Who said that toys are only meant for kids? Sure, we can say that, but this is no longer a common thought nowadays as people tend to appreciate art in various forms regardless of age. These toy figures are becoming big as the industry and the appreciation is skyrocketing. One that we can not take our eyes off are the designer toys. The popularity of designer toys have become even more a cultural thing in recent years with household names like, Michael Lau, BE@RBRICK by MEDICOM TOY, the widely exposed and iconic–KAWS and Takashi Murakami’s toys–Mr. Dob, this subculture has grown exponentially, and with the incorporation of streetwear brands and artists behind this crossroad, the popularity has continuously reached newer and younger fans. It is a good thing, I must say! And to this note, this water is just continuously boiling and boiling in the scene we captured in Manila. You cannot just overlook this world class talent that is making waves in this subculture, one who has gained a strong following and established a long term project with nonetheless the three striped brand, Adidas. So let’s explore what Manila has for us.
A Look At Quiccs Creator Juanito Maiquez
Inspired and deeply rooted by three elements as his pillars– Japanese Robot Culture/Anime, Hip-hop and Graffiti. Juanito Maiquez AKA Quiccs has emerged from a local artist to an award winning global signature name. Quiccs is the first Filipino artist who is currently tied up with sneaker and sportswear giant Adidas. The collaboration didn’t just happen overnight but rather a series of continuous passion poured into what Quiccs is all about now. The universe conspired and favoured him well.
And taking a look at his roots, let’s go down the memory lane. At an early age, Quiccs is a true testament that if you work hard, stay focused and determined, you can actually live your dreams and not just follow them. These virtues are influences of his growing up and have cultivated in him developed his art style to what Quiccs is as an artist and a brand now.
As a young Quiccs, he has been very active in school participating in art contests painting and illustrating. And though, what obvious path may have been chosen for him, he was advised by his father to take a business management course in college rather than art. From there, he filled in jobs as a freelancer and was into corporate until he started to pour in his energy to his own plate– as Quiccs. And as a visionary artist with a strong foundation on business management, he took things to the next level in 2012. Whilst the wide success of the Funko commercial toy phenomenon was happening in the Philippines, Quiccs and his team decided to release a Funko inspired TEQ63 character that gained massive success. And you know what it is, the released sold-out and the rest is history as they say.
TEQ63 And Influences
With a huge exposure to mecha– Japanese robot culture such as the ever popular Voltes 5, Voltron and later influences such as Evangelion and Gundam paired his passion and pursuit to continuously do art from a young age to being an adult, Quiccs stuck to his virtue and reached his fullest potential as an artist. His link to Hip-hop culture growing up in the 90s has also defined his style as he also exposed himself to graffiti art. A huge part of this is being involved with graffiti pioneers “ Pilipinas Street Plan” who was very instrumental in the influence and development of his style. He has worked with Filipino International artists– Egg Fiasco to name a few.
Throughout the years, Quiccs has managed to make organic and loyal fans grow exponentially along with his “Bulletpunk Universe”– a term they coined for the characters Quiccs and his team developed. Quiccs also managed to make it on a global perspective as opportunity opened its doors to collaboration in the designer toy world such as Mighty Jaxx, Martian Toy and Kid Robot, Devil Toys Ltd and more. He has also managed to independently produce and license his toy under his company/site– Hidden Fortress Manila since 2012. With his signature toy or what he explains as his “mickey mouse” to his “Walt Disney”, Quiccs has built a signature character dubbed/named as “TEQ63” with 63 being a tribute to Philippines being the country code number of the said country.
And being a true blue fan of the brand Adidas, he mentioned in an interview that Quiccs has been referencing Adidas since 2012. What are the odds that your influence or reference will turn into a collaboration. Surely, the stars aligned fueled with his unending hard work and pursuit.
Taking The World By Storm
To date, Quiccs has done a lot of releases internationally and has gained a wide following across the globe. His signature TEQ63 is always a sold out and a sure hit in different versions. Quiccs recently worked with Filipino Hip Hop Collective- Bawal Clan and produced TEQ63–”bawal to the bone”. Further to this, Quiccs also released a mask and expanded the artistry to merchandise. Along with this iconic character are Sharko and GorillaTeq are equally anticipated characters of every silhouette/design release that the fans are always on the watch. As for the work with Adidas, they have made it even tighter with the merchandise clothes that were released.
We learned that no matter how big your dreams may be, the possibility of reaching it is always present. It is doable as long as you know in yourself that you really want it. The question is, how bad do you want it? How far would it take you for you to reach for your dreams. The answer is always about the choices we make, the chances we take and the energy we give in. We take small steps, atomic habits that along the way create an impact. Cliché as it may sound but we all need to have the right motive, discipline and attitude.
And as for the toys, the joy it gives to someone who truly collects and loves an item is unbeatable. As they say, age is just a number and we can all stay young while seeing things maturely. I guess that’s how it should be.
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Jastin Andrew Nilad is a Contributor to the magazine website vibeant.com. Based in Metro Manila, Jastin covers stories from the creative scene of the Philippines to global streetwear and high fashion scene.