I love toys, especially urban vinyl. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because of my love of illustration. The miracle of plastic is that it can render any form an artist conjures up - no matter how far out - into 3D. We can actually touch the characters we see in graphic novels, comic books and paintings. Many artists who became famous as street artists, such as Buff Monster or Koralie, have had toys produced of their work. I've said it many times on this blog - the best art is tactile (which is why I love pottery so much). Feeling stressed out? Hold a toy. It's fun!
The only thing more fun than holding a toy is photographing it. An imagined form is rendered into 3D. The end user then takes that form and renders it back into 2D. This is meta-meta communication at its best.
Here's a few from my collection. When I buy my prefab ranch, I will have shelves lined with toys in my office. Warning to those readers who are trying to control their various obsessions: Toys are addictive. Photo processing software is addictive.
Littlest pet shop by Hasbro.
GI Joe 25th anniversary edition by Hasbro. Sassy by Girltech.
Maneki Neko, aka Lucky Cat, and Hello Kitty.
Hello Kitty Pez containers.
Hello Kitty Pez containers.
Blue toys! I love grouping them by color. Honey Baby by Gary Thinking, Peecol Student by eBoy and School Girl by Nathan Jurevicius.
Baby Qee, Chinese Wedding Couple Special Edition by Toy2R.
Kiyomi by Junko Mizuno and Tinpo Lash, Fashion Victims Series by Unkl.
My UniPo collection.
Dunny by Toofly for Fatale Series.
She's got back!
My favorites! My dunny collection. Left to right: Tilt from Series 3; Fawn Gehweiler from LA Series; Junko Mizuno from Series 5; Julie West from Ye Olde English Series; Julie West from Fatale Series; Toofly from Fatale Series.
Julie West Dunny from Fatale Series. No one does faces better. I've written about Julie a number of times on this blog.
My Julie West collection. Left to right: Dunnys; Bumble Candy Edition produced by STRANGEco; Kaniza clusters produced by Toy Cube. I'd like to commission Julie for a custom Munny.
Pokeman, Nurse Joy. This cutie is teeny-tiny. Only a half-inch tall! Remember the Liddle Kiddles? I used to get in trouble for sneeking those to school with me. I bet I could've smuggled in this cutie with no problema.
Pink Pokemon! Shellos, Medicham and Happiny.
Foofa of Yo Gabba Gabba.
There are some great books about the phenomenon of plastic toys. Two of my favorites are: I am Plastic by Paul Budnitz and Plastic Culture by Woodrow Phoenix. High-Fructose is a great magazine featuring cutting edge artists, many of whom have had their work produced as toys. Have a look, they have a great website.
Kidrobot is probably the largest producer of vinyl toys. I love consulting the archives on their site when I am looking for a particular toy. Here are some other excellent sites for the urban vinyl lover: my plastic heart; fugitive toys; Wootini; rofugi; STRANGEco.
If you are a collector, I'm always interested in seeing the artsy way people photograph and display their toys. If you'd like to be featured on this blog, drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you.
All images by Peggy