We had the good fortune of connecting with Jovee Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jovee, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
It was all a dream, that one rainy Saturday morning my then 4 year old daughter and I had just finished our ritual of watching cartoons and eating big bowls of cereal. After all the cartoons and educational programs on PBS had gone off the rain seemed to intensify meaning this was going to be an inside day of play for the both of us. With nothing more to watch on television she suggested that we craft something today. Before she could walk or even talk this little artist could hold a pencil, a crayon, or a pen and could draw amazingly well. I was grooming her to be artist to follow in her grandmothers (a fine artist) and my (a street artist) footsteps. Crafting was a way that her and I spent our father daughter time together, so these types of request always kept me on my toes as a graphic and visual artist. Today’s craft project came from an old HIGHLIGHT magazine and had a die-cut paper doll for us to punch out. It took us only a few minutes to remove the paper doll and her 3 outfits from the printed page. No sooner than we had folded over all the clothing tabs and dressed the paper doll in a variety of clothing combinations, she looked up at me and said, “Dad this was boring, we should make our own paper dolls, and we should make then look like the characters in your graffiti art books.” It was like watching an animated episode of Pinky and the Brain. I saw the lightbulb shining brightly above her head and with each added idea it shinned brighter. Her enthusiasm was overwhelming intoxicating. “Well boys don’t play with dolls” I said, trying to make her think outside the box. “Boys make paper airplanes and they play with those, so we should call them paper toys,”she suggested “they should have paper clothes that look like real clothes and shoes you can lace and tie.” This artistic exchange of ideas had me taking notes as if I was the student and this 4 year old little girl was my teacher. In all my years of college I could have never come up with such an amazing concept I thought to myself. Thank goodness a degree in visual art and graphic design gave me the proper foundation to turn her ideas into a tangible good. This was my moment of truth. That night while she slept I worked late into the evening designing and sketching from the laundry list of notes I had taken. Nothing was more important than showing a child that if you can think it and work hard at it everything is possible. I had become consumed by the imagination of a child thus making me conjure up all my emotions I had as a young boy growing up in streets of Compton wanting to make Muppets for Jim Henson or draw cartoons for Warner Brothers. At that moment I was living my dream. A college education had given me the proper tools to succeed but she gave me the child like imagination to dream the impossible and make it possible. I believe a child’s imagination is one of the must important untapped natural resources and I was lucky enough to tap into it, unearth my inner child and the inner child that lay dormit within us all. Toygami is our gift to you. Thank you for all you support in keeping our dreams alive and “May the folds be with you.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
: the paper engineering art or process of designing, printing, cutting, folding and gluing of paper into representational shapes or characters
from toy(play thing or miniature) + gami (paper)
First use: 2007
Hip Hop smoothed out on an origami tip with a Pop Art feel, Pop Culture appeal to it.
Every artist dips his brush into his own soul…and paints his own nature into his pictures. Jovee Edwards’ art bares the soul of an artist who sees life in multiple dimensions. Born in Compton, California, he illustrates life through the eyes of a man who has seen the good and the evil, the ups and the downs, the ecstasy and the tragedy of the urban existence.
Influenced by urban Hip-Hop and POP culture, his art is cutting edge counterculture at its creative apex. Whether it’s through the medium of paper engineered origami sculpture, urban street art, fashion design or graphic design, he has proven himself to have a voice not only worth listening to, but his artistic words should be remembered and told to any and everyone who is open to hearing his creative truth.
An accomplished artist, sculptor, designer and illustrator, his latest series of creations are, in many ways, his most innovative. Over the past few years Jovee has taken to perfecting and presenting his “Toygami” to the world. Toygami is a collection of hand-crafted paper engineered works of art skillfully created and influenced by life, current trends, Pop and Hip-Hop culture. This undertaking along with his other artistic endeavors and collaborations have only cemented his status as an artistic to be a force to be reckoned. Toygami have become fashion models representing brands, clothing lines, sneaker shops, including – Skullcandy, The Hundreds, LRG, NEFF, Hello Kitty, Paul Frank, Dime Peice, Bape, Soulful Commandoe, Undefeated, all with Nike , Adidas, Puma, Converse and Vans shoes. Did i forget to say that all the shoes come with real laces. Toygami has also become action figures, depicting such celebrities/entertainers as Run-DMC, New Kids On The Block, Karl Lagerfeild, Jay-Z, J-Dilla, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and LMFAO. Edwards’ also shows you his inner playful child with crafting some of his favorite television icons such as Gumby, Dr. Suess’s Cat in the Hat, the cast of Regular Show, Misadventures of Flap Jack, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Power Puff Girls, Yo Gabba Gabba, Fred Flintstone, “Where the Wild Things Are” and even a crafty comical self portrait of himself. With the ability and the intellect to both dream, turn ideas into reality and thoughts into things. Toygami innovative designs are primed to revolutionize the art world. And though the revolution may not be televised…it will be cut, folded and glued. Paper to the people.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank all the indy art galleries from L.A, IE and SD, my family and all my friends for pushing me not to give up when things got hard, my printers, my idols and mentors who became peers, the good folks over at the Aquabats, Snkr Inc, Stand-Up Art, Jeff Staple, Man-One (gave me my first LA art show), Once-One (my first IE art show, Pokez, Choosen Wan, Hip-Hop Trooper, Bumpboxx SD, Seek Conquer Destroy Headwear, Soulful Commandoe Clothing, paper toy Jedi Masters (Matt Hawkings & Brian Castleforte), Hip hop, sneakers and graf cultures,