Toy Art 2.0 is now available! This coffee table art book is a four-pound love letter to the spirit of community and power of accessible art. From cover to cover, its 290 pages are packed with 50+ interviews and 150 color photos. We (an artist, a writer and a producer) created it from three countries over the course of three years, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.
I became involved in this epic project almost three years ago when Canadian artist Okedoki found herself overwhelmed with a manuscript eclipsing 500 pages. As I combed through that first draft, I noticed recurring themes of community, collaboration and customization. This struck me as an interesting culture shift in the toy art niche: a decade ago, toy art was a means of owning affordable art multiples by a few of my favorite painters and illustrators. Currently, the movement has swung from the few to the many, and people around the world are working together to create and customize their own toy art.
Today’s toy artists defy categorization. Thanks to six letters (W.W.W. and D.I.Y.), previously passive collectors are now active participants in their own global community. Toy artists paint plastic from San Francisco to New York, pour molds from Moscow to Manila and carve wood from Bali to Zurich. Toy art is forged in foundries in LA and found in quarries in France. Creators, collectors and curators mingle online. Art becomes accessible. The exclusive gets a bit more inclusive. With a wink to Web 2.0, we distinguish the current scene from its ancestry.
Toy Art 2.0 features 21 interviews with artists who create and collect toy art: Frank Kozik, Walter “Chauskoskis” Jackott, Ferg, Glenn Barr, Chris Ryniak, Kathie Olivas & Brandt Peters, Francesco de Molfetta, Huck Gee, Sergey Safonov, Bjorn Calleja, Doktor A, Yosiell Lorenzo, John “Spanky” Stokes, Ayleen Gaspar, J*RYU, Jesse Hernandez, Lee “Leecifer” Gajda, Nakanari, Paul Kaiju, Mark Nagata and Skinner.
The book also introduces the retailers, distributors, producers, curators and fabricators who ensure collectors get their fix: Amy Del Castillo and Luke Rook of Lulubell Toy Bodega, Bigboy Cheng of SecretFresh, Brian Flynn of Super7, Dov Kelmer of DKE, Gino Joukar of Toy Art Gallery, Julie B. of Pretty in Plastic, Raymond Choy of Toy2R, Rob Clarke of Foosh, Steve Agin of AginToys (formerly of Phillips de Pury) and Vince Su of VTSS Toys.
Meet the mega-collectors, and peep their amazing toy art collections! We interviewed 20 toyaholics on three continents, including: Alvin Tan Jian Shan, Carl Kent-Smith, Dan Harris, Eduardo Olegario, Haynmade, Henry Loh, Ian Malcolm, Jon Lao, Justin Jewett, Kev Taylor, Kirkland Jue, Kristoffer Butiong, Laina Jones, Marcos Janri, Muschelschubser, Nicolas Caldas, Philip Lin, Sara Harvey, StacyJean and Vadim Tslaf.
Like the titular toy art movement, our book evolved over the years. We sent new questions to our contributors. We overcame challenges. We taught ourselves how to make a book that we’d be proud to see displayed on collectors’ shelves.
And now, with a big thanks to Vince Su of VTSS Toys, we’re about to get that opportunity! Check out the palette in the photo above. That’s our book, in an edition of just 1,000 copies, being loaded onto a literal “slow boat from China!” A limited number of signed books can be purchased directly through me for $55 each here. (Please note that due to the weight of the book, I’m only shipping to addresses in the USA and Canada.) For all other countries, pick up a copy from VTSS here.