Truly there is nothing as imposing and as intimidating as the Gorilla. Its size and primal appeal just resonates with everyone. Laying claim to his kingdom- the jungle, the Gorilla will remain one of the most powerful beasts in our lifetime.

In the art world though, there is one Filipino artist that chose to maximize its visual appeal. Creating designer toys and art that carry its likeness – with the added street factor at that! Hooded, with a skateboard in hand and ready to conquer the concrete jungle–meet Gori Bautista AKA GORI and his gorilla-sized art vision.

First off, how did your art toy journey begin?

Quiccs and I started hanging out in 2013 which involved a lot of painting together, art conversations, and showing each other’s work. This led us to collaborate on what would be my first toy, Gorillateq. The toy’s body was designed by Quiccs, while I worked on the toy’s face and its accessories. Working with him was very fun and it helped jump-start my foray into art toy creation.

Can you share with us your inspiring beginnings?

In 2007 I saw a group of people painting a wall in my neighborhood. I was always drawn to painting and sketches growing up, but this was a different medium I had never seen before, and I was very attracted to its subversive appeal. As soon as I got home, I started sketching what I saw them paint on the wall. I also researched online without realizing the term “graffiti” already coined this art form and movement. I then started thinking of my street name, played with sketches of different characters and even painted the walls in our home. My friends supported me by gifting me my first spray paint for my birthday. And once I had a job, I was able to slowly buy more tools and paint to create with.

Why the gorilla as a graphic representation? What does he represent?

The Gorilla does not represent anything specific. I started drawing the Gorilla after a friend from PSP suggested I draw it to go with my street name Gori. I love my Gorilla creation so much that parts of it still show up in my new artwork. Where do you get your inspiration? Other designers? Music? Feel free to cite them here… The work of PSP was my initial goal and benchmark. I’m also an avid fan of Kaws, Takashi Murakami and Javier Calleja. I find their work very inspiring and sometimes include their names in my own work. When working I listen mostly to instrumental music or have anime shows playing in the background. Travel and food also inform my work. I just created a painting of Gorio eating a steamy bowl of ramen because ramen is life!

Congratulations on your Dream Big Solo Show! Can you share with us how that came about? We bet you’re excited!

Thank you! The show releases an exciting new series of work including toys, paintings, and print to reflect my whimsical and lighthearted attitude. It’s called Dream Big because I was inspired by other artists to do just that, which is reflected in the oversized characters surrounded by tall skyscrapers and expanded city views. I wanted people to feel inspired by the vastness of life, take charge of their own fate, and thrive in whatever they choose to do! This show is a result of an invitation from Martian Toys who I have been in collaboration on a couple of projects. I’m really excited about this show and hope people not only enjoy it but also feel inspired by the way my art heroes inspired me.

Can you cite your favorite collabs with other artists so far?

It would have to be my collaboration with Quiccs in 2013 for Gorilateq which was my first toy. As I mentioned earlier, I was a huge fan of Pilipinas Street Plan where Quiccs was a member so I was definitely eager to work with someone I looked up to. I learned a lot from this collaboration and picked up a lot of useful tricks along the way.

That being mentioned, what is your dream collaboration? Or has it happened already?

Here’s a few of them: The Phoenix Suns because of their gorilla mascot. BAPE and XLarge for their clothes which include gorillas. And the band Gorillaz because I love their music!

Future plans for Gori Bautista… Your message to This Is Hype readers?

In keeping with my upcoming show Dream Big, I want to build my creative team, expand my art production capabilities, have more shows at art festivals, release more toys, and have exhibits at museums. To your readers, my message is one of hope and optimism. Let us all realize our dreams and persevere no matter what comes in the way. We all have the power to actualize our dreams no matter how crazy they seem. Let us all Dream Big!

Speaking of art and collabs, this BAIT X One Piece collaboration maybe right up your alley!

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