Filipino artist makes bootleg toys inspired by our country’s leaders

Manila-based artist Pato presents his 'Super Prends' collection

Country leaders, in many ways, are like superheroes—or ideally, at least. They protect and lead people, they have powers embedded in their jobs, and many believe in them. Assuming a role in the nation's government, however, comes with great challenges. They may not be fighting a fierce kraken, some villain from another dimension, or a dark god, but the hurdles they face are far bigger than these as their decisions and actions affect he lives of their countrymen, the people they serve.

But during a national crisis, it is inevitable for them to trip a little. Superman and Achilles may be strong and powerful, but they have weaknesses, too. It works the same way for our country leaders. Their not-so-heroic moments can also cause laughter, especially in this digital age and with a people like Pinoys who have so much time in their hands to make memes out of anything and everything.

Taking inspiration from this kind of humor is Manila-based artist Pato who created a bootleg toy collection that turns politicians into heroes. But unlike what you read in comic books, they are not here to save the day, but to make you giggle.

‘Super Prends’ collection

Dubbed as "Super Prends," the toy collection puts fun and puns on the Filipino politicians that are now making headlines these days. Through his digital page Gooey Duck, the artist shares his mini-sculptural works, which also includes figurines of King of Comedy Dolphy in "Darna, Kuno?", Gagamboy, and the Filipino urban myth Taong Ahas, among others.

Pato's Dolphy and Taong Ahas bootleg toys

In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Pato talks about his craft, his "Super Prends" collection, and how people react to this artworks.

What is the story of Pato? How long has it been operating?

I started Gooey Duck back in April this year. It was to see if people were interested in what I was making during quarantine and if they wanted one for themselves.

What pushed you to pursue a career in the arts?

I’ve been interested in art all my life but Gooey Duck was born out of a hobby. I found the process of making these figures and the entire medium in itself, very fun and playful. It’s exciting to imagine how much further it can go.

Let's talk about the 'Super Prends' collection. What inspired you to do it?

The 'Super Prends' collection is an ode to the line that DC Comics had with Kenner toys back in the '80—spun with our own local context.

Life in the Philippines can be very comedic and absurd at times and I wanted to encapsulate those moments in this format. Obviously it doesn’t please everybody, it doesn't aim to .

How would you describe your aesthetic? Where do you usually source your inspiration?

If I had to name it, I guess it’d be crude nostalgic pop. I take inspiration from the different facets of pop culture and whatever I hear or see on and on the news.

Do you have a goal with every artwork you do?

On top of wanting to improve the craft a little bit every time, it’s mainly to make people laugh. To get them with the inside joke or a bit of nostalgia they weren’t expecting to see that day. That’s fun.

What do you think is the role of art in today’s time?

Art imitates life. If the art is funny then life is funny, and we know not to take things too seriously.

Where can our readers see your work?

You can check out my work on Instagram (@gooeyduckph), Facebook (GooeyduckPH) and the website