Together Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk are the duo that go by the name of coarse.
Together Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk are the duo that go by the name of coarse.

Double take on the sly fox

German duo, Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk have been sculpting art toys since 2003. They go by the name of coarse. We met with them to find out more about the fox they have designed for the collection.

Based in LA, they’re known for their unique sculpting style that creates the illusion that they’ve chiselled their designs from three-dimensional rock. Many of the coarse pieces have a strong sense of individuality, expressing various themes; silence, sadness and loneliness – undertones expose our souls’ vulnerability, which we quite often try to conceal.

Within the last 10 years, they have evolved, gaining international recognition and collectors all over the world. Although they love their niche world of art toys, they also love opportunities to reach new audiences and seeing how those people interact with their art. That led them to the collaboration with IKEA for the upcoming art event. coarse has designed a glass fox – one of nine glass figures by toy designers and artists from around the world.

A different kind of fox

“We try to understand where our figures fit in the broader scope of artistic representation, and in this case, we were interested in playing around with the symbolism of a fox. In our culture, there is, of course, the obvious connotation that a fox is sly, and in Japanese lore the fox is a shape-shifter that can take on human form and even achieve immortality. But in creating a unique character we asked ourselves: What about the fox who is not so clever, who does not want to trick others for its own benefit?”

Like many of the other artists taking part in this collaboration, it’s the duo’s first time working in glass. Because of that, they faced limitations that they otherwise aren’t used to – like having to design a figure with a flat bottom and back.

“This required us to go back to the drawing board several times to create just the right shape. We also weren’t sure how this effect of colouring the glass would turn out, and we love the final result,” they explain.

In creating a unique character we asked ourselves: What about the fox who is not so clever, who does not want to trick others for its own benefit?

We love it too. With its eyes lost in a stunned face, hiding behind a bushy tail, this fox is shy, vulnerable, afraid of the world, and feels endlessly like prey.

“She is always on alert but never ready to attack: an outsider among her species. The best characters are the ones that have some kind of unexpected quality, and as artists, we want to remain unpredictable as well.”

Early prototype of the design by coarse for IKEA Art Event.
Early prototype of the design by coarse for IKEA Art Event.