I am out of the office three days this week! So you know what that means…I write about whatever I want! Within reason, of course. So today it will be designer vinyl. It is a phenomenon that is catching on at the museum due in large part to the recent addition of Friends with You merchandise to the IMA shop in conjunction with the On Procession project.
Those who are already fans know that there are all sorts of vinyl toys that get designed by artists and make their way to retailers for us to enthusiastically consume. So what do you need to know about them to get started?
First, they come in thousands of varieties, made by artists from all over the world, there is something for everyone. If you are in Indy, you can visit the IMA Shop or a cool fountain square store, Gnosis, to pick through some options and start experimenting with your newfound connoisseurship. If you are not in Indy, or would rather browse in the comfort of your own home, you can visit Kid Robot or Munky King on-line to try out some selections.
Next, if you want to start out affordably, you must come to terms with the uncertainty of the blind box. There are a lot of complaints (especially from newbies) about this practice. Trust that experience breeds acceptance. While I don’t know anyone who thinks blind boxes are awesome, those who regularly collect vinyl toys relish the moments when you tear the thing open and it is exactly the one you wanted. The moral of this story? You win some. You lose some. Deal with it.
Third, who cares if you have no idea what the thing you are buying represents. This point is probably the one that is most contentious among collectors. I buy things I find fun, interesting, unique, or whatever, with little concern for the series, rarity, or some other more tangible classification. Over time you learn all of these facts and might even become interested in such things, but if you stress out about not knowing what to get, then you will never get started!
Some of my favs? So glad you asked! Right now I am super-excited about tokidoki, and I was delighted to see the IMA Shop stocking some of that.
The last piece of advice I will impart about collecting these treasures is, start small. The beauty of this genre is that it makes work by contemporary artists accessible to all of us. As you start amassing your own little toy empire you will discover increasingly cool (and sometimes more costly) things to aspire to. One of my favorite art-to-toy transitions is that of Yoshitomo Nara. One of my favorite contemporary Japanese artists, Nara has made a variety of designer toys (and other merchandise) that are not to be missed in my opinion.
So, there you have it. All the words of wisdom you need to get going. But I have also left out so much…I hope you will get motivated and find out just what I omitted. Enjoy!
Filed under: Musings