One of the most iconic graffiti artists in the world, Cope2, is dropping something new, toys. While most graffiti exists out in the world for everyone to enjoy, this artist is doing something very different.
Along with indie toymaker UVD, Cope2 brings his signature style to these funky fresh figurines. But how did this street artist from the gritty streets of New York City in the 1980s get into making toys?
Join us as we learn more about Cope2, the artist and maker of toys.
Let’s dive in!
UVD Toys Drops Collectible Cope2 Bear Toys
In October 2022, iconic graffiti artist Cope2 announced the release of his latest toy collectibles on his Instagram page. Two sleepy-eyed bears dressed in hoodies with Cope2 tags on their chests stare out from the post. And for fans of classic graffiti, they’re must-have pieces.
A riff on Mike Fudge’s KUB bear, Cope2, puts his personal spin on the figure. Fudge’s bear KUB appears in several variations throughout the illustrator’s work. UVD Toys worked with the artist on several releases before collaborating with Cope2 on this latest release.
The figures are all the more interesting to collectors since they represent the work of two important graffiti artists. Cope2 also includes patches of his bubble letter tag in each toy order, so you get two for the price of one.
Only 100 are available worldwide in two color combinations. If you can get your hands on one of the limited-edition figures, count yourself lucky.
What Is UVD Toys?
Urban Vinyl Daily started in 2010 as a blog focused on street art, underground toys, and lowbrow art. They concentrate on bringing unknown artists to public acclaim by exploring the creative culture of the streets. Then, in 2016, they took it a step further.
Working with individual creators, UVD Toys produces a range of vinyl, resin, and other custom figurines. Released in small batches, the toys feature work by prominent street artists. Additionally, UVD releases enamel pins and pillows featuring their artists’ work.
They also have a book for sale, Luna and the Magical Night Lights by The Bats. With art by 64 Colors and prose by author Jessica Ervin-Eickhoff, the book is a delightful journey for children and adults alike.
Who Is the Graffiti Artist, Cope2?
Starting at age 10, artist Fernando Carlo, Jr. tagged his way into the graffiti history books. He began using the tag Cope2 in 1978, prominently displaying it on bridges, subways, and the streets of the south Bronx.
Throughout the 1980s, his work showed up solo and in full collaborations with other graffiti artists. In fact, Cope2 became part of the landscape of New York City.
His signature style includes big bubble letters and a raw, unvarnished style. Additionally, in recent years, Cope2’s art appeared in video games like Grand Theft Auto: IV and Getting Up. He’s appeared in Time Magazine and collaborated with major brands like Adidas, reaching global audiences.
The artist is no stranger to the gallery scene either. He’s had several solo shows around the country featuring his new work. From the studio, Cope2 sends out canvases in the abstract expressionist style using his favorite medium, spray paint.
Does Cope2 Have Other Toys on the Market?
This newest release isn’t the first foray for Cope2 into the toy market. On the Trampt platform, he has a few other items to discover.
Cope2 also created two versions of a self-portrait toy in red and blue. Eleven inches tall, sporting a hoodie, a cigar, and a spray can, the figures came out in small batches several years ago.
If you’re lucky, you can find his small batch of Julius figures, produced as part of a studio exhibit through the Julius Toy Art Show. Part of a collaboration with Paul Frank, the show featured work from 89 artists riffing on the classic sock monkey.
How Can I Find Out More About Cope2?
If this article has you excited to discover more about Cope2, we can point you in the right direction.
Cope2 self-published two books about his work – Cope2: True Legend and Cope2: The Evolving Art of a Bronx Graffiti Legend. The former chronicles his life in what he calls the urban ghetto of the Bronx.
The latter features 250 photos covering his entire body of work. Four chapters – Subway Cars and Trains, Painted Walls, Bubble Throw Ups, and Gallery and Artworks span his 35-year career. The book also includes interview excerpts with the programming director of Miami’s Museum of Graffiti, Carlos Mare.
The best look at Cope2 in the 1990s comes from the film produced by Abstract Video, Cope2: Kings Destroy. As he was coming up in the 80s and 90s, Cope2 started the crew Kids of Destruction, which became Kings Destroy.
The documentary looks at several members of the crew and their connection to Cope2. This is the kind of thing you don’t see anymore, a street view with authentic voices from the early days of hip-hop. In fact, you could write a dissertation on the lingo these taggers throw around.
Graffiti Artist Turned Toymaker
From the streets of the south Bronx in the 1970s, Cope2 became one of the most influential graffiti artists still working today. His signature bubble letters permeate the culture and influence graphic designers and other graffiti artists throwing up tags to this day.
He’s found an ideal way to stay relevant, and his collaboration with Mike Fudge and UVD Toys is a perfect example. Get your hands on the Fudge x Cope2 KUB toy while you can!
Do you own any of Cope2’s toys? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Outside Folk Gallery
You can explore folk, street, and outsider art in our personal collection at Outside Folk Art. We’re celebrating these creatives and giving voice to rising black, Native, immigrant, and working mother artisans.
We’ll also be offering pop-up shows and collaborations with small museums, so be sure to follow us to discover the where and when!