Hey, hey, they’re Munnys

Jeff Lambert created ‘Jason Voorhees’ as part of Munny Madness II at Paris in Plantsville art gallery. The exhibit runs through December.

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Munny, Munny, who’s got the Munny?

Paris in Plantsville has the Munny. Several Munnys, in fact.

This past weekend, the local gallery opened Munny Madness II, where a slew of Munnys made their public debut.

What exactly is a Munny?

Local artist Josh Blumenthal is the driving force behind Munny Madness. The Bristol Eastern High School and Briarwood College alumnus, explained, “A Munny is a blank vinyl action figure that people can paint on, draw on, or sculpt on. They come in a variety of characters, too — we accept all characters.”

For Munny Madness, Josh explained, “Some artists choose to paint on (the Munny’s) surface leaving the detail relatively flat. Others apply oven bake or self-hardening clay to make details and features three-dimensional and then paint. I’ve even seen some that were mechanized and others that light up.”

This year’s Munny Madness is the sequel to a similar event held last December, said Josh. “I brought up the (original) idea at one of our (Paris in Plantsville organizational) meetings, when we were all brainstorming for family-oriented / holiday-themed exhibitions a few months before.

“I came up with the idea simply because (Munnys) are a toy; a toy that artists can design and make their own,” said Josh. “The concept was to create an art exhibition that also offered unique toys for all ages. Being so close to the holidays, exhibition spectators would have the opportunity to buy (as a gift) a unique present that is the only one of its existence.”

And in its first installment last year, said Josh, “We had a flood of entries; we received drop offs the day of the opening. They were so awesome we couldn’t turn them away. We had a total of 68 entries in the show; all very unique.”

And what kind of Munnys walked in the door? “We received artist renditions of superheroes, classic horror film monsters, mythological creatures, cult film characters, and even friend portraits and self portraits. Some entries were very obscure, but as a gallery we enjoyed that. That’s what made the show so intriguing; was the creativity behind every entry.”

“In many respects we’ve created a contemporary pop art exhibition,” said Josh.

Josh isn’t letting the other artists having all the fun with Munnys this year. “I am doing a Munny myself. The Munny figurines come in four sizes – I’ve chosen to work with the smallest of sizes. With Pop Iconography in mind; I wanted to recreate a toy that every kid had during the ‘90s. But I’m not going to spoil the surprise.”

As for the rest of the Paris in Plantsville crew, Josh said general manager Jon Bristol “has done a couple, one of them actually being a portrait/caricature of me. All of our students are putting one in the show as well.”

See a Munny you like at the gallery and want to take it home for your very own, Josh said that’s not a problem.

“People can buy these Munnys if the artist chooses to put a price on them,” said Josh. However, he added, “Sometimes artists get attached to what they’ve created and want to hold on to them.”

“Munny Madness II” is on display at Paris in Plantsville, 15 West Main St., Southington throughout the month of December.

For more information, (860) 426-1149.