The Toy Art 2.0 book is not the first coffee table book devoted to toy art on the market, but it is likely the most comprehensive – not just profiling artists and designers, but also collectors and gallery owners. At 4 pounds, it is also likely the heaviest. Most importantly, it is driven by people from within the toy community! The book is spearheaded by Okedoki, a Canadian artist known for toys such as Benny the Dreamer, with former toy blogger Jeremy Brautman(Jeremyriad) on editing and interview duties.
Excitedly for us, the Circus Posterus collective is featured a lot in the book. Brandt Peters and Kathie Olivas, Chris Ryniak, and FERG are interviewed, alongside many of our friends. Jeremy is a good interviewer, and includes the usual introductions and surfacey questions, but also digs for details on toy productions, frustrations with the artistic process and common artists myths. Still, even though the seasoned toy community members can find lots of new ideas in the book, it remains accessible and a perfect introduction for newcomers to designer toy art.
Where this book excels though, is spotlighting the gears that make the toy industry run. I loved reading the interviews with Julie B. of Pretty in Plastic, the master sculptor behind some of the industry’s most well loved figures, as well as the essay by Kirby Kerr, although writing about his life as a toy collector and not the gallery director/co-owner for Rotofugi. In addition, several of our own Sideshow community are in the book as well – Stacyjean and Sara Harvey, two wonderful women that we look forward to seeing every year. It is also more than obvious, looking at collectors like Stacy and Sara(and by the way, there are pages and pages of full colour and absolutely drool worthy toy shelves that make it into the book), that collecting is its own art form and passion project.
I’ve always felt that most “art books” are great machines to promote artists, which is all well and good, but the true heart of every community has always been its people…every single one of them, not just the ones selling stuff. As Jeremy told me, “When I came on board the project, I read all 500 pages and started cutting it down to a reasonable amount of text. Along the way, I noticed that this wasn’t a book about the world of toy art ten years ago, but rather the Internet-enabled world of toy art: emphasis on community and collaboration.”
I’ve always been blown away at the toy art community’s willingness to embrace the outsiders, the newbies, and the slightly lost and wide eyed. We’re a community largely based around making art and design accessible, and I think it’s always been one of our best aspects. At the end of the day, our community is the most important thing to us at Circus Posterus, and I am excited that this book chose to highlight the diverse and fascinating community that has evolved around the toy scene in the past ten years.
Quotes from the book:
“We started as outsiders, and forming a group just made sense. Everyone contributes something.”—Kathie Olivas (about the Circus Posterus collective)
“I enjoy art in an accessible form made by people I admire, and I can create a world around me.”—Sara Harvey
“I hope by sharing images of pieces I’ve collected, I’m contributing back to the cycle.”—StacyJean
“It’s an awesome, punk rock response to what we liked as kids.” —Chris Ryniak (about toy art)
You can also join our community at The Sideshow forums(one of us. one of us.). We like the stuff you like.