INTERVIEW: URBAN VINYL DAILY
What makes your site different than all the others out there?
The site itself I don’t think is anything different than what anyone can use since our themes and such are pre-structured. But what I think differentiates the content on our blog from other’s is the fact that we make an honest attempt to represent everyone. He openly ask for user submissions for custom pieces to be shown, and just try to give people their “shine”. Being that we are just now having a 1 year anniversary, we are sometimes looked over as far as breaking news that goes to other outlets. But what I think we were going to say on the “Suckathon”, but just couldn’t spit out is that the Midwest is an entirely different area coverage wise than the 2 coasts. Both coasts are lined with galleries where artists can showcase and network. But in the Midwest, things are fewer and further between as far as opportunities go to showcase. I think that is the niche we try to fill. We try to cover the people in the Midwest (in addition to both coasts and anywhere in between) and help them get noticed and have opportunities come their way in order to gain a larger audience. I think as a blog, we are still in “hungry” mode where we are still grinding to get noticed and continuing to try to actively search for the artists that catch our attention regionally and are grinding away too to try to get noticed. (As a side note: I bet many didn’t know that here in Cincinnati used to be a thriving graffiti scene. There are still many of those artists that live here that go unnoticed.) I think that is how we are different, in addition to the fact that we are on our second hosted custom show, where some don’t even have one show, along with the fact that I think we try to put our faces with the blog and be more accessible to the random person who finds us. They can read an article and click on our name at the end and connect a face with the author.
Why do you guys do what you do?
B: I think we do what we do because we like what we do. No sense in doing something boring. I think for me, it is the challenge of meeting new people and networking that keeps me going. Meeting new people is kind of an adventure of sorts. You see them from a far through their work, and eventually you get the know the artist as a person and see what drives their work.
T: I do this because it is purely fun. I love art and toys and I love learning more about the scene. I have also met a lot of interesting people that helped with this blog along the way. It has been awesome!
How long have you been collecting vinyl toys and figurines?
B: I think I am on year #3 for my collecting Kidrobot and other associated brands. But otherwise I have OG ninja turtles that I don’t know if those count as vinyl toys or not.
T: While I have been collecting only been collecting vinyl toys for about three years I have always loved toys. I had a crazy amount of TMNT, Power Rangers, Star Wars, Legos and many others toys as a child.
What was your very first vinyl toy in your collection, and what kinds/brands of toys do you collect now?
B: My memory is kind of hazy on what my first vinyl toy was. I’d have to say either a random dunny from Ye Olde English, or a 64 Colors Marshall figure. As far as right now, the collection is predominantly Kidrobot, which is inclusive from Huck Gee to MAD to Kozik to Amanda Visell to Sket One. Other than that, I have a lot of Scott Tolleson, Nathan Hamill, Cardboard Spaceship (Scribe), Lunartik, THARP, valleydweller, Hey Cavey, Gary Ham, 64 Colors and MADL. Though I would also like to get a few Kaiju/Super 7/greasebat pieces, it is just a matter of someone introducing me to a good figure that serves as a starting point in that realm.
T: The first vinyl toy I ever purchased was a blind box Dunny from the 2009 series. I pulled the pink Gloomy bear from the series. Now my collection features a wide variety of brands across the scene with a high concentration of Buff Monster toys that span his career. I tend to focus on artist now instead of the toys or brand. I tend to buy toys by particular artists not just toys from a company or platform.
Which do you prefer… Tea or Coffee?
B: Coffee. 2 cups a day.
Who would you like to interview if you could bring back the dead?
B: Nikola Tesla. Most underrated scientist.
T: John F. Kennedy
Where do babies come from?
B: Vending machines. The more money you put in, the better the kid you get.
T: Drinking too much tap water.
What type of impact and impression do you want UVD to leave with/on the toy and art community over the next year?
We feel that the immediate impact that I would like to have is to show anyone that yearns to make a blog about toys to do it. We are proof that 2 guys with a little extra time and money can get it going. But as far as impact over the next year, I would like to think that we help to shape the impact that Midwest artists have in the scene. There are several artists on the cusp of breaking, and just need to grind a little more. And maybe with any success show that art galleries in the Midwest can compete with those on the coasts since there is a hotbed of artists that are making some noise nationally, and will soon attract attention of folks to come visit the gallery where they show.
If you could abolish one vinyl platform from its existence, what platform would it be and why?
B: Honestly, I would say the dunny, but that is kind of a moot statement to make. I thought about the answer for a while but decided on the dunny since I kind of just want to see a different platform come to the forefront. And even the dunny or the munny or any platform across the board doesn’t really stand alone on its own merit. It is each artist that kind of breaths life in to a platform. I think it’s all about what you do with the space that you are given on the figure. Artists recently have seemed to really step forward and maximize the space on the dunny and make it work. In the past it was all about fitting the design to the figure and not the figure to the design. But I think the community is doing a good job keeping the Dunny/Munny honest since so many people are designing their own figure on their own platform, that it really is not an old platform that is kind of fading in to obsolescence.
T: I don’t think I would do away with a platform I just feel that many of the production companies really need to look at the designs they let go to production. Many of the designs that come out today are pretty weak. Putting out 20 figures in a series is great but if only five of the figures are worth having then it is a fail in my book.
What was the first toy you remember playing with?
B: I think the first toy I remember playing with was one of those Fisher Price record players that played the plastic records. It was either that one of those push mowers that had the bells and balls in it that you could pretend to push around.
T: I use to love the Fisher Price Magna Doodle. I used to play with that for hours lol
What spurred you to start Urban Vinyl Daily?
It was all about the fact that we were already collecting figures and were researching the artists we were buying to know what they were coming out with and had come out with, that is was kind of the next step to just kind of make it a public hobby, and see where we went with it.
Do you collect anything besides toys and if so, what?
B: Other than the designer figures, I have a lot of baseball related memorabilia and bobbleheads. I have a couple guitars I have picked up over the years, but that is more along hoarding. I like to collect vinyl records (yes I am barely old enough to know about them) and listen to them on occasion. I also have kind of a random coin collection. I like the way foreign coins look. I also have just random older American coins, since I think the designs are really neat and kind of tells a story about the country 100 or 200 years ago.
T: Well the big things I collect other than toys are, music and shoes. I have so much music it is ridiculous and about 30 pairs of shoes.
Over the past year, what’s been the biggest difficulty you’ve faced in regards to being able to cover the vinyl scene?
The biggest obstacle we had to get over was the “who the hell are you?” hurdle. Admittedly, the scene was very welcoming to us, and a lot of artists helped us out, but it was the initial stage of trying to contact people with questions and just we would get put on the bottom of the priority list. Also, another big hurdle is that being from the Midwest and running this, we don’t really have a “face” in the community since we couldn’t network gallery opening of “blah blah” in Los Angeles, or attend the meet and greet of “XX” in New York. So I think that was another difficulty, but after having our own custom show and getting encouragement from those that knew us, and getting to actually meeting people at DCON, that we are gaining some more traction in the scene.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in starting their own blog?
Admittedly, this advice isn’t that magical or ground breaking, but stay hungry. Someone who is hungry won’t stop consuming until they are full. Absorb as much as you can about the subject as you want to can handle. Also, don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon and talk to artists in the scene that are revered as “walking on water”, since they are people too and know what is it like to just be starting out and needing to be on the daily grind. Also, be patient. Not only with trying to contact people you want an answer from, but also your endeavor. Let it grow and blossom, since trying to force something is just going to end up frustrating you and probably crashing and burning.
What will be the next trend in collector toys?
B: I think the next trend is going to be the grass roots D.I.Y. trend. Customs have always been popular and unique, but I think unique platform figures are going to take off since it is a natural way for artists/companies to progress and grow. Plus, it provides a good diversity in the scene where it decreases two artists’ efforts from blending stepping on each other. It also provides people the opportunity to not only just paint and customize, but also to design a figure and gain that business sense of making a brand new figure.
T: Right now I have to agree with Ben I think custom series are what’s going to be big next. As we all know a lot of times big customs are hard to sell. But, these 3” and 4” figures seem to be selling pretty well from what I see. I think many artists will start making maybe 50 or so figures and then sell them Blind Boxed.
What was your guys personal favorite releases of 2011?
B: I think my favorite release on the year was Dunny 2011, since I feel like it was the first time Kidrobot hadn’t disappointed me greatly with a dunny release. With moving to the new factory, the quality just seemed better, and the fact that they took more chances and designed different heads for the figures instead of cramming a design on to a rabbit head and leaving it at that. And from there it seems like products have gotten better (barring the cartoon series figures that seemed flat), and more ideas are going in to the figures that are being released.
T: My favorite release of 2011 was 64 Colors Gumdrop! Ever since I started collecting Marshalls I had wished that I had a Gumdrop to sit with them. And thanks to 2011 I do!
Thank you to all the artists that sent questions to us, and all those that support us.