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Heidi Arnhold

22 Rocking Pieces of Fraggle Rock Fan Art

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Heidi Arnhold

Jim Henson’s cave-dwelling Fraggle Rock critters hit the big 3-0 this year. In celebration, here are a few fun pieces of fan art celebrating those who “let the music play down in Fraggle Rock.”

1. Gobo In Carbonite

As the most adventurous Fraggle, it’s only fitting that Gobo would be the Han Solo of the group. And with that kind of a reputation, you have to expect the occasional carbonite freezing. As artist Phraggle points out, this would be a perfect wall display for the despicable Wander McMooch.

2. Doozers On Death Stars

Doozers are always building something, and live to construct massive structures. Artist James Hance has a point here—Darth would have done himself a favor if he hired these dedicated workers to build the Death Star. It’s doubtful the Rebels would have had a chance to destroy the structure before the Doozers completed their job! In a more patriotic look at the Doozers, Hance also had them raise the flag at Iwo Jima.

3. Sgt. Mokey’s Happy Hearts Club Band

James Hance has no shortage of Henson creatures in his “relentlessly cheerful art.” Aside from this great Fraggle-y take on The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper looks, he also has a take on Firefly featuring a variety of Muppets as well as Red and Wembley as Zoe and Wash, respectively.

4. A Hard Doozer’s Night

Hance isn’t the only artist to envision the Fraggles as The Beatles. Here’s the earlier incarnation of the band by DeviantArt user TheRogueSPiDER.

5. Keep Away From Sharp Rocks

James Hance’s “Firefrog” piece is precisely what inspired balloon artist Susanne Ritchie of Black Cat Balloon Company to create this delightful Wembley balloon sculpture.

6. Poor Little Boober

These days, much of the best Fraggle Rock art is actually created specifically for Archaia's Fraggle Rock comic. This great piece featuring a terrified Boober was created as a cover for the comic by DeviantArt user mooncalfe, who also had a 5-page story in the issue.

7. Full Metal Henson

When Red goes crazy, you’d better hit the deck … at least, that is assuming she goes postal like she has in this design by DeviantArt user zillford.

8. The Expedition

Another big source of Fraggle art as of late has been the Threadless design contest in honor of the show’s 30th anniversary. While DeviantArt user Lazesummerstone’s piece didn’t win the contest, it’s still delightful—particularly in the way that it manages to show off the individual personalities of the show’s five main characters.

9. Down At Fraggle Rock

While the show’s viewers know that Fraggle Rock has three exits and what they all connect to, it’s still quite fascinating to see all of the main species and characters involved in the show in one image. While DeviantArt user HeidiArnhold originally created this piece as part of the Threadless design challenge, it certainly stands up on its own merits as well.

10. Fragglecology

Here’s another view of the world of Fraggle Rock, and though this one doesn’t feature Marjory the trash heap, it does show how the Fraggle Rock ecosystem works. Essentially, DeviantArt user lazesummerstone has depicted the Fraggles' circle of life.

11. Getting Inside The Fraggles

Looking for more Fraggle science? How about an anatomy lesson? DeviantArt user Negaduck9 created this depiction of a Fraggle’s skeletal structure, noting that “No Fraggles were harmed in the making of this image, despite it looking like something exhumed from the back of Junior Gorg's garden. A Fraggle simply fell asleep while waiting in line at the airport and got slipped through the X-ray machine.”

12. My Little Fragglies

What would the five main Fraggles look like as My Little Ponies? Negaduck9 seems to have a pretty good idea, even down to their personalized cutie marks. She has also created an image showing Derpy Hooves, the My Little Pony, as a Fraggle. She even drew a self-portrait as a Fraggle.

13. Real Fraggles

Obviously, the Fraggles on TV are cute little puppets made by Jim Henson. DeviantArt user Pristichampsus has a good idea as to what they look like in the real world, and while the result is interesting, it’s not nearly as cute.

14. The Newest Fraggle

While most fan art involves paintings, drawings or some kind of digital art, DeviantArt user Tanglewood-Thicket’s puppet is particularly fitting. Couldn’t you just see this cutie dancing away next to Mokey?

15. A Rainbow of Fraggles

When you’re working with creatures this colorful, putting them together in a rainbow of colors is only logical. DeviantArt user real-faker’s design is particularly charming in that although it is digital, it almost looks like an intricate paper sculpture.

16. Laundry Day

If Fraggles generally only wear shirts and are covered in a thick layer of body fluff, then are they still technically naked in this design by DeviantArt user aerinsol?

17. Fraggles vs. Minions

It looks like DeviantArt user Petzrick was imagining what would happen if the Fraggles encountered the apocalypse, but it’s actually the artist’s mashup between Fraggle Rock and the children’s horror film, The Gate. He says he imagines the evil minions as the total opposite of Fraggles, who are inherently good.

18. FragOl

Artist James Farr did a fantastic job merging Fraggle Rock and Portal in this fantastic mashup. Just imagine how much easier it would be for them to steal radishes from the Gorgs if they had a Portal Gun on their side.

19. Doozer Propaganda

Even hard workers like doozers need a little motivation now and then, and if it happens to come in the form of propaganda posters, then so be it. DeviantArt user mightyfilm does bring up an interesting observation with this piece though—doozers seem to not earn any financial rewards for all their hard work, so are they communists?

20. Doozers Do!

Here’s another propaganda-style poster for doozers, this one even more communist than the last. DeviantArt user duktoonz said this piece was inspired by the doozer toys on his desk that help keep him motivated to work all day long.

21. Doozers Just Wanna Have Fun

Maybe they aren’t communists at all. Maybe doozers really do just think work is the most fun activity in the world, so they’re always living it up. Either way, it sure is nice to see a doozer have as much fun as the one in this piece by DeviantArt user xanderthurteen.

22. Smell Like A Fraggle

While it might not technically be art, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has created their own tribute to the Fraggles—signature scents. Gobo's cologne has notes of pink grapefruit and vanilla cream, Uncle Traveling Matt features dark chocolate, figgy vanilla and pear, and Red smells like sweet red currant, tangy cranberry, pink musk, and spicy pink pepper.

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The King of Kong © Jim Naughten. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery
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The Mountains of Kong: The Majestic West African Range That Never Existed
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The King of Kong © Jim Naughten. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

If you look closely at a 19th century map of Africa, you’ll notice one major way that it differs from contemporary maps, one that has nothing to do with changing political or cartographical styles. More likely than not, it features a mountain range that no longer appears on modern maps, as WIRED explains. Because it never existed in the first place.

A 19th century map of West Africa
From Milner's Descriptive Atlas, 1850

The “Mountains of Kong” appeared on almost every major commercial map of Africa in the 1800s, stretching across the western part of the continent between the Gulf of Guinea and the Niger River. This mythical east-west mountain range is now the subject of an art exhibition at London’s Michael Hoppen Gallery.

In "Mountains of Kong," stereoscopic images by artist Jim Naughten—the same format that allowed Victorians with wanderlust to feel like they’d seen the world—reveal his view of the world of wildlife that might have existed inside the imagined mountains. As the gallery describes it, “he imagines a fictitious record made for posterity and scientific purposes during an expedition of the mountain range.” We’ve reproduced the images here, but to get the full effect, you’ll have to go to the gallery in person, where you can view them in 3D with a stereoscope (like the ones you no doubt played with as a kid).

Toucans fight a snake in two almost-identical side-by-side images.
The Toucans © Jim Naughten. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

Naughten created the images by taking two photographs for each, and moving the camera over some 3 inches for the second photo to make a stereoscopic scene. The landscapes were created by shooting images of Scottish and Welsh mountains and dioramas in natural history museums, using Photoshop to change the hues of the images to make them seem more otherworldly. His blue-and-pink-hued images depict fearsome apes, toucans sparring with snakes, jagged peaks, and other scenes that seem both plausible and fantastical at the same time.

The Mountains of Kong appeared in several hundred maps up until the 20th century. The first, in 1798, was created by the prominent geographer James Rennell to accompany a book by Scottish explorer Mungo Park about his first journey to West Africa. In it, Park recounts gazing on a distant range, and “people informed me, that these mountains were situated in a large and powerful kingdom called Kong.” Rennell, in turn, took this brief observation and, based on his own theories about the course of the Niger River, drew a map showing the mountain range that he thought was the source of the river. Even explorers who later spent time in the area believed the mountains existed—with some even claiming that they crossed them.

Two colobuses stand in a tree on a mountaintop.
The Colobus © Jim Naughten. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery

The authority of the maps wasn’t questioned, even by those who had been to the actual territory where they were depicted as standing. Writers began to describe them as “lofty,” “barren,” and “snow-covered.” Some said they were rugged granite peaks; others described them as limestone terraces. In almost all cases, they were described as “blue.” Their elevation ranged from 2500 feet to 14,000 feet, depending on the source. Over the course of the 19th century, “there was a general southward ‘drift’ in the location,” as one pair of scholars put it.

Though geographers cast some doubt on the range’s existence as time went on, the Mountains of Kong continued to appear on maps until French explorer Louis-Gustave Binger’s Niger River expedition between 1887 and 1889, after which Binger definitively declared their nonexistence.

By 1891, the Mountains of Kong began dropping off of maps, though the name Kong still appeared as the name of the region. By the early 20th century, the mountains were gone for good, fading into the forgotten annals of cartographic history.

[h/t WIRED]

All images courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery.

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10 Fun Facts About Play-Doh
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As any Play-Doh aficionado knows, September 16th is National Play-Doh Day! Let's pay tribute to your favorite modeling clay with some fun facts about the childhood play staple that began life as a cleaning product.

1. IT WAS FIRST SOLD AS WALLPAPER CLEANER.

Before kids were playing with Play-Doh, their parents were using it to remove soot and dirt from their wall coverings by simply rolling the wad of goop across the surface.

2. IF IT WEREN'T FOR CAPTAIN KANGAROO, PLAY-DOH MIGHT NEVER HAVE TAKEN OFF.

When it was just a fledgling company with no advertising budget, inventor Joe McVicker talked his way in to visit Bob Keeshan, a.k.a Captain Kangaroo. Although the company couldn’t pay the show outright, McVicker offered them two percent of Play-Doh sales for featuring the product once a week. Keeshan loved the compound and began featuring it three times weekly.

3. MORE THAN 3 BILLION CANS OF PLAY-DOH HAVE BEEN SOLD.

Since 1956, more than 3 billion cans of Play-Doh have been sold. That’s enough to reach the Moon and back a total of three times. (Not bad for a wallpaper cleaner.)

4. IT USED TO COME IN JUST ONE COLOR.

Photo of child's hands playing with Play-Doh clay
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Back when it was still a household product, Play-Doh came in just one dud of a color: off-white. When it hit stores as a toy in the 1950s, red, blue, and yellow were added. These days, Play-Doh comes in nearly every color of the rainbow—more than 50 in total—but a consumer poll revealed that fans' favorite colors are Rose Red, Purple Paradise, Garden Green, and Blue Lagoon.

5. FOR QUITE SOME TIME, DR. TIEN LIU HAD A JOB SKILL NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD COULD CLAIM: PLAY-DOH EXPERT.

Dr. Tien Liu helped perfect the Play-Doh formula for the original company, Rainbow Crafts, and stayed on as a Play-Doh Expert when the modeling compound was purchased by Kenner and then Hasbro.

6. YOU CAN SMELL LIKE PLAY-DOH.

Want to smell like Play-Doh? You can! To commemorate the compound’s 50th anniversary, Demeter Fragrance Library worked with Hasbro to make a Play-Doh fragrance, which was developed for “highly-creative people, who seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood.”

7. HASBRO RECENTLY TRADEMARKED THE SCENT.

Anyone who has ever popped open a fresh can of Play-Doh knows that there’s something extremely distinctive about the smell. It’s so distinctive that, in early 2017, Hasbro filed for federal protection in order to trademark the scent, which the company describes as “a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough.”

8. IT CAN CREATE A PRETTY ACCURATE FINGERPRINT.

When biometric scanners were a bit more primitive, people discovered that you could make a mold of a person’s finger, then squish Play-Doh in the mold to make a replica of the finger that would actually fool fingerprint scanners. Back in 2005, it was estimated that Play-Doh could actually fool 90 percent of all fingerprint scanners. But technology has advanced a lot since then, so don’t go getting any funny ideas. Today's more sophisticated systems aren’t so easily tricked by the doughy stuff.

9. IT HOLDS A PLACE IN THE NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME.

Unsurprisingly, Play-Doh holds a coveted place in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. It was inducted in 1998. According to the Hall of Fame, “recent estimates say that kids have played with 700 million pounds of Play-Doh."

10. YOU CAN TURN YOUR PLAY-DOH CREATIONS INTO ANIMATED CHARACTERS.

While Play-Doh may be a classic toy, it got a state-of-the-art upgrade in 2016, when Hasbro launched Touch Shape to Life Studio, an app that lets kids turn their Play-Doh creations into animated characters.

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