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Life & Work with Jeremy “MAD” Madl of Louisburg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy “MAD” Madl.

Hi Jeremy “MAD,” it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for sharing your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I grew up in various parts of KC, and after graduating High School, I moved to Los Angeles to study Toy Design at Otis College of Art & Design. After living in LA for about 10 years and working in the Toy Industry, my wife and I moved back to KC to raise our growing family. In 2006 I started my own company (MAD Toy Design), designing and producing collectible art toys, and I have been living the dream ever since. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the largest toy companies in the world and build my brand based on my art.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely had its challenges, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love what I do every day and get to “work” on my terms. Being a self-employed toy designer in an industry that doesn’t exist here locally has been challenging at times, but luckily through my network of friends and clients, I’ve been able to keep the lights on & stay busy. I’ve always had a strong work ethic, and my focus on creating new things drives me to keep pushing forward, which has opened up a lot of different opportunities over the years.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Toys. I loved them as a kid, and I still love them! I grew up on a steady diet of toys, video games, graffiti, skateboarding, comics, & cartoons, so I should have ended up in this business. Besides my more commercial work in the mass market toy industry, In 2002, I created my line of limited edition collectible vinyl art toys called the MAD*L’s. They were released when the “art toy” market was starting in the US, and I was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. Because of my MAD*L figures & street art illustration style, I started collaborating with other companies to make their figures & apparel. This allowed the meeting to do more traditional art and have gallery shows across the globe.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting?
Many have said it, but find something you love to do and pursue it with a passion. I grew up drawing and creating non-stop, so it was a pretty easy choice when it came time to decide “what I wanted to do” in life. Finding Toy Design as a career was just the icing on the cake. Learning the business’s ins and outs took a lot of time and energy but never felt like “work,” and I’m very grateful for those who helped guide me along the way. If I could offer any advice, it’d be to stick to what you love doing and learn as much about the whole process/industry. It’s not always just about making cool stuff but understanding the business, production, and marketing side of things. In the end, understanding the entirety of your field makes you more valuable to yourself and others.

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