The goodness of Chueh

October Toys hosted their second annual ‘day with Toybreak’ recently. The 24hr live stream aimed to raise funds for the weekly toy-culture show. I don’t want to overshadow the many people that made the event a success, but I do want to highlight a specific artist who left a strong impression on me.

Luke Chueh showed up on Toybreak late on Friday night and, in his own mumbling soft-spoken way, stole the show. He wasn't funnier than kaNO and Sket One, wasn't as affable as Ben Goretsky or as momentarily hilarious as DOV from DKE toys. He didn’t have awesome anecdotes about painting on porn sets like Buff Monster and he didn't have the on-screen stamina of Ayleen Gaspar. So what did Luke have? How about a complete lack of ego and a desire to do some good.

Luke, like many of the visiting artists, was generous with his time, his talent and even his personal toy-stash as he helped raise funds for the show. He fired out sketches on request, auctioned off some of his toys and hung around well into the Californian morning. "That’s why I don’t even go on ebay, it kills me to see these things and I don’t wanna over-inflate my ego,” said Chueh while auctioning off one of his toys.

And so we arrive at the Hisey Principle. Matt Hisey of Toypinionated believes that artistic success should correlate to how nice you are as a person. It's a wonderful idea, and it has some frightening exceptions. Ask any fan who’s had the misfortune of meeting a supremely talented asshole. They exist. You should know this. It doesn’t take away from their talent, but it does leave you feeling like a goddamn fool once you've encountered them.

Listening to Luke speak, I wanted to believe in the Hisey principle. I wanted to support Luke as much as possible. I wanted to buy his art and send him birthday cards. Too creepy? Would it sound less weird if I told you Luke’s sending me a 25 gallon cock-hat instead? Luke’s behaviour reinforced an important idea for me: of being fucking good at what you do while also being supportive of others. Of giving, for no other reason than to see other people do well.

We live in a time of unprecedented individualism. Every part of global culture seems to be pushing towards the central idea of 'me’. Worship me, love me, entertain me…it's not that we believe that no one else matters, it's just that we’re now taught that we matter more.

Community should be more than a word used for hip TV shows or to describe the efforts of barefoot, middle-class white boys trying to start a bonfire at a trance party with little more than a muddy lighter and a misguided sense of togetherness. Community should be you and me, supporting one another for the betterment of both. Not because it’s a smart play/makes sense/is mutually beneficial, but rather because we have the power to affect one another’s lives in positive or negative ways. The choice is ours.

The small insight I got thanks to Chueh's Toybreak visit has me feeling hopeful. It’s good to see good people doing well. It’s contagious. Maybe that’s why it’s so important?

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