Toyism is a movement in Art started in The Netherlands in 1992.
“Toyism Philosophy, known as Toyismolophy is a style or direction in art that does not arise from one day to another, but often evolves as a compliment or reaction to other styles.”
Dejo, Artist and Founder of the Toyism Movement
All Images in this article © 2015 Dejo, http://toyisten.exto.org/
Text by Dejo, Founder of the Toyism Movement.
In addition, the notions of different cultures or a combination thereof generate various ideas and ideologies that can lead to a particular movement. The ego era in which we have lived for quite some time now was for me one of the major reasons to take a different course.
Emergence: The name Toyism was created in 1990 when I made a graphic composition with the title “Escape of the Computer Spiders”. This graphic work consists of a powerful play of lines that merge into areas which on the one hand are standalone but on the other hand lead to entirely new forms. A playful display of colors and the combination of figurative and abstract forms forces the viewer to embark on a quest within the labyrinth of lines and colours. Large computers transform into spiders and are in search of reality.
This and several similar works that followed were the origin of the Toyism style in the early nineties. But it took another two years, with even the game Super Mario playing a role, before the blend of characteristics and its symbolism radiated enough strength and energy to be described in a manifesto. That occurred on 5 September 1992, literally underground in a converted windowless cellar in the center of Emmen.
Written with an old-fashioned pen, Toyism and its notions of colour, form and technique officially saw the light of day. A secret manifesto of not more than a few A4s, legally authenticated, formed the basis of what was to become a new style in art.
The Toyism style can be divided into two periods. Periods, which both artistically and personally differ greatly; the first period lasted about 7 years (1992-2000), and the second period is from 2002 up to the present.
The first period can most easily be described as a trio that often operated and functioned as a duo. Exhibitions were centrally organised from the private gallery in Emmen. The figurative paintings were simplistic in design, in surrealistic themes, and often painted in lively and bright colours.
An important element in this period was the recurrence of a fixed ‘logo’ (computer, space shuttle, teddy bear) in each painting. This recurring ‘logo’, which I later considered a limitation, is in fact one of the reasons that the style became recognizable. In a playful manner the logo was included in the theme; pole-vaulting space shuttles, or computers producing fried eggs. Everything was possible. On the other hand, some of the paintings were often referred to as childish. A statement that was not shared by us at the time, but in hindsight appears to have a considerable basis of truth. After all, teddy bears are indeed a pretty common sight in nurseries and children’s rooms.
For me personally, the first years have been important for the development of the style in order to reach the next level. The foundation had been laid but the style was still in the early stages and needed much more development. That development did occur, but only later with the arrival of new artists. Philosophy 2001 was a transitional year. Toyism as a group of three no longer existed. It was over and done with. Goals for the future were contradictory and views on growth and development were no longer shared. Each went his own way. It was time for reflection.
For me as the spiritual father of Toyism I held fast to this style and felt that what had transpired could lead to new insights and opportunities. I went on a trip through Asia and rewrote a number of points in the manifesto giving Toyism a new vision.
Dejo, Founder of the Toyism Movement.
We have reached 2002. The highly egocentric character that is deeply rooted in the arts became the basis for another ideology; the individual would play second fiddle to the group without sacrificing on the personal level or in quality. As the sole remaining advocate of Toyism I went in search of new sympathizers, much like I did in 1992; a mixed group of professional artists from around the world with diverse cultural backgrounds and working in various disciplines, who can influence and enrich the style and, more importantly, who put the art in the forefront and not themselves.
As an artist you have the privilege to tell your own story and depict it, and you are in the position to do so. That gives you a feeling of freedom.
If you are able to combine this freedom with other soul mates a bond is created, an intrinsic magic that benefits and inspires each other. This was among other things the basis for the current Toyism.
Dejo, Founder of the Toyism Movement.
A strong cooperation between people who can dissociate themselves from the ego that has too deeply penetrated our society. This is also the reason why all the current Toyist artists paint under a pseudonym: they appear anonymous, yet form part of the Toyism as a whole and collectively represent it. New Impetus The current Toyism consists of a close-knit and talented group of artists with different backgrounds but at the same time with like-minded views of how to experience this art and inspire each other.
What makes Toyism so interesting is that each artist, no matter what their background or belief, can express themselves in this style without losing their own value or feeling. Whether his/her interest is painting, carving, clothing and jewelry design, drawing or office decoration, everyone retains their own character, and the different themes rought forward give new insights and thereby strengthen the common ideas.
The language of Toyism tells us how you can reflect and interpret feelings and emotions with lines and dots, and how you can use colours and forms to express the story. Post 2000 Toyistic art shows a strong sense of more than just the global issues that affect our times, it also reflects the pleasure that we have in life.
From ecology and environmental pollution to our love for the Earth and the animals… Of wars, and yet the hope for world peace… From the inner, individual struggle to the quest for self-improvement. Toyism is more than ever an art style with a message. Stories are revealed by means of symbols, bright colours and extremely precise details.
The work of the Toyists focuses strongly on the observer, with whom they wish to establish an interaction by the awareness of communal, social or psychological mechanisms. In the border area between fantasy and reality a play on stories and images is created, which encourages a further journey of discovery.
Extensive Project The Dot in Emmen (known as ‘De Stip’), a former 22 meter high gasholder with a surface area of 1250m2, has brought the current Toyist group even closer to each other. The painting of the gas holder into a work of art with the theme ‘Living with Energy’, began on 27 July 2009 and has taken no fewer than 8 months. In total, 6000 hours of work went into this transformation. This demanded much from the artists, both personally and businesswise. We were with each other almost 24/7 and together we have shared and learned. This large-scale project has been accomplished in cooperation with the ‘Living Industry’ foundation, the municipality of Emmen, and various sponsors.
The language of Toyism tells us how you can reflect and interpret feelings and emotions with lines and dots
After the festive uncovering ceremony of 4 June 2010, ‘The Dot’ was handed over thereby making the way free for new plans and challenges in and around ‘The Dot’. Puppets and Masks We do not show our faces to the world, it’s all about the art. That’s not just a gimmick, but our philosophy. It’s not about us, but about what we create: THE MANIFESTO The manifesto I wrote in 1992 is secret!!! Only available for the toyists.
Life is a process, we all experience a different phase in that process. Communication, understanding and learning about each other by accepting other cultures without rejecting them, is very important. In time we like to make a small contribution to that. I hope the world of Toyism is a bit more clear to you now.
If you are looking for a topic, please let us know. We have an exhibition this year – Koelsch Gallery – Houston, opening reception sept. 29 2011 (exhibition – till 29 oct.)We do not show our faces to the world, it’s all about the art. That’s not just a gimmick, but our philosophy. It’s not about us, but about what we create:
The manifesto I wrote in 1992 is secret!!! Only available for the toyists. Life is a process, we all experience a different phase in that process. Communication, understanding and learning about each other by accepting other cultures without rejecting them, is very important. In time we like to make a small contribution to that.
I hope the world of Toyism is a bit more clear to you now. If you are looking for a topic, please let us know. We have an exhibition this year –
Koelsch Gallery – Houston
opening reception sept. 29 2011 (exhibition – till 29 oct.)