Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Albert Art Custom Thomas Han Pushers Vinyl Toy
right-click view image to see full size.
Munky King, Monkey Attitude

Have you ever walked into a store, and were treated like shit? That may sound like an opening line to an infomercial, but it's actually true to life. My first time to Munky King was kinda like that headline, leaving me and others somewhat disappointed with the experience.

Over the holidays I had a chance to check out Munky King. I walked into the flagship store on Melrose with my sister, cousin, and my aunt, excited to see what this vinyl toy temple was all about, after hearing such good things about this place. The store was practically dead during the daytime but there was someone behind the counter tapping away at their laptop, so it wasn't like the store was entirely empty.

Without any acknowledgment from the store employee, who pretty much kept to himself, (no hi, no hello, no offer to help), we started looking on our own at all the great toys and art on the walls and in glass cases. It was a matter of time before my kid cousin saw something he liked, (no surprise, he's just a kid), so my aunt had to ask for help because it was behind glass. Reluctant to help her, the guy comes around from the other side of the counter bringing with him a cold unhelpful attitude that you could instantly pickup. My energetic cousin (who is only 4 years old) wasn't sure which toy he wanted, and his indecisiveness was clearly annoying the Munky King staff member. My aunt asked him what the particular toy did, and he explained to her in a patronizing tone that the toy didn't do anything, that it wasn't a 'wind-up toy'. Put off by his tone, my aunt still went ahead and bought my cousin a toy.

I then told the employee that I wanted to buy a Thomas Han Pushers, so he had to grab one for me. At the cash register I tried to make small talk waiting for my credit card transaction to go through, but I was met with an unfriendly vibe. Maybe he was PMSing.

I don't know about most people, but I like my vinyl toy shops to be somewhat welcoming, especially when the customer is interested in spending money. I've been to different toy stores before and for the most part they're always friendly -- specialty stores or 'boutiques' should be a positive experience. Not to generalize everyone working at Munky King, but I think the Melrose mentality has gone to their heads. You're selling TOYS! True they are 'designer' toys, but why the 'designer' attitude?

Just because we weren't wearing American Apparel or some bullshit, doesn't mean we don't deserve good service.

I think if I ever needed to buy anything from Munky King again, I'd do it online or something. That way I don't have to deal with the attitude.

After, we checked out JapanLA, which was right around the corner from Munky King. JapanLA might have been smaller, but they were nicer, and had a sweet setup with a PS2 hooked up to a widescreen hanging on the wall that you could sit on the couch and play. I did some Katamari and bought a large Gloomy Bear which my cousin loved even more than his Munky King toy.

And now for the Art:

Albert Art custom Thomas Han 'Pushers' vinyl toy.

This little baby is hand painted with acrylics, spray paint, and markers. It's inspired by the idea of armored 'fairy-like' goblin soldiers. This guy in particular became possessed by the power of the Pushers masks and plucked his own eyes out to see through them.

I started customizing this toy shortly after completing my custom Smorkin' Labbit, and took me about a week on and off to do.

The platform was designed by Thomas Han and produced by Munky King.

Be sure to join my facebook fanpage to stay updated with all my future work.


itskindadark said...

I feel you on this dude. You gotta be part of the "IN" crowd in order to get any conversation or decency at that place. I was there one time in December of 2007 and I was treated like it was such a hassle to have me in there breathing their precious "designer" air...makes me glad I live in Chicago. Places such as MK that manufacture toys as well as sell them tend to have egos, usually not the owners but the employees are huge d-bags. Fuck 'em, don't give them your money anymore.

David said...

Dear Sir,

I could not disagree with you more vehemently.

It's all about perception dude - and for whatever reason you had the notion in your head that Munky King was going to be [fill in blank here].

So you created that wonderful experience for yourself and even got to b*tch about it online on your blog.

The truth is the people at Munky King are intensely supportive of their artists, good art, and the art-toy phenomena. Your review of their store is simply incorrect and colored by your own dramas and issues.

However, I did see that you painted the DIY Thomas Han Pusher and I would invite you to see my version of this DIY. I sold it at Comic Con in NYC this year but I will have another one at MUNKY KING coming up in a few weeks for a group show and you can check it out there - I focused more on the blues etc.

Good Day Sir.


PS: Perhaps you can give them another chance. They are simply one of the best custom vinyl art stores around.