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|Area(s)||Painter, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Toy Designer|
Joe Ledbetter (born 1977) is an American artist and art toy designer from Los Angeles (also known as JLed). He is considered part of the Pop Surrealism, Lowbrow Art Movement and Art and Designer Toys movement.
Joe Ledbetter (aka: J.Led) is an artist, illustrator and toy designer based in Los Angeles, CA. His distinctive style is deeply influenced by classic animation, underground comics, skateboarding and 1980′s video games. Over the years, Ledbetter has created an incredible cast of creatures used to anthropomorphize the human condition. With crisp bold lines and a vibrant palette, he mixes irony, social criticism and mischief making his work universal and unmistakable.
He earned a degree in Sociology from Humboldt State University in 2001, and despite his lack of formal art training, began his career as a graphic artist in the apparel industry. Working his way up from underground art shows, he’s been at his craft full-time since 2004 holding art exhibitions in over 10 countries, collaborating with top brands (Nike, Swatch, Sony Music, Kidrobot), exhibiting in museum shows (Andy Warhol Museum, MADRE Museum Italy, Bristol City Museum, Riverside Art Museum), sold work at Christie’s auction house in New York, and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, People Magazine, Juxtapoz Magazine and Hi-Fructose Magazine. He is most known for his innovative and distinctive designer toys.
In 2005, Wheaty Wheat Studios produced "Mr. Bunny", the first Joe Ledbetter figure. It was released in three colorways. Mr. Bunny is now considered an icon of the vinyl art toy movement. In 2008 Mr. Bunny took part with other "most wanted" designer toys to the Christie's "Pop Culture" auction.
Over 100 toys has been created by Ledbetter, including:
- Mr Bunny (Wheaty Wheat -2005)
- Fire-Cat (Wheaty Wheat -2005)
- Ringo Bear (Wheaty Wheat -2006)
- Teeter ( Kidrobot-2006/2007)
- Sluggonadon - part of the Kaiju for Grownups series (Wonderwall-2007)
- Gamerita - part of the Kaiju for Grownups series (Wonderwall-2007)
- Finders Keepers Miniseries ( Kidrobot -2007)
- Hammerhead (Intheyellow-2008)
- Bummer (Fully Visual-2008)
- Smash (Toy2R-2008)
- Unicornasaurus ( Kidrobot -2008)
- Slander (Play Imaginative-2009)
- Terror and Magnus (The Loyal Subjects-2009)
- Octobunny (2009)
- Magnus and Friday (The Loyal Subjects-2010)
- Pico and Wilshire (The Loyal Subjects-2010)
- Wrecks and Dazey (Analog Playset-2010)
- Chinese Zodiac (PI-2011)
- Piggy Bank (PI-2011)
- Burger Bunny - wood (The Loyal Subjects-2012)
- Burger Bunny - inflatable (The Loyal Subjects-2012)
- Chaos Bunnies series (The Loyal Subject-2012,2013)
Works & collaborations
Ledbetter collaborated on several projects with Nike, Ride Snowboards, Sony Music, GAMA-GO, Ford Motor Company, Last Gasp Press, Dark Horse and his visuals of his art has been published in the Los Angeles Times, People, Hi-fructose, Juxtapoz, DPI, and Playtimes.
Ledbetter's art has been featured in museum shows, including The Andy Warhol Museum, MADRE Museum of Contemporary Art of Naples, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, and Riverside Art Museum.
- Creatures of Habit: The Art of Joe Ledbetter, Last Gasp press, 2009 (ISBN 978-0867197181)
- Joe Ledbetter's Sketchbook, Nerdcore, 2008 (ISBN 978-0-9800924-5-5)
- I Am Plastic: The Designer Toys Explosion, Paul Budnitz, Abrams, 2006 (ISBN 978-0810958463)
- Toygiants, Daniel & Geo Fuchs, Selim Varol, 2007 (ISBN 978-1584232841)
- I Am Plastic Too: The Next Generation of Designer Toys, Paul Budnitz, Abrams, 2010 (ISBN 978-0810988873)
- Art-Toys: Photographs by Brian McCarty, Brian McCarty, Tattoo Books, 2010 (ISBN 978-0979330766)
- "Joe Ledbetter brings the Magnus Maximus". Juxtapoz Magazine. Juxtapoz. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
- Ledbetter, Joe (2009). Creatures of Habit: The Art of Joe Ledbetter (Hardcover). Last Gasp Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-86719-718-1.