Singer Jed Madela recalls the initial days of the pandemic in 2020. He remembers feeling “trapped” at home, which triggered his panic attacks. His anxiety levels shot up just as Covid cases were surging. Since live shows and performances were either canceled or put on hold, his mind was restless. It was, in his words, “working double time.” But he had nothing to do.
People turned to all sorts of activities to take their minds off the situation. In Jed’s case, he turned to toys. He’s loved toys since he was a kid but he started becoming an art toy collector in 2019.
The pandemic, however, made it difficult for him to continue with this new passion: the lockdown and quarantine restrictions made it a challenge to order the toys.
The singer has always been into all sorts of artistic endeavors as far back as he can remember—drawing, doodling, sketching, painting, sculpting, and creating clay figures. He enjoys creating characters. So the lockdown was enforced, his friends, who are collectors and toy designers, encouraged Jed to turn his sketches into toys.
“There’s one particular character that I always draw, his name is VuDu—he is a self-character,” Jed shares, meaning VuDu is the singer in toy form. “When my friends saw my sketch, they encouraged me to create my own art toy.”
This nudge from friends started his journey into the world of art toy making. Jed basically learned its rigors through online art tutorials and the help of his toy-designing friends.
VuDu would eventually become the main protagonist of what Jed calls the MADD World. You could say the performer enjoyed himself so much in this new activity that he created an entire narrative, a whole fictional world where his character lives.
“He was made of sack cloth with rough stitches in the edges,” the story describes VuDu. “His left eye was made of a broken button and the right was a lose one hanging from a thread.” The toy sports a patch on his head and he wears an oversized tattered t-shirt. Its about 5 inches in height, made of 100 percent resin and is hand-painted to have that authentic looking burlap texture.
"He is a loner," Jed describes VuDu. "He's a rag doll. Some sort of an object that is used and abused but we can’t seem to get rid of..."
His VuDu OG got sold out, so he followed this up with VuDu Orange Mushroom Patch. The new toy stays true to the original VuDu form, but this time around, the sweater patch is orange instead of blue. The red push pin is still there on top of his head, appearing like a tiny hat.
Jed’s third collection pays homage to international pop star, Ariana Grande—hence the name VuDu Ms. Grande, the first release under his VuDu Pop Riots line. The last two art toy collections are still available at his website.
Jed had also created some toys for his personal collection, which includes a set of BTS busts (he’s a big BTS fan) and Disney princesses (he collects everything Disney).
“I am very happy that I got into toys, because toys kind of brings you back to childhood when everything was still simple. When you have a toy, you’re fine,” he says. “Getting into art and getting into toys have that effect on me, so I worried less. I focused on something very productive which is developing my art. From appreciating sketched art, I leveled up to collecting, and pushed it further to creating art.”
Maddcreatives.net, says Jed, will be a one-stop shop of all his future works of art. He’s currently busy preparing an entire lineup of toys he’ll be releasing this year and next year. He won’t be leaving his music career, of course. “I still write songs and hopefully in the near future, I get to release a single or a new album,” he says.
Jed is thankful this challenging period allowed him to explore his abilities outside singing. “One of the things that got me into art is I want to be surrounded by beautiful pieces. In a way, it helps me cope with the day-to-day stresses. I hope people also discover this other side of me,” he says.