Art Figurines

zard apuya kidrobot munny 2.pngOne toy customizer's creations look positively delicious

You may have styled your pony toy’s hair or swapped the limbs on your action figures as a kid, but what used to be a casually destructive act among kids has now grown into a pastime—even an art—among adults. The toy customization community is an active and vibrant hive of creativity online, helped in part by the boom of designer toys in the 1990s and 2000s. Toys are sold as blank canvasses, customized by enterprising individuals either on commission or on some independent initiative, and sold online as works of art.

One of the more remarkable contributors to this phenomenon is Zard Apuya, a native of the island of Guam who has combined the iconic Munny toys (created by Kidrobot) with remarkably realistic evocations of food—in particular, the treats sold at Disneyland.

zard apuya kidrobot munny 4.png“Disney is a brand that almost every generation is familiar with and can relate to. I grew up watching Disney movies and shared many memories with family at Disneyland and Disneyworld. It always reminds me that it is ok to feel like a kid and have fun, ” Apuya, who got started painting hats, bags and shoes for his friends on Guam, said in an email.

“So I thought it would be too expected to turn Munnies into Disney characters, which I have done. First of all, I love food! Second, my memories of going Disneyland was tied in with eating some of my favorite treats at the park.zard apuya kidrobot munny 3.png For instance, the giant smoked turkey legs are my favorite must have treat whenever I go.”

In 2013, Apuya relocated to San Francisco, where he has been embraced by the local Kidrobot retail store and invited to their various customization events and group shows. He most enjoys, however, showing work to benefit a larger cause.

zard apuya kidrobot munny 5.png“What I especially enjoy is getting invited to contribute an art piece that would be sold in a silent auction where all proceeds would benefit a local charity. Back on Guam, I donated custom toys for a silent auction benefiting the Calvo Cancer Foundation. Here in the Bay Area, I was invited to donate an art piece for the Golden State Warriors where the proceeds benefited the Warriors Community Foundation.”

Kidrobot welcomes such efforts. “Many of the artists we’ve worked with have started as customizers, so it’s not that uncommon for an “official” relationship to happen. We spend a great deal of time looking for up-and-coming artists and talking about them with industry friends/peers. Thankfully platforms like Instagram and ready-to-run ecommerce platforms make it that much easier for artists to get their works recognized and talked about, ” said Marketing Director Steven Elmes.


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