Tomopop Exclusive: interview with JamFactory's Gavin Strange

11:58 AM on 11.17.2008 // Sarah Schutz

Here at Tomopop we’ve become quite enamored with JamFactory’s Droplets and were thrilled when they were recently restocked in stores. Colette brought us her day out with her Droplets  and we’ve been hurriedly trying to get our hands on the whole collection. These little blind box figures give us so much joy, in fact, that we had to know more.

Gavin Strange, the creator of the Droplets, was kind enough to reveal some of the mystery behind his creation and give us a peek into the mind of the artist. He discusses the figures’ great success and recent placement in Urban Outfitters stores and gives us a few hints about what to expect from JamFactory in the future.  

Tomopop: What inspired you to create the adorable creatures that are the Droplets?

Gavin: Well, when I originally started working with Andy from Crazy Label, I just started sketched and playing with various ideas for shapes. A droplet-style shape was one of those rough doodles and myself and Andy liked it, so I started developing it further and further. The shape developed and then the idea of the Droplet mini monsters got added into the mix! Then, after a visit to an awesome sweet shop here in Bristol, I got the inspiration for the colorways for the little fellas!

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Tomopop: Droplets have recently invaded Urban Outfitters. How do you feel about the world falling so desperately in love with your creation? And when will be seeing them in stores?

Gavin: Oh man I'm over the moon, I really really am! I can't quite grasp the fact that the lil' fellas are all over the world, it's an amazing feeling and I'm very very lucky!

They're in-stores now! There's a whole lotta toy stores around the world that have been kind enough to stock them, which itself is a fantastic feeling as I feel like I've been 'accepted' into the vinyl world, which is a bit of a dream come true to be honest!

Tomopop: Out of personal curiosity, which way do prefer the droplets – right side up . . . or other right side up?

Gavin: I gotta say, I think I prefer them the original way up! Thats purely because that's their original form - their upside down faces came about as an accident, as Andy was photographing them at prototype stage and noticed that they looked great upside down, so he suggested I develop a face graphic that works both ways! So the symmetrical faces came about later and I'm so glad they did!

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Tomopop:
Are you a toy collector yourself? If so, what figures grace your shelves?

Gavin: I am indeed, I LOVE toys! My shelves are pretty full but some of my favourites include Pete Fowlers 20" Van Orlax,  TADO's Tulip, James Jarvis's King Ken, Jubbs, Mr Waverly, I've got a big Michael Siu speaker, lots of Tokidoki goodness and tonnes more!

I love collecting toys, I think you can tell alot about people by what they collect and I love looking at other peoples toy collections, I find it fascinating. My desk at work is becoming quite full of toys as well, and people always ask about different toys and what they're all about, and I love explaining!!

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Tomopop: Everyone here at Tomopop knows about your success with the Droplet series, but may be unfamiliar with your other artwork. Can you tell us a bit about your other creations and where we can find them?

Gavin: Well everything I do lives on my own website and that's been my online 'playground' for years. I like to dabble in everything I can, purely because I've always wanted to turn my hand at anything i've been interested in, so I've been lucky enough to design skateboards to toys, characters to t-shirts, websites to album artwork.

Im plastered all over the internet too, because of my own vanity-spurned love of self-promotion, so I'm in love with Flickr, Twitter and places like that!

Tomopop: You recently spoke at an Apple store about channeling your creativity through Macs. Did the Droplets initially inhabit a virtual space before entering the vinyl world?

Gavin: No, Droplets were purely an idea from scratch intended for the vinyl world. in the early stages, there was talk of bringing an existing character to life, But I always want to do something new for each project, so im glad Droplet was created from scratch to be a toy.

All the design processes happen on a Mac anyways, from developing the shape to finishing off the packaging.

Tomopop: What else do you have up your sleeve for us vinyl lovers? On your site you show off a couple of your customs. Can we expect more of those or perhaps another series?

Gavin: You can expect more from me... I dont want to let the cat out of the bag but you'll definitely be seeing more of Droplet in 2009... :)

There's also some other bits happening too, that I'm very excited about! I feel so privileged to be part of the toy world, I really don't want it to end, so my dream would be to continue designing and making toys!

Me and Andy from Crazy Label have a great working relationship, so I hope we continue to make great little toys for a long time in the future!

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Tomopop: Thanks so much for bringing us so much happiness with the creation of your Droplets. We look forward to what you will bring us in the future! (And, of course, more Droplets. You can never have too many . . .)

Gavin: Well thank you very very much for giving me the opportunity to have an interview, very kind of you and thanks to everyone at Tomopop!!!

[All photos are used courtesy of JamFactory's Flickr]

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