040: Toy Art, With Travers Cooke
Weekly Inspiration: Diversity
This week, Michelle is drawing major inspiration from the diversity of the world around her. Consider for a moment the thousands of species of life on our planet and how innumerable the differences between them. There are even hundreds of animal and plant species that have yet to be discovered. Now zoom in on the humble Homo sapiens. The immense diversity in skin tones, belief patterns, and cultural expression within our single species is a reminder that there’s tremendous beauty in the differences that exist among us. Diversity is a gift, especially when we unify to build creative communities and relationships that celebrate and utilize our differences.
The art of toy making with Travers Cooke
Toy sculptor and connoisseur Travers Cooke gives The Cultured Crew an inside look at the world of toy art and its many subcultures—from the Bootleg scene, which creates new toys by swapping out parts and pieces from existing products, to the Kaiju scene, which draws inspiration from 80s Japanese monster toys.
During his conversation with Michelle, Travers explains how his love of science fiction cinema and 80s pop culture inspire the custom toys he designs. He walks us through the process of creating art toys, whether through digital sculpting or by using traditional materials like casts, molds, oil-based clays, and waxes.
Travers originally wanted to be an astronaut. But after developing an intense fear of heights as a teenager, he decided to let his love for sci-fi lead him to film school instead. This kickstarted a creative journey that led from filmmaking to comics to sculpture and finally to the weird and wonderful world of art toys. The consistent thread in Travers’ creative journey is a complete trust in his gut instinct to follow his passion wherever it might lead.
With toy art being the niche industry that it is, Travers is no stranger to using entrepreneurial savvy to forge a career. In recent years he has capitalized on his skills in sculpting and 3D designs to create one of a kind collaborations with local artists in other mediums, like Atlanta-based illustrator, sQuishiepuss.