Munny is a blank slate, what you do with it relies primarily on your imagination. For the vinyl toy, made by Kidrobot, you'll need paint, fabric, and maybe some polymer clay and a background in art, to create your own character.

Friday night, we headed to Sugoi Life, a Japanese pop culture shop at Northridge Fashion Center, where Munny customizers from across greater Los Angeles had gathered to showcase their pieces. The theme for this event was Miyavi, the Japanese rock star who played Los Angeles last weekend and stopped by the shop to judge both the Munny and cosplay competitions at Sugoi Life.

In keeping with Miyavi's chameleon-like persona, the Munny toys on display reflected the various looks he has adopted over the years. We talked to two of the event's award-winning artists about their pieces.

Mina Nikkhoo's Munny; Credit: Liz Ohanesian

Mina Nikkhoo's Munny; Credit: Liz Ohanesian

“Being a creepy kid, I love black,” says Mina Nikkhoo, a twenty-year-old from Santa Clarita who used Miyavi's style for his current “Neo Tokyo Samurai Black World Tour” as her inspiration.

Nikkhoo, a FIDM student who works in the fashion industry, had never customized a Munny before the event. She created her piece with acrylic paint, hair extensions, leather scraps and superglue. It took about twenty-four hours to complete.

Kevin Luong's Munny; Credit: Liz Ohanesian

Kevin Luong's Munny; Credit: Liz Ohanesian

Likewise, Kevin Luong, a twenty-two-year-old CSUN student and freelance illustrator from Simi Valley, had never worked with a Munny as a canvas before.

“I play with a lot of toys,” he adds, “and I was a Lego fan.”

Luong spent about ten hours working on his Munny, relying primarily on acrylic paint to create a vinyl toy version of Miyavi. He finished the piece with a gloss coat, giving it a slick appeal.

Despite this being their first Munny experience, both Nikkhoo and Luong were awarded for their efforts.

LA Weekly