June 19, 2014

Rotofugi Designer Toy Store & Gallery

We love all of our neighbors, truly we do. However, Rotofugi (pronounced with a “soft” G…like “RO-TOW-FOO-JEE)  has a very soft spot in our neighborly heart. I mean, how many places do you know where you can buy exclusive toys and look at noteworthy art at the same time?

“Rotofugi features a diverse selection of vinyl figures, capsule toys, plush and more from both eastern and western designers. The adjoining Rotofugi Gallery features monthly art exhibits by a range of both local and nationally known artists.”rotofugi- open

How amazing does that sound? No wonder it’s out favorite place to visit while on break. That being said, we had to stop by and chat it up with them.. and needless to say, they (husband and wife duo Kirby and Whitney Kerr) are as awesome and their store.

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SQN: What made you decide to open up an adult toy store?

R: We try to avoid calling ourselves an “adult” toy store, for obvious reasons, haha! (boy is our face red!!) We’re a “designer toy” store. Back in 2004, we were just getting into collecting these cool art toys that were coming out of Hong Kong and Japan and noticed that no one was selling them in Chicago…so we did it ourselves!

SQN: Where do you get most of your things from ?

R: They’re really from all over the world, but the majority are from the US, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

SQN: What’s the deal with your Roto-matic? Any chance we’ll be able to get a vinyl toy made soon ?

S:The Roto-a-Matic is a vintage Mold-a-Rama machine that we rehabbed and made a new mold for…it now makes a figure by artist Tim Biskup. The figures it makes are actually a type of low grade plastic called “polyethylene wax,” so they’re not vinyl, but we still think they’re cool!

We’re currently working on a new mold that will, with any luck, be finished some time in July, but if it isn’t we’ll be firing the Roto-a-Matic back up and making more Helper Dragons (the figure by Tim Biskup) very soon!

rotofugiSQN: Where do you typically find your artists to feature?

R: Our gallery features works by artists from all over the US, as well as quite a few international artists. Our curator, David Van Alphen, scours the globe looking for cool artists and we invite them to show in our gallery.

** side note, the official Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary Art Show traveling exhibit presented by Gallery 1988 will be at Rotofugi for a short weekend showing starting tomorrow 6/20. Eeeek!!

SQN: Was the vision always to have both gallery and toy store in one?

R: When we first started, like before we actually opened, we did not plan a gallery…but wanted to make sure people understood that the toys we were selling were “art” and not just toys, so we referred to ourselves as a gallery. Turns out when you do that lots of people ask if they can show in your gallery…and we had both a toy store AND a gallery from the beginning.

SQN: Will we be seeing any other Rotofugis opening up ?

R: Not very likely! We’re happy and quite busy keeping up with our one store, monthly gallery exhibits and online store.

SQN: Anything else you’d like us to know? 

R: You’re never too old to love toys!

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Stop reading and start shopping ! Oh and bring us a Ninjatown zipper pull.. please?




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