Creatures in toyland

By Cristina Aguirre

Forces of good and evil reside in countries like Hot Dog Kingdom and Pantslyvania, guarded by the protectors in Ninja Town. In another world, furry six-legged creatures, known as FluffyYukYuks, chomp through everything they can get their teeth on, with loyal FluffyBooBoos and FluffyBadBads by their sides. With scenes and storylines derived from the imaginations of artists, the fictitious characters enter the world in the form of vinyl and plush toys.

The toy designing culture came to Chicago in the early 2000s, according to Kirby Kerr, owner of Rotofugi Designer Toy Store and Gallery, 2780 N. Lincoln Ave., and the community has flourished since. This year, more local toy designers are represented at national events and collaborate with artists and designers from around the world, putting a spotlight on Chicago. As more toy designers emerge from the city, so do galleries associated with them to highlight the art behind the characters and stories.