Happy Sleepy is an art collaboration by Canadian artists Marc Ngui and Magda Wojtyra, and Happy Sleepy is the name of the first stuffed toy that Magda made based on a creature Marc drew.

img_6565

Marc and Magda chibi heads with Buddhist thangka inspired flowers. Drawings by Marc, colour by Magda.

We cope with the intensity of our times by telling stories of the hero’s journey and using beauty to pull deeply into the now. Through our art we homestead the future we want to live in, one where cheerful people make brave decisions and consciousness change is key to personal fulfillment and social harmony.

Dinner

Dinner in a cold house, Savigny-sous-Faye, France 2008.

We have been together as a couple since 2000 and we delight in combining our huge range of digital and analog art making skills to produce colorful and thematically flamboyant paintings, textile art, animation, soft sculpture and toys, photos and digital art, installations and video. We also work together on design projects, like websites and exhibitions, for mostly educational and non-profit sector clients.  Our individual and collaborative work has been exhibited and published in Canada and internationally.

We both studied architecture at the University of Waterloo, were Toronto based for 6 years, then went nomad (see Internet on the Beach). The long term travel gives us freedom to explore in depth our favorite ideas, especially models of human consciousness and evolution.

Follow us on Instagram @happy_sleepy as we eat and cook and make art in Tepoztlan, a mountain town 2 hours south of Mexico City.

Happy Sleepy tumble and surf patch made in Arumbol, Goa, India from a drawing by Marc.

Happy Sleepy tumble and surf patch made in Arumbol, Goa, India from a drawing by Marc.

Internet on the Beach

Dedicated to DIY and lifelong learning, in 2005 we gave up our Toronto home and possessions and took up a nomadic lifestyle as art project, dubbed Internet on the Beach. We wanted to experience the techno-nomad existence and to push the boundaries of freedom through technology, see just how far the network goes. Turns out it’s pretty far! And it also turns out that it’s far cheaper to travel full time than to live in a first world city…

During those 5 years we went to 13 countries, always on long-term visits ranging from a few weeks to a few months, including Vancouver, Montreal, and rural Ontario; surf enclaves and coffee mountains in Central America, beaches and cities of South East Asia, a year in the French countryside with chickens and side trips to Rome, Berlin and Amsterdam, 4 months in south India, a month oggling thanka paintings in Kathmandu, 5 months in California, and concluded with a giant road trip from Los Angeles to Toronto. Phew. There are photos from our travels on Flickr. It was inspiring.

Marc vacuuming mansion

Marc vacuuming mansion

In 2012 we lived in a mansion apartment in Cambridge, Ontario, while producing Let’s Glow, a mixed media solo show for the nearby Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery.

We then rehomed in Toronto for 4 years to produce and exhibit new work, including for Eutopia at the Textile Museum of Canada. And since August 2016 we are again nomad, traveling and making art in Mexico.

About Marc Ngui

Marc Ngui portrait with silk scarf

Marc Ngui

Marc Ngui (born Guyana 1972, grew up Windsor, Ontario) believes DIY is the way to go and has been making zines since 1989. He divides his energy equally between his inkwell and his digital drawing tablet.

Recent projects include illustrating an award winning children’s book about public space and urbanism titled Watch This Space (Kids Can Press, 2010); an interpretation of  Timothy Leary’s Eight Circuit Model of Human Consciousness as a “totem pole” Flash animation called Totem Pill; and an oversized book-painting called Rotate Thought Objects: I’m Ready for My Chip.

These days Marc’s main ongoing project is illustrating the Thousand Plateaus. See the first 2 chapters on his website, Bumblenut Pictures, and the current work on the Thousand Plateaus tumblr.

About Magda Wojtyra

Magda Wojtyra portrait

Magda Wojtyra

Magda Wojtyra (born Poland 1973, grew up Scarborough, Ontario) makes art focused on color in a major way and includes handmade soft art, photography, digital art, and painting.

Under the name of RNA Studio Magda designs websites and visual identities for educational, research, and small business clients. Most noteworthy (read: most fun)  are the zany websites for biochemistry research labs at various universities.

These days the laptop sits right beside the sewing machine, which makes it very convenient to divide the time between turning out a storm of Happy Sleepies and then putting them into the Etsy shop, or for making digital patterns that then turn into the Polytopia textile art exploration of geometry.

Happy Sleepies are soft, abstract animal toys sewn from an original pattern by Magda based on a drawing by Marc.

Happy Sleepies are enlightened beings because they always remember their freedom to choose how to be. They can zoom around in excited high energy or dream in restful slumber or choose to feel anything in between whenever they want. They offer an alternative to the happy-sad dichotomy of the unpredictability of life and the bouncing between states of existence imposed by the outside world: happy-sleepy refers to the choice everyone has of either a proactive or reserved attitude that one can choose from the inside of oneself towards external circumstances. We can all learn to be internally, emotionally grounded and in that way always have at least a modicum of control of our lives while going with the flow.

Happy Sleepies are made according to rules of luxury and sustainability, shunning waste. For example, the fabrics we use are very high quality, sometimes 100% silk brocade or wool and yet usually come from mill end rolls, or industry cut offs.

Read more and see a bunch of these guys on the Happy Sleepy project page, and some are always for sale in the Happy Sleepy Art and Toys Shop on Etsy. We always have more on hand and love custom requests, so just ask.

Pyramid of Crafty Love: group photo on product photography day. Its great to have these piles of soft happy things around!

Pyramid of Crafty Love: group photo on product photography day. It’s great to have these piles of soft happy things around!

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
-Victor Frankl

Original Happy Sleepy
The first Happy Sleepy made in 2005. Well, that's Sleepy on the left and Happy on the right, and really they are one. The pattern has been perfected over the years, and the myth has grown in depth and detail. See many more fabrics and styles on the <a href=://http://happysleepy.com/art/happysleepies/> Happy Sleepies</a> page.

In the Studio

Take a peek at our process and work in progress. (Swipe for more stories.)

Share us with the world: