The collector: Daniel Perry, studio manager for a graphic design agency, Hertfordshire, UK.
The collection: Designer Toys, Art Toys, Urban Vinyl, whatever the current buzz word is.
The story behind the collection...
In 1999 I was browsing Forbidden Planet for the Horror Movie tie in Action Figures which I was casually collecting at the time when I came across the Urban Vinyl section of the store. I didn’t know much about the scene, artists or manufacturers, but had seen images in various magazines at the time. I decided to grab a few that I really liked the look of. It wasn’t long before I changed what I was collecting, and gravitated to the toys of Toy2r, in particular the Qee. I picked up more and more Qee over the years from online stores like the now defunct Qeester, and UK based stores like dinkybox. It wasn’t until very recently (only a couple of years ago), that I became completely obsessed, and my collection has grown from a few hundred pieces, to well over a 1,000. I have also started to collect designer toys in general, as opposed to just those by Toy2r.
There are so many reasons for my obsession. I suppose it's in my family to an extent, my Father collects die cast Model-T Fords, and has cabinets all over his house full of them. For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed collecting anything where there is a set to try and complete. I guess the lure of finding that very rare chase figure is a big appeal. I have always been a big fan of more modern/current forms of art, be it graffiti, low-brow or comic book art, and these toys are often designed by amazing artists from those scenes. There is also a strong community feeling between the fans and collectors of designer toys, and all the people you meet are fantastic, friendly, genuine people. Going to a gallery or launch event, is always a great time, and a good excuse for a party.
I have been collecting for over 12 years casually, but intensely for the last 2. I have well over 1000 toys, probably more in the region of 1250 now, but I really need to have a good count up. I display them in cabinets (14 at last count) all round my large open plan living room, but I seem to outgrow these cabinets as quickly as I buy them. I always have boxes of stuff all over the floor waiting to be displayed. Sorting out the collection can be a weekend long event. I love to keep everything displayed by platform or artist wherever possible.
My favourites change from month to month. I think the 2 Jeremy Fish pieces I have, the Bunnyvan and Turtlecamper are amazing, and not easy to come by for a reasonable price. I also love my Sam Flores Kid Dragon which I stumbled upon at Upper Playground in London. The Buff Monster Destroyers are some of my current favourites. The KAWS Twins I have are also rather special. I could go on about my favourites for hours.
I’d love to come across a complete set of Buff Monster Series 1. Or a Sam Flores Tiger Baby. And of course I’m always trying to collect all of the 2.5” Qee, but with more than 2,000 out there, I’m only nearly half way to achieving that.
Besides vinyl toys, I also collect a lot of music, and have large CD collections of various artists, Depeche Mode, Placebo, Unkle, Nine Inch Nails to name but a few.
My collection is most definitely out of control and I do consider myself 'obsessed'. I’m going to need a bigger house before long, if I carry on collecting at this speed. I probably should be spending the money on something more sensible, but wheres the fun in that!
Daniel's links and recommendations
There are many amazing websites devoted to designer toys, some worth checking out are: Rotocasted, Hello Vinyl, Spanky Stokes, Toysrevil. Some great online stores include: Rotofugi, Artoyz, and Dinky Box.
Images © Daniel Perry and used with his kind permission.