The collector: Dan Goodsell, artist, Los Angeles, USA.
The collection: Old kids food packaging from the 1950's-1970's. Cereal boxes, cookies boxes, drink mix packages, etc. Anything food related that was marketed to kids.
The story behind the collection...
As a kid I drank a lot of Funny Face drink mix. I was fascinated by the characters on the packages and in the commercials, Goofy Grape, Choo Choo Cherry, etc. Years later I remembered how much I loved the stuff and went looking for it. The brand had stopped production so the only way I could find info on it was by digging through old newspapers for ads and going to the flea market looking for the premiums they offered in the 1970's. Eventually through the collecting world, I was able to find some old packages. While doing this I began to remember all the other cool products I loved as a kid and started to look for them.
I just really love the design of old packaging. The combination of fun art with great design in the 1960's is amazing. I have been collecting for 20+ years and I probably have 5000 items. In addition to packages, I have ads, signs, premiums, artwork. It basically fills a room.
My collection sort of led me to what I do in life. I became an artist to explore the ideas and images that so inspired me as a kid. I like to think I am trying to bring a similar experience to kids today.
Most of my collection is in boxes. Much of it is catagorized, so if I want to look at things, I just go to the box and dig through it. As a lifelong comic collector, I treat my collection as something to be explored and then returned to box.
I have had many memorable finds. I still remember finding a Goofy Grape button at the flea market and being thrilled. I also remember flying to New York to buy a collection of cereal boxes and having a hard time absorbing what I was looking at while digging through the piles. Every find is a thrill.
I am still looking for a Sour Bites candy package. They were little Sweetart like hard candies. I loved them as a kid and still have not turned one up. I also collect comics, comic art, illustration art, lowbrow art, outerspace toys, Dr Seuss toys, dinosaur figurines and any kind of cool paper.
I don't think my collection is out of control but there is a level of obsession involved. Obsession is an important part of serious collecting. Even with all the money in the world, you have to put in time and energy to track stuff down to put together a comprehensive collection even in the world of today with eBay and other online sources.
To see more of my stuff you can visit my website or check out the book I did with Steve Roden, "Krazy Kids Food". It was published by Taschen. It is out of print at the moment but used copies are still readily available.
Images © Dan Goodsell and used with his kind permission.