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Culling from personal experiences that deal with the conflicts of economics and relationships, Calleja uses techniques in production and advertising to take control of these influences as they manifest themselves in bits and pieces of plastic and metal, to be molded, re-assembled and given form in the shape of a toy collectible. With a process that converts intangible concepts (usually reserved for adulthood) into playthings, Calleja turns the bothersome and the throwaway into objects that evoke memories of play and visions of science fiction robot battles.

Calleja’s objects/toys/sculptures usually take the form of a bio-mechanical warrior and/or vehicle, owing their aesthetics to the artist’s influences such as surrealist painter HR Giger, conceptual designer Ralph Mcquarrie, toy designers Rotobox Vinyl Anatomica and even classic TV shows about wartime like “Baa Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “Combat”. The fighting forms of Calleja’s creations embody the tension of toy and weapon: where one is given the idea of fighting one’s battles through the playful eyes of a child.

Calleja’s work has been exhibited in group shows at the Toy Art Gallery in Los Angeles and has been nominated twice in the Best Customizer category in Clutter Magazine’s Designer Toy Awards in New York. — Alan Navarra

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CUSTOM TOYS by Jan Calleja




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