Psycho Toyz for Crazy Kids: The Art Asylum Story with Digger Mesch and Donna Costa

From KISS and Rob Zombie, to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Eminem, Dark Angel, and to boldly go with Star Trek and Minimates, Art Asylum was one of the landmark toy companies and action figure studios that defined the late 90s and early 2000s – fighting for creator recognition while at the same time pushing what can be done creatively with action figure sculpting, design, materials and packaging  that is still felt today 20 years later.

Today I welcome its co-founders Digger Mesch and Donna Costa as we take a time machine back to how they started a studio for sculpting toys in Brooklyn – in a time when there were more gunshots than hipsters –  to scaling up into their own global toy brand all the way to their ultimate demise and how the brand lives on inside Diamond Select Toys today.

This is one of the craziest stories and most candid and frank interviews ever about the collectible toy industry – so let’s just jump right into this Art Asylum retrospective with Digger and Donna inside The Hyper Room.

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Show Notes


An Eminem doll featuring a chain saw, manufactured by Art Asylum, is set to be released this year (2001). The lifelike doll has the rapper’s tattoos recreated in detail, including the words “Cut Here” on his neck. Eminem, who has a huge hit with the song “The Real Slim Shady,” caused a storm by waving a chain saw on stage during his recent tour. (Photo by Art Asylum/Coutesy of Getty Images)

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