From Howard Ratner’s iced-out Furby in Uncut Gems to the internet’s freaky obsession with Frankenstein Furbs, society has entered a Furby renaissance. The former ‘it’ toy is a pop cultural phenomenon akin to Juicy Couture tracksuits or Nintendo, and one of the longest standing relics of the 1990s. A single mention is enough to conjure fuzzy memories of days spent trawling down Toys ‘R’ Us aisles, while its cold, glassy eyes feel like a spectre of capitalism frozen in time.
“I think Furbies are hilarious, and it's really funny how they spark different reactions in everyone,” says Instagram account @furbyliving. “A lot of people are horrified, some people think they’re cute, but very few people are neutral towards them. I think that’s why they’ve been around for so long in pop culture.”
With 13.5k followers, @furbyliving (real name William Källback Winter) is known for his uncanny renditions – or, Furbyfication – of iconic album covers, such as Arca’s KiCk i, Björk’s Utopia, and Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence. His images have attracted the attention of his subjects (most notably, Arca, Britney Spears, and Björk), who regularly share Winters’ furry homages on social media.
He loves the Furby’s “simple yet effective” design. “They have a lot of aspects that I try to use when I recreate the covers,” he says. “There’s the beak, the huge eyes, the IR sensor faceplate, their own Furbish language, the pointy ears and the cute little feet.“
@furbyliving originally started posting Furby images onto Instagram in 2013, but traces his fascination back to Tumblr. “I had an idea to post pics of my Furbies in funny situations as a sort of ‘day in the life of’, hence the name Furby Living,” he explains. “They all had names and backstories – but we really don’t need to get into it.”
As for what albums he picks, Winter takes requests from his followers (judging by the comments on his last post, SOPHIE’s Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides is looking like a hot contender). But he also chooses artists he likes and covers that he feels would be funny to recreate. “I recently recreated Shygirl’s ALIAS EP cover, for example, not because anyone really asked for it but because I just felt like, hey, this will be absolutely terrifying,” he explains.
Hit follow to Furbify your feed, and enjoy a selection of our favourites below.