Tosco Toys are plush creations that equally borrow from crisp illustration lines and classic fantasy/horror movies. Some of their more interesting creations involve an innovative transformation feature where layers are removed to reveal another character hidden beneath. All Tosco Toys are limited to runs of fifty and arrive at your door in their very own funky vinyl toy bag. Tosco Toys are clearly paving new ways for the Brazilian collector market.
â€œWe have an obsession to do everything in the best quality and design, so the toy packages couldn’t be different.â€
Format: Please introduce yourself.
AndrÃ© Alcantara: Hello. My name is AndrÃ© Alcantara. I’m a Brazilian graphic designer. I created Tosco Toys with my wife Paula de Moraes, a psychologist, and craft-maker in her free time.
Format: What is your artistic background?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: Like I said, I’m a graphic designer and currently working in an advertising agency. As a toy designer, we just launched three different plush collections, with eleven art toys. The â€œMonstros” series, inspired by the classic B movies, the “Skull Collection,” our first glow-in-the-dark plush toy, and the last “Circus Freak.”
Format: How did you start making plush toys?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: I believe that all boys love to play with Playmobiles and GI Joes. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the Ray Harryhausen stop-motion fantasy movies. I looked to the monsters and creatures and thought: “How do they do this?” So recently in June 2005, after discovering the Pictoplasma Book (a Die Gestalten’s publication), I was given access to an infinite collection of characters. At the same time, my wife was thinking to start some hand-made work with fabrics and patchworks. After, I showed her my sketches and asked, “Can you do this?” And thatâ€™s how it all started.
Format: What sort of fabrics do you use?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: We use a several kind of fabrics, like cotton fabrics, vinyl stretch, silk, vintage velvets, cotton bandage, and imitation animal skins. It depends what kind of character we want to make. And we print with different kinds of silk-screen paints, like foil (a metallic paint), and Plastsol (a plastic paint). We also developed a glow-in-the-dark paint to use in the Glow skull.
Format: How do people in Brazil react to your toys?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: We are pioneers in the Brazilian art toy movement, so in the beginning the people loved our “puppets”, but didnâ€™t understand what we was doing so much. â€œWhy is this so expansive?” they would ask. We have a lot commercial proposals to sell the Tosco Toys in baby and kids shops.
Format: How is the vinyl/plush community in Brazil? Are there many collectors?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: The Brazilian toy scene is just beginning. It is still difficult to produce quality toys and something really original, so our series are very limited–only thirty or fifty units. It’s not easy to compete with international Chinese productions, but today we have our group of Tosco fans.
Format: Were you a fan of monster stories as a child?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: Yeah! As I mentioned earlier, I loved The Harryhausen monsters, and more recently the Tim Burton’s movies, like Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.
Format: Have you thought of doing any local Brazilian characters?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: No. I believe we are most influenced by the pop culture.
Format: Tell us about your toy bags.
AndrÃ© Alcantara: We have an obsession to do everything in the best quality and design, so the toy packages couldn’t be different. We started selling through our website and sending the toys by post; we needed to do a soft and flexible package, so we came up with this idea.
Format: Where can we find your toys?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: The people can find our toys on our website Toscotoys.com, or in three local shops in SÃ£o Paulo: at Laundry, a young fashion label; at Plastic Gallery, that specializes in art toys (I believe they sell for international customers by the website plasticsp.com.br); and at the POP, a mix of art bookstore, art toy shop, and gallery.
Format: What are your plans for the future?
AndrÃ© Alcantara: Actually we are working on a Tosco Custom series to a local exhibition in July, and we are launching our fourth collection soon. We are trying to find a quality partner to produce series around five-hundred units. And, have fun creating new characters of course.
More Info: http://www.toscotoys.com/