It is my honor to spend some time this week talking about a fellow artist/designer, Toby Hale. Toby Hale is a second year MFA candidate at Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, OH. I have known Toby for about a year and a half, and in that time, his work has undergone a lot of change. Toby came into the MFA program at the same time I did, and his work prior to the MFA had a very particular tone and voice; it was evident in the work that Toby enjoys material manipulation, particularly in pushing the boundaries of what a material can do, and that play and experimentation are a big part of his design process.
After a year’s sidetrack to pursue redesign of a standard pair of crutches, Toby is returning to his playful roots over the course of his thesis year. Toby’s current project involves designing two Transformers toys, versions of Hot Rod and Kup, which follow the style of a previously released Transformers video game. I am struck by the level of care Toby has put into researching the history of Transformers toys, and particularly the characters that are the basis for the toys he is designing. Speaking with Toby, and being present in his critiques, I am reminded that play and playfulness should not be mistaken for a lack of seriousness or care; Toby is incredibly serious about his design process and the product of that work, even if play is a major part of that work.
This is a Gif showing a lamp that Toby designed in his first semester at CCAD. It shows the playful nature of Toby’s work, but also the care that is part of the design. This lamp was designed as a kit that children and parents could assemble together.
I urge you to visit Toby’s blog, http://hale-design.blogspot.com to see more of his work.