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Delicious Drips: A Toy Story

By Oh Dang!, Photos by Craig Youngfeatures
Feb 1, 2008 - 1:31 AM

Lief Storer, founder of Delicious Drips, paints a 60-inch vinyl toy for his upcoming exhibit, Live or DIY.

Storer coined the term "2.5-D" to describe "how vinyl toy artists often transition between treating a piece like a 2-D canvas, or using the shape of the toy in order to give their painting definition."

The finished product, which Storer will showcase at his exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Lief Storer)

Storer shows off a toy designed by Live or DIY collaborator Coolvader.

Lief Storer is an engineer by day. But at night he’s better known as D-Lish, founder of Delicious Drips, an art collective that renders vinyl toys into works of urban art. Importing blank vinyl toys from Asia—some as large as 60"—Storer makes his “stab in pop surrealism” by combining his passion for art with his engineering skills to create limited edition designer toys.

On February 1 at D-Structure in San Francisco, Delicious Drips will showcase the works of vinyl toy artists from all over the world at the “Live or DIY” exhibit by converting the gallery into a giant toy factory.

Oh Dang! caught up with Storer just in time for the opening of the exhibit…

Oh Dang!: Walk us through the process of what you do—from importing the toy to the final product?

Lief Storer: Vinyl toys are typically toys designed by artists. In our case, what we do is take these toys before they've had graphics printed on them and use whatever kind of paint/ink that we choose. Some people even sculpt onto the toy. Personally, I'm a fan of mixed media with spray paint and acrylics. Acrylics are the easiest to work with. After everything is finished with painting, we top it off with a clear coat to give it that finished look for the shelf. Many of the more successful artists make names for themselves by just doing private commissions before moving onto doing mass production pieces.

OD!: How would you describe yourself as a child? How would your mom describe you? Were you artistic? Was art a means of escape for you?

LS: I was always artistic, but of all things, I'm adventurous. I'm fairly impulsive, which is why a lot of my crazy projects get underway; I don't hesitate to start. My parents always thought my hobbies were good artistic vents, but they never imagined that I would be taking my art to a corporate playing field.

OD!: What made you decide to start painting these toys? Wow big is the largest toy you've done?

LS: It was on a business trip to Taiwan where I saw this store with big 18" tall blank toys. I was already painting a lot at this point, so when I saw these toys, it stirred my creativity immensely. Funny you ask, because the biggest toy that exists is the 60" Qee Bear which I just finished in time for its debut at Live or DIY. I like to work with larger toys because it allows me to exhibit detail that goes well beyond the toy.

OD!: You’re an engineer in the daytime, how different is that from your artistic lifestyle? Do you find it hard to blend the two, or is it complimentary?

LS: I definitely see a lot of overlap in my engineering to my artwork. You may notice a lot of mechanics in my artwork. Artwork just allows me to dive beyond functionality. In the same way, art helps my engineering because I feel a lot more capable of visualizing before concept, which is why I am behind a lot of the product development.

OD!: How much time do you devote to Delicious Drips? How many other people are helping you with the website and with painting the toys and shipping them to buyers?

LS: There are three primary people working on Delicious Drips. We have one guy who is a programming wizard and he does all the web related stuff. We have another gentleman who is a scientist that helps with a lot of the display fabrication. All the artists are commission artists. Ultimately, I'd like people to view us as a collective and see that our talents span so broad that we can tackle just about any project. As for myself, my every spare moment goes to Delicious Drips, but I would like to remain an artist no matter what, which means I will always need the help and support of the great people around me.


Live or DIY will feature the work of D-Lish, Coolvader, Boxguts, Phu! and Tanki

The opening reception begins at 8 p.m. tonight at D-Structure on 520 Haight St. in San Francisco and will feature music from Cubik+Origami, Dr. Toast, Djeeno, DJ Squelchy and DJ Daps.

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