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Interview: Why CUPCO is crapbrain

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Hey Luke and Mayumi. Okay, what is CUPCO and how did it come about? What was the lighting that struck CUPCO?

When me and Mayu first started going out in Japan we stareted CUPCO as the name of our magical imagination land in which we were the king and queen. It’s our special world and we also have a special language for that world.

What is the name from??
We came up with the name together a name that has no meaning, but, it is the name of a magical land that we made together we speak a hybrid of Japanese and English which makes up our language but Mayus English is better than my Japanese, so 70% English.

We met in Tokyo in 2002 in front of tokyo station one of my Japanese English students set us up. Mayu was surrounded by a golden aura when I first met her (thats how i like to remember it), she says i looked like a starving artist with my hands and clothes covered in spraypaint. We dated for six months before our first kiss.

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You describe yourself as crapbrain. Why?
She’s the brain and I’m the crap!

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Your plush’ are fantastic! So original, colorful, and fun. Tell us a bit about yourselves, how did you meet? Who does what? Was it always a creative partnership? How did the CUPCO form/plush come about? How do you decide the characters you do?

I first started making plush in tokyo. I was inspired by a friends with you show I saw over there and also a skull show. I am CUPCO – actually Mayu doesn’t really do anything except lend moral support and good ideas at this point. I have to say that Mayu is really the figurehead ruler of CUPCO whereas I (Luke) actually do all the sweatshop work!


UNITED NATIONS OF CUPCO from CUPCO! on Vimeo.

You are working on this great project due to launch very soon, United Nation of CUPCO. Tell us about the concept. How did you invite all the artists to participate? You have some great folds including Little Friends of Printmaking, APAK, Peskimo, Jeremyville, and more. What will the final result be?

A lot of people are friends or virtual friends or people I’ve worked with before. The concept is that i send out the basic CUPCO DOLL template and the artists have their merry way with it and then they send it back and I make it into a doll, i.e., I sew the back on and stuff it. Tadaaa CUPCO DOLL!! So that involves a lot of sitting around because all my stuff is hand sewn. At this point I’m really wondering why I thought this would be a good idea but I think once I get all the dolls hung it will really look amazing! So I have about 70 international artists from around the world involved. It has taken about 2 years to get the whole thing together and all the dolls will be exhibited at the Damien Minton Gallery from 10 – 22 December, 2008.

You also do work on Yo Gabba Gabba. One of the coolest kid shows out there. Or, I like to think of it as a cool show for young adults with kids. How did you get involved. What do you do for the show??

Those YoGabbaGabba guys just sent me an email and asked, “Can you do a 3 minute spot” and I said, “YOGABBAGABBsolutelty.” I’d seen bits of the show somewhere and thought it looked awesome and when they asked to pay me to have fun and do some animation it was a pretty simple decision. The only slight hitch was when they send off the first storyboards to Nickelodeon, and Nickelodeon came back and said that some of the characters I’d done were too phallic and had too many nipples. Which was true. So I toned it down for the kids and got rid of all the nipples!

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I love, love, love the Poketo wallet you did for us. Tell us about the characters, why you chose them for us.
Well its a bit of a mix of different guys including Moses and the Ayatollah and Castro and the Dalai Lama and Gandhi and a kind of random demon god – so lets call it “Of Gods and Great men…”

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For the Poketo artshow in Melbourne, you sent a CUPCO deity and a couple of suicide bombers. I saw how you sent them… in bubble wrap with an address sticker on them. That would not fly in the US, it would get destroyed. I guess Australia post is much more gentle. Anyways, tell us a bit about that piece for the Poketo show.

Yeah I’ve never really had any problems with Australia Post besides the fact that they are a bit slow. Those dolls were from my CUPCO IS GOD show here in Sydney. There weren’t many dolls left because most of them sold out which is good!

Any last words, future projects, shout outs??
Right now a couple of my doll are being auctioned at Christie’s NY which is pretty cool. Next year Im taking it easy and doing less shows and taking more holidays and sleeping more! I will have a show in the US at the end of the year so stay tuned!!!

Check out CUPCO’s fun Poketo wallet here!
Visit CUPCO at cupco.net

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