl.

The vinyl itself is very squishy – almost like a dog chew toy or squeeze ball.

And smell wise? Cracking open the joints on the figure and taking a whiff we were hit by a strong chemical smell. We can’t quite put our finger’s on it… but there was something Proust like with the effect, taking us back to childhood… We can only guess to some toy we grew up with? We can picture swimming pools and cheap plastic toys… But nothing specific…

That all said, what we may be smelling is the paint, and the Proust like effect may be due to a brief brain fry from it’s effects.

** Side note – so for those keeping track as to the smells of vinyl toys produced in different countries: Made In Japan soft vinyl smells organic. Made in China soft vinyl smells like nothing much. Whereas made in Mexico vinyl smells of mind altering chemicals. **

(Photos below of some unpainted white ‘Primitivo’ soft vinyl figures)

The Custom Work

We asked Frank to do a one off for us. We provided Frank with the colours to use (black, red, flesh, brown, white, silver and gold) and gave him free reign.

The paint work is beautiful and the colours really mix well. The figure looking like some kind of mutant volcano monster spat out from the depths of the underworld.

We only wish the black drool emanating from the mouth, and descending down both the back and front of the figure wasn’t there. It’s a great idea detail wise, but in this instance isn’t needed and detracts from the rest of the paint job.

2 of the 4 eyes are painted, and the other 2 are highlighted with plastic inserts – a great touch that adds a lot of (split) personality to the figure.

(Pictures below of the one off ‘Primitivo’)

Playability 

* Can they Stand = Yes
* Can they Sit = No
* Is it Easily Breakable = Not at all – though some of the paint could be scratched off if rubbed against a hard surface such as sandstone.
* Accessories = None

Overall these figures have standard playability. The head can be spun, and the arms turned. Nothing groundbreaking. But also nothing lacking.

The 4 eyes on the head add a lot – as it enables lots of different looks for the figure when posing.

It isn’t a flaw as such, but we really wish the legs could move and the figure could be posed sitting. Yes this would have needed 2 extra parts (one for each leg), and probably upped the price, but it would have been worth it. It would have taken the figure’s playability from merely acceptable, to almost perfect.

(Photo below of some ‘Primitivo’ art by Frank Mysterio)

Flaw(s)?

The vinyl is perfect, however the figure has some minor flaws in the paintwork (some unpainted parts around joins and also some paint rubbing off in shipping) and the right arm can’t be turned 360 degrees without rubbing against the back of the figure.

The figure itself was shipped to us in a box, wrapped in a rag – no header or plastic baggie for this beast – and we can only guess some of the paint rubbed off in transit. An issue that could have easily been avoided with better packaging…. ah well…

The missing paint at the joins and the loss of paint due to rubbing in shipping is a sign of sloppy craftsmanship – but as this figure is pretty much a bootleg, it could be argued that the paint flaws add a bit of real world bootleg charm.

However, the fact that the right arm rubs on the rear of the figure, really should have been fixed during quality control. Another example sadly that goes to show that quality control (checking for rubbing joints, checking a figure can stand / balance, checking the paint won’t rub in shipping etc.) is a major issue affecting the soft vinyl scene. We really do hope it improves as the scene matures, and grows.

Simply put? You won’t want to return the figure due to it’s flaws, but they are there and can’t be overlooked.

(Photos below showing the missing paint at joins and also some paint loss due to rubbing in shipping)

Summery

Toy nerds know that the ‘Primitivo’ figure is most likely a tribute / knock off of the NagNagNag ‘Boryoku Genjin’ (aka ‘Primitive Violence Man’ / ‘Violent Caveman’) sofubi figure.

The ‘Boryoku Genjin’ is easily the most hyped and lusted after soft vinyl currently being made – currently retailing for US$850 or so, and often commanding prices of up to US$5,000 on the secondary market. When it originally debuted in 2008 the ‘Boryoku Genjin’ was a clunky monster like the ‘Primitivo’, but over time it has been altered with subsequent releases. The clunky aspects removed and replaced with a highly intricate and detailed sculpt, slightly larger than the original.

This gradual change that has seen the NagNagNag ‘Boryoku Genjin’ morph from an interesting kaiju, to a boring, overworked zombie-esque monster toy you could expect to buy from Hot Topic – complete with trendy fluro hair and MISHKA brand cap.

The ‘Primitivo’ can thus be seen as both a loving tribute to what the ‘Boryoku Genjin’ was – a unique, clunky human like monster;  and also a giant fuck you to what it has become – a hyper detailed boring cliched zombie that costs as much as a small car.

(Photos below of the 1st clunky ‘Boryoku Genjin’ Vs it’s current larger, more detailed Hot-Topic-esque zombie version)

As the many versions of the ‘Boryoku Genjin’ have gotten more and more detailed, Frank Mysterio has gone the opposite direction with the ‘Primitivo’:

– It is even more clunky than the original ‘Boryoku Genjin’ from 2008.

– It is even cheaper than the original ‘Boryoku Genjin’ (US$ 70 as opposed to the original price for the ‘Boryoku Genjin’ of US$350 or it’s current price of US$850.)

– It adds a penis to the butthole included on the original ‘Boryoku Genjin’ – with the ‘Primitivo’s’  penis hinting at it being the father of the ‘Boryoku Genjin’.

– The ‘Boryoku Genjin’ is allegedly as a symbol of the horrors inflicted on Japan due to the Atomic Bomb and US occupation during WW2 and it’s aftermath – “Fuck USA” foot stamp and all. The ‘Primitivo’ can be seen as a symbol of the horrors inflicted upon Mexico by the war on drugs and US foreign policy – 4 eyes filled with paranoia due to the corruption and violence. A deformed body ravaged by chemicals and drugs.

…both toys seemingly symbols of the horror’s of man’s actions upon himself and the natural world.

And to sum up? As a pisstake tribute to the ‘Boryoku Genjin’, the Primitivo is perfect.

As a stand alone art toy, the Primitivo is amazing and a damn lotta fun – but it is far from perfect. It has flaws, average playability and really would have benefited from movable legs.

That all said we still LOVE the figure – both stand alone and with the NagNagNag connection.

The ‘Primitivo’ is clearly handmade. A lotta fun. Bursting with personality and it’s easily accessible. Grab one if you can and support the global DIY soft vinyl scene!

(Photos below showing the full 360 turnaround of the ‘Primitivo’ head)

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