Get To Know Kristy Kitsune In Our Exclusive Interview!
Kristy Kitsune, one-half of the dynamic duo behind Fluff Riot, has been one of the biggest growing forces on the designer toy scene. Featuring her iconic the three-tailed fox, Khali, Kristy has found herself facing sold out releases and recently her Blurred Lines Khali custom show. Fluff Riot, founded by Kristy and her partner, Taylor Hausriot, has absolutely found its evolving fanbase!
So without further ado, we had a catch up with the wonderful Kristy Kitsune about Greece, Kung Fu, sentient goo, a possible Invasion Toys collaboration, and much, much more!
Q: What does your typical day look like in Greece?
Taylor and I sleep during the day and are awake at night, so a typical day for us begins around 3 pm.
We make it a point to always start our days having a nice morning. We make matcha together, have breakfast, tease the cats. Then we start our “day job” (aka non art-related work). Once that’s taken care of, we focus on artwork.
I typically am either painting or sculpting figures while Taylor works on his animation commissions. We take breaks to eat together, go for walks, play video games, or run necessary errands, which we always try to make fun. The hours between 3 and 6am are our favorite. We work until about 9 am. Sleep. Repeat.
Q: How did you first get into designer toys?
I discovered designer toys at Forbidden Planet in NY. I was instantly intrigued and bought a blank cat figure to paint. But at the time I didn’t know there was a whole world to it, and I had a 9 to 5 I was trying to get out of.
Later, when Taylor and I met, he expressed interest in designer toys and I had recently discovered I loved sculpting. We decided we wanted to start a brand and make designer toys, and the long journey towards Fluff Riot began.
Q: How do your friends and family feel about your burgeoning career in designer toys?
Our families love it and our friends here in Greece are super enthusiastic and supportive. They are all talented individuals as well, so it’s a great feeling having creative friends and family who “get it” and we can all be excited about each other’s artistic accomplishments.
Q: Any good party tricks up your sleeve?
Breaking night1 like it’s nothing and getting others to break night too. Also, convincing people to get tattooed.
1[Editor’s note: breaking night is the act of staying up until sunrise]
Q: Is there anything beyond toys you’d like to create going forward?
Yes! We want to make apparel and more accessories as well.
Q: Your most popular toy so far has got to be Khali. What about the mythology of nine-tailed foxes appeals to you most?
I love foxes, so it wasn’t difficult for me to fall in love with the concept of the nine-tailed fox. I love how varied and vast the mythology is, and that different cultures have their own take on nine-tailed foxes.
When we began weaving the backstory of Khali, it was important we not simply copy the mythologies of other cultures, but to instead bring a new perspective to the idea.
Q: Fluff Riot totally appeals to the misfits. What made you interested in the kawaii-punk style?
For me, it was definitely the other way around. I didn’t consciously choose kawaii-punk as an artistic style because my artistic style is an expression of how my mind works. I’m attracted to dualities, opposites merged to create something that works. I love three-dimensionality, defying stereotypes and creating something unexpected.
As a result, I’m most driven by concept rather than aesthetic, and I like to use a variety of color palettes and techniques with which to best execute an idea. Kawaii-punk is therefore a good descriptor for my style; the duality is right there in the name.
Q: The story behind Fluff Riot is so rich and thought out. How did you come up with such a detailed backstory?
With a lot of time and effort! I knew I wanted Fluff Riot to be an art-based brand that utilized a variety of artistic disciplines. Concept and story are a huge part of my artistic process, so Taylor and I decided to put in the extra time and effort to create a rich world for Fluff Riot, with many unique and three-dimensional characters and an epic adventure that unites them.
We worked on the story first until we felt it was ready enough to release characters as toys. Now the challenge is what medium we use to tell the story and how we can accomplish it between just the two of us. It’s such a vast undertaking, so we’ve been trying to figure that out! With some luck, maybe Netflix or Image Comics will call and offer some help! 😹
Q: What other hobbies do you have outside of creating designer toys?
I love to sing for fun and I love video games, though I don’t get to play as much as I’d like. Fluff Riot has incorporated a lot of the things I love to do in a single entity, so it makes for an exciting and fulfilling life!
Q: What is your favourite designer toy in your collection?
My Bonnie by Itay G. I really love sculptural pieces that blur the lines between toys and art while retaining a level of cuteness.
Q: What top 3 goals do you have for Fluff Riot?
As COVID stops hindering things so much, we’re excited to finally start figuring out our Fluff Riot apparel and accessories.
And of course, we want to do justice to the story and find the best possible format with which to tell it. I’m so excited to share what we have planned and watch Fluff Riot continue growing in the fun and organic way that it has been.
Q: You moved to Greece! Has the change of setting influenced your artistry?
Being in Greece simply made things more possible. Our cost of living went down while our quality of life went way up. Greece as a setting didn’t change my art style, it just gave me the thing all artists need most: the ability to focus and spend more time on my work.
Q: How and why did you decide move to Greece?
It happened super organically. Taylor and I first came out here to visit my parents in the Greek islands. Then we visited Athens and loved the city so much. After visiting a couple more times, we just kind of stayed and never left!
Q: How does the designer toy scene in Greece compare to the US?
Greece has no designer toy scene! It’s just us and our friend, Elena Kazi (aka DJ Kiten), who has been killing it out here on her own for awhile. It doesn’t matter to us though, because we definitely feel the designer toy scene is now global and that’s one of our favorite things about this industry.
Not being confined your direct surroundings makes it easier for new talent to get involved, and it enables the scene to evolve instead of stagnate.
We love the variety of artists and collectors in the scene and have had the pleasure of getting to know some of the coolest people ever, all over the world, all thanks to designer toys!
Q: You recently had a mega block-busting Khali custom show! What can you tell us about the experience?
Seeing all the different Khalis come to life was so surreal and fun. All of us involved in the show, from the artists participating to Strangecat Gallery, succeeded in creating such an inclusive and supportive vibe. I think it was a great example of how collaboration trumps competition.
Q: What’s a rare fact about Kristy Kitsune?
I trained seriously in Wing Tsun Kung Fu for several years at City Wing Tsun in NY. The experience was transformative for me and one of the things that helped me decide to leave my job in fashion and pursue art.
Even though I don’t train actively anymore, the lessons and principles I learned have and will always stay with me.
Oh, and I once won a Mario Kart Wii tournament at a video game convention, all while wearing cosplay of Amy from Soulcalibur!
Q: Are there any upcoming releases or collabs we can break the news on?
Q: What’s your personal designer toy holy grail?
J.T Studio and coolrain LABO
Q: How would you feel about working with us on some Kristy Kitsune x Invasion Toys exclusives?
Hell yeah! Let’s do it.
Quick Fire Questions!
Q: Favourite music genre?
This is so hard, I like so many different kinds of music! Ok, I had to actually look this up cause I did not know the official name for it: electronic ambient trip hop experimental.
Stuff along the lines of Fever Ray, The Knife, Grimes. It’s the kind of music that doesn’t really have a genre so they had to make up something ridiculous-sounding like “electronic ambient trip hop experimental” to try and pigeon-hole it.
Q: If you could live in any film, what would it be and why?
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon because, aside from being aesthetically breathtaking, one of its main themes is all about defying society’s prescribed expectations in order to live genuinely.
But it’s a moot point cause we’re all actually living in the movie Idiocracy!
Going to the doctor. Bureaucracy.
Q: Favourite location?
Anywhere Taylor and I are together is my favorite place in that given moment. Also, Japan. I assume. Once I go.
Q: If you could be any supernatural creature, what would you be?
I’d be a benevolent nine-tailed fox!
Q: If you could only eat one food forever, what would you pick?
If it’s cuisine, then Thai. But if it’s an item, the almighty taco.
Q: Top 3 anime, go!
Totoro, Psycho Pass, Claymore (except for the last episode)
Q: What dinosaur are you?
Q: Would you rather sneeze ice cream or sweat chocolate?
Sweat chocolate, it would make exercising way more fun!
Q: Webbed feet or claw hands?
Q: If Hausriot fell into a vat of radioactive sludge and grew a third arm, would you still love him?
A third arm is actually pretty cool! I’d love Hausriot even if he turned into a pile of sentient goo. I’d sculpt him a cute vessel to sleep in and I’d take him everywhere I went. We’d play the funniest pranks on people.
Q: What about if you got a second pair of eyes?
That would be a dope af upgrade.
Q: What’s worse, a spider or centipede?
Centipede, definitely. Spiders are awesome.
Q: How do you feel about Taco Bell?
It’s literally amazing.
Q: From all the world’s mythology, what kind of demon would you be?
I’d be Medusa. She got a raw deal. I’d love to rewrite the outcome to her story. Immortal heads would roll!
[Interview has been edited for clarity]
Thank you, Kristy Kitsune!
Thank you for your time and attention, and all the incredible answers you gave. We’re proud to count you among the OG-est of Invaders and hope to work on some exclusives with you soon. Also, send our love to Hausriot, he’s invited too!