What's the 3D Chango?

Here's the story of the 3D Chango:

Around 2015, I made a project for a Souvenir @ the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño de Puerto Rico. It began as a question towards what in the quotidian experience of living and being in Puerto Rico was particular and unique.

In this pondering, I noticed something: the chango; that intrepid, obnoxious yet under appreciated bird, Is an undeniable part of Puerto Rico's quotidian environment. It's familiar, comical, annoying, social, clever...and it's a lot like us Puerto Ricans; as Magali Garcia Ramis presents in her essay "El chango como pájaro nacional",  the chango is a bird that, rather we Puerto Ricans like it or not, represents and symbolizes our idiosyncrasy.

During the design process, a little bit of my interests and unsatisfied preferences leaked into the creation. Personally, I like souvenir objects that are compact yet 3-dimensional, non-kitschy and that actually share a meaningful relationship to their context. It is in this design phase that I stumbled upon Modernist toys that portrayed beautifully made, clean and simple animals made in wood. Some examples are Kay Bojesen's Lovebirds, Kristian Vedel's Bird as well as the famous Eames' House Bird.

Bojesen's Lovebird
Vedel's Bird
Charles & Ray Eames' House Bird

Some time after having presented the "souvenir" in class, I continued changing and developing the design; exploring ways of fabrication, form, materials and packaging. Some months later a new version of the Chango was made. Having utilized 3d printing as a way of testing the physical attributes of the model, it ended up sticking as the default way of creating the object. Not only that, this method also provided a way to explore complex forms, integrate diverse materials and other factors that proved to be worthwhile while being quickly iterative and flexible.

Once standardized, I started to sell them on the spot. Some time later, I got the opportunity to present in Raquel Pérez Puig's  Souvenir 154 in Viejo San Juan. Before I knew it, I had a front page cover on índice newspaper and a televised interview, along with more than a 100 units sold. In this new phase, we're testing out how the Internet can help bring the Chango to the Puerto Rican Diaspora, as the figure can help bring back memories of home to those who are away from it.