Call for Artists

Oddball Art Labs presents

Twisted Toys

(or “You’ll Put Your Eye Out Kid”)

We all remember the excitement of opening that special gift at a birthday or holiday and gleefully ripping apart the packaging to play with it as soon as possible.

“Safety Instructions?” Those must be at the bottom of the pile of shredded cardboard that was between us and our goal. We didn’t need them anyway because this was a toy, so it must be safe, right? Right?!

We want to see gallery walls full of artwork celebrating the dangerous toys from our childhoods (and our imaginations).

That’s why the Oddball Art Labs Summer 2024 show will be all about Twisted Toys. This is an open artist call.

Submit your work before June 16, 2024 to be a part of this wild show.

A show about toys?!

A discussion of the dangerous things that well-meaning relatives bought for us when we were kids steered us to this year’s theme, but it’s not just dangerous toys from our youth that we hope inspires artists this year.

Toy artwork we’d love to see includes (but is never limited to):

  • Concepts for dangerous toy that never existed
  • Packaging that’s full of four-color exaggerations
  • Low-res comic book ads that shill for crazy garbage by mail
  • Hospital waiting room pamphlets warning parents about the hottest toys
  • Living room disasters caused by a multitude of plug-in playthings
  • Poorly thought out and implemented media tie-in decisions
  • …and any other fever dreams of twisted toys that comes to our creative community’s minds.

These are just a few ideas…but we really want to see what you’ll come up with. Surprise us with your Twisted Toys!

Hey, will this show be ‘All Ages’?

We’re glad you asked. The art displayed at the Robin and Mark Seigle gallery in Elgin Artspace Lofts at ArtSpace will definitely need to be tasteful and ‘All Ages’. We are hoping to arrange to have an after party at a 21+ venue. If they are open to hanging artwork, we plan to coordinate hanging artwork there that is not ‘family friendly’ in their venue. Tasteful nudity and/or innuendo is fine for the 21+ venue’s walls.

This is intended to be a lighthearted and fun show for everyone.

No AI Art

All artwork submitted must be Made by Humans! A lot of us rely on Adobe, Affinity, Corel, and other creativity tools to make our art, but they are just tool to leverage our creativity. Digital prints have always been fine with Oddball.

We reserve the right to reject any artwork we suspect looks like it was AI created.

What about the Art Machine?

We’d love to fill the Art Machine with Toy blocks too, so if you have any ideas and need a set of blanks to make it happen, let us know.

We hope we’ve given you enough info to get you inspired. Show us your depictions of the wonderfully imaginative Twisted Toys!

Artwork Pricing

Oddball will retain 20% of all art sales to help pay for the show and misc expenses. Please price your work accordingly.

Elgin Area Drop-off and Pickup

We don’t have a budget for shipping artwork across the country. As such this show is focused on artists local to the Elgin / Chicagoland area. If you won’t be able to handle in-person drop-off & pickup, please talk to use prior to submitting.

Opening Reception

Friday, July 5, 2024
Hours: 6pm-9pm

The Robin and Mark Seigle Gallery at Elgin ArtSpace Lofts
51 S. Spring St.
Elgin, IL 60120

Closing Reception

Saturday July 27, 2024
Hours: 11am-2pm

The Robin and Mark Seigle Gallery at Elgin ArtSpace Lofts
51 S. Spring St.
Elgin, IL 60120

The Twisted Toys Submission is now closed.

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Toys Artwork Drop-off!

The drop-off for this year’s show is:

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Sunday, June 30, 2024

The Robin and Mark Seigle Gallery at Elgin ArtSpace Lofts
51 S. Spring St.
Elgin, Il 60120

Please feel free to use our contact form if you need to get in touch with us with any general questions.

elgin cultural arts commission logo
palmer foundation logo

The show was made possible by grants from the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission and the Palmer Foundation.