The googly-eyed amphibian known as Jeremiah the Frog of Innocence has been associated with eccentric singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston since the creature first appeared on the cover of his 1986 album Hi, How Are You. A few years later, Johnston pained a mural of Jeremiah in Austin (fans fought to save it in 2004 when the building was threatened with demolition), and the toad’s image was memoralized on T-shirts favored by Kurt Cobain. Now you can own your very own Jeremiah — white, green and orange figurines have been produced in limited editions of 250 by New York history teacher/artist Jeffrey Newman.
“I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to find another way to connect to and support some of the artists I admired,” Newman says. “One evening I was having a conversation with Ron English, another popular artist and longtime friend of Dan’s, and we concluded that a toy needed to be made for Daniel. I had no idea if they would go for it. It’s been a total joy and humbling seeing how excited Dan was when I brought him the first prototype.”
Newman developed Jeremiah and released it via his company, At Arms Ltd; the frog is now up for sale at the Whitney museum store and Johnston’s own site, as well as other toy and music shops. Johnston’s own work was featured in the 2006 Whitney Bienniel exhibition, and the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, which tracked the singer’s battle with bipolar disorder, came out that year, as well.