Fatbear Flapjack is a humble bear who loves pancakes. Flapjack isn’t just any old bear, nor is he a real one. He’s the centerpiece of a collaborative art project brought to life by local graphic designer and Flagler alumnus, Tommy Davis.
The bear figure originally took its form while Davis was practicing whittling. Davis then turned to clay to create something more in line with what Flapjack has become today. Although for some time, Flapjack sat waiting on the shelf, Davis began to recognize an opportunity to bring a longstanding idea of his to life.
“My wife and I have been living in St. Augustine for quite awhile, and I’ve become great friends with some talented people. I’ve always wanted to have some sort of fun collaborative art show. This bear sculpture seemed like a way to do that,” he explained.
At first, the idea started small — a limited number of bears for friends to design, to then be presented together at a show. “I was imagining creating about fifty bears for the show, but the rules of commerce taught me a new lesson in toy production. No low minimums. So I have three hundred bears, and the project is open to the public,” said Davis.
Constructed by a toy sculpture manufacturer, the bears are each four inches tall, and made out of polyresin. Participating artists can decorate their bears anyway they choose, as minimally or over the top as their creativity desires. A coat of white primer covers the entire surface of each bear, meaning most materials will stick just fine to the surface.
Because each person will bring his/her individual vision to life, no two finished bears will have the same personality or aesthetic. The collection of bears will be lined up side by side for public display.”The ultimate vision is to have four to five shows, most likely two here in St. Augustine, one in Annapolis, and others to follow, based on where the participants live,” said Davis. The first show will be held at Simple Gestures here locally, although the date for this show is not yet set.
At the present, the majority of participating artists are from St. Augustine and the surrounding north Florida area, along with Maryland. “If there is a large group of people in a concentrated area, I’ll work with them to bring the show to their neighborhood,” said Davis.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
As for creative guidelines, anything goes. “I try to operate under the same guidelines of Jimmy Fallon — if your bear couldn’t be shown on the Tonight Show, it’s safe to assume that it probably isn’t right for the art shows. As far as creative materials go, there are no guidelines at all. Feel free to glue things on, cut things off, paint, draw, and glitter however you see fit,” encouraged Davis.
He also welcomes individuals of all ages to participate in this collaborative project. “How amazing would it be to have a six year old’s bear right next to a nationally recognized painter’s?”
Bears are available for purchase from www.fatbearflapjack.com. St. Augustine Social readers can use the code SOCIALFRIENDS when ordering to receive a 25% discount. You can also follow @fatbearflapjack on Instagram to see some recently completed bears for inspiration, like this one.
Finished bear created by LA-based street artist Morley @Official_Morley
NAME YOUR PRICE
All participating artists designate whether they would like to have their bear for sale, or have their Flapjack returned. If electing to sell it, whether at one of the shows or online afterward, the artist will choose their price, and keep 70% of the profit (the remainder will go to help cover the gallery and online store expenses). If the artist wants to keep their Flappy, it will be mailed back after the scheduled shows.
To learn more and purchase your own Flappy, visit www.fatbearflapjack.com.