March 18, 2007

Japan's Favorite Out&Proud Elephant Has Art Exhibition, Goods Sale

david_mckee_elmer_parco.jpg

Elmer is definitely, 100% not gray. He's not quite flamboyant, but he is as rainbow-colored as the bumper sticker on any Subaru, and just as proud. He's so cute, you'd have to be a cranky, old ogre from Minnesota not to like him.

On Friday, the Logos Gallery at Parco, a Tokyo department store in Shibuya, just opened an exhibition of original artworks by Elmer creator David McKee. From the sound of things, the watercolors, pastels, and drawings are not actually for sale, though. [1]

Instead, they work the high-low on you, appeal to your refined cultural sensibilities--and then sell you an Elmer oven mitt. [Though I have to say, it's been a year and a half, and the kid still loves setting the Elmer kitchen timer.]

Sony Plaza has three pages of random Elmer goods to browse. Judging by the amount of kitchen gear and bag-type accessories, even more than kids, the target market seems to be housewives and moms. It's like Elmer is their funny, adorable, non-threatening, gray friend. Oh wait, I forgot: he's not gray.

Elmer The Elephant: The Art Collection, 3/16-28 [parco-art.com via tokyo art beat]

[1]Why is that? Wouldn't there be a market for original artwork, not just the mass-produced posters and glicee prints that gets passed off as art [2]
[2] I guess I just go to the wrong art fairs. Battledore is a gallery up the Hudson in Kingston, NY that specializes in children's book art, especially the artwork of Maurice Sendak. Stylewise, I'm more an Ezra Jack Keats and Leo Lionni guy, but it looks like a good place to start.

2 Comments

way up here is sunny canada we grew up with another emler the elephant www.elmer.ca
would the real elmer please stand up...

He's more like Grandma's quilt...

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