Collect3d

63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know

Posted by collect3d, January 2nd, 2010

63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know

Starting a new hobby can be difficult, and Collect3d gets that. We’ve all been there, that difficult first part where you’re still learning the names, and trying not to embarrass yourself while your new friends talk around you. To remedy this, the staff at Collect3d has put together this list of 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know, from Amanda Visell to Tristan Eaton. Brush up on these names to know, before you wind up accidentally trading away your chase Travis Cain Dunny.

Amanda Visell

c3d vinyl artists amanda visell 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
A Los Angeles-based artist and toy designer, Amanda’s collaborated on two Kidrobot Dunny series, and her own Pink Elephant and Poopicorn toys show off her Craig McCracken-esque aesthetics. Visell also gained some fame for her wooden renditions of Frank Kozik’s Labbits, which she sold in late 2009.

Andrew Bell

c3d vinyl artists andrew bell 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
British-born New Yorker Andrew Bell is primarily an illustrator, but has done customs for Kidrobot and MADL. His creative, imaginative designs have proven his ability to crossover into the 3d world, and secure his spot on this list.

Artdenka

c3d vinyl artists artdenka 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Japanese company Artdenka is a newcomer but it’s gained critical acclaim for its Skullbox toy. Made of rotocast vinyl and infinitely customizable, it’s become a huge hit with toy customers and artists alike. Though not widely available in North America yet, collectors can try hitting toy importers if luck is not on their side.

Arturo Sandoval III & Sam Borkson

c3d vinyl artists friendswithyou 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Founders of Friends With You, these two artists and designers might be better known for their plush work, but their Good Wood Gang and Wish Come True toy lines have given them hard-toy success.

Brandt Peters

c3d vinyl artists brandt peters 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Pop art-inspired work by Peters has been seen on Munnys, Mad Ls and Qees, in addition to his own beautifully grotesque pieces. Peters’s work is like a sideshow attraction, eerie to see, but strangely alluring.

Brian Donnelly aka KAWS

c3d vinyl artists kaws 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Brian Donnelly built his reputation as KAWS, a prolific social graffiti artist in New York City in the 1980s. Donnelly began working in vinyl in the late 1990s, making him one of the earliest American toy designers, breaking paradigms and staying ahead of the curve.

Brian Flynn

c3d vinyl artists brian flynn 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Founder and owner of Super7, Brian Flynn is a designer in his own right, specializing in kaiju figures, toys inspired by Japanese giant monster films. Super7 itself is one of America’s foremost retailers of Japanese kaiju toys.

Bruce Whistlescraft aka Doktor A

c3d vinyl artists doktor a 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
As his name suggests, Doktor A is one of the best steampunk designers and toy customizers active today. His original pieces are considered the best steampunk toys available, while his custom pieces push the boundaries of what’s possible with DIY toys.

Buff Monster

c3d vinyl artists buff monster 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
The mysterious Buff Monster is one of the foremost American illustrators in the Japanese style today. After a string of successful custom pieces, and contributions to various artist series, Buff Monster has now launched his own extremely popular Buff Monster series.

Bwana Spoons

c3d vinyl artists bwana spoons 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Experienced painter and toy designer Bwana Spoons cut his teeth doing customs for various one-off toy shows before being invited to design for various toy series. Now a designer in his own right, Bwana’s work carries a childlike sense of wonder that imbues his work with an innocent, almost nostalgic quality.

Craig Anthony Perkins

c3d vinyl artists craig anthony perkins 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Newcomer Perkins jumped straight into the deep end, founding GENSHI:TOY to produce and distribute his Broken Heart Robot toy. Perkins is one of the new school of toy designers who don’t require an established toy company to back their designs.

Dave Bondi

c3d vinyl artists dave bondi 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Bondi’s sculpting work has given life to some incredible toys, including Delme’s Go Lucky Neko and Luke Chueh’s Possessed. Dave’s own Akashi toy quickly sold out of its original run, validating his talent and vision.

Dave Pressler

c3d vinyl artists dave pressler 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Los Angeles-based Pressler has lent his sculpting skills to Frank Kozik, Luke Chueh and Ron English in the past, making his pedigree irreproachable. His own toys, such as the Endorphins series, Robot and Monster, and Gas Powered Dragon show a great balance between the cute and the macabre.

David Horvath & Sun-Min Kim

c3d vinyl artists uglydoll 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
This husband-and-wife team turned what was originally a new children’s toy line into the million-dollar Uglydoll plush toy empire. Outside of their Uglydoll work, Horvath creates limited edition Kaiju toys with his wife, and Kim writes Korean children’s books.

David Weeks

c3d vinyl artists david weeks 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
World renowned lighting and furniture designer David Weeks branched out into toy design as a break from his day job. With an extremely popular wooden Chiseler Dunny, Weeks can now claim collaborations with Kate Spade, W Hotels, and Kidrobot.

Derek Welch & Jason Bacon

c3d vinyl artists UNKL 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
UNKL founders Derek Welch & Jason Bacon started as graphic designers and artists, and are now toy entrepreneurs in their own right. Breaking into the scene with their HazMaPo toy series, UNKL now boasts an entire lineup of brilliant designer toys that any company would be proud to call their own.

Devilrobots

c3d vinyl artists devilrobots 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Japanese brand Devilrobots is known worldwide for its creative Tofu line of vinyl toys. With a cachet that reaches beyond its native Japan, Devilrobots has made a definite impact on the world of designer toys

Erick Scarecrow

c3d vinyl artists erick scarecrow 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Founder of ESC-TOY LTD, featured in Japanese trade magazine Hyper Hobby, and Plastic and Plush’s artist of the year, Scarecrow is one of the most prominent names in independent toy design. With a deep ties to the industry, and a keen eye for design, Erick Scarecrow and ESC-TOY is one of the best all-around designers and entrepreneurs working today.

Ferg

c3d vinyl artists ferg 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
The enigmatic American designer Ferg, is responsible for a handful of incredible designs, from Jamungo’s Squadt figures, to his PLAYGE’s Misfortune Cat. Never rushed, Ferg’s designers are well-thought-out and highly popular among collectors.

Frank Kozik

c3d vinyl artists frank kozik 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Perhaps the most influential toy designer working today, Kozik’s fame expands beyond designer toys with gallery exhibitions dedicated to his colorful pop-art and sculptures. Best known for his Labbit line with Kidrobot, Kozik isn’t just a toy designer – he’s a cultural phenomenon.

Gary Baseman

c3d vinyl artists gary baseman 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Three-time Emmy-award winning illustrator Baseman earned his fame for conceiving Disney’s critically acclaimed Teacher’s Pet television series. His toy designs are cartoonish but a stark contrast to Japanese style figures, and American urban vinyl alike, making them highly prized pieces by collectors for their aesthetics.

Heidi Kenney

c3d vinyl artists heidi kenney 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Best known for her prolific plush work, Kenney’s Yummy Donut and Yummy Breakfast series of blind boxed vinyl zipper pulls have proven to be incredibly popular. Kenney’s background in plush and unique, happy outlook on the world makes her an artist worth watching.

Itokin Park

c3d vinyl artists itokin park 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
With a design background, Park has been creating original characters in Japan since 2004. After moving into toy design in 2005, Park’s toys have steadily grown in popularity, and were the subject of an American solo show in 2009.

James Marshall aka Dalek

c3d vinyl artists dalek 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Like many of the biggest names on this list, Dalek is an artist first, and a toy designer second. His Space Monkey toy, and frequent participation in artist series however, makes him one of the most common names in the community.

Jim Woodring

c3d vinyl artists jim woodring 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
One of the most interesting designers on this list from an aesthetic point of view, Woodring has no real style that can be pinned down, no type of toy, no consistent quality. His deep background in underground comics gives his toys a fantastical dreamlike quality at times, and a cartoonish simplicity at others.

Joe Ledbetter

c3d vinyl artists joe ledbetter 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Joe Ledbetter creates highly stylized pieces that draw influence from the animal kingdom, with strong linework and bright, powerful colors. His resume speaks for itself with five Dunny series contributions, seven Qee series contributions, and a dozen designs of his own. Simply put, a Ledbetter piece is a must-have for any serious toy collection.

Jon Burgerman

c3d vinyl artists jon burgerman 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Professional doodler Jon Burgerman usually gains more renown for his prints and his work in two-dimensional work than for toy design, but his gritty, playful designs make him a fan favorite. He’s designed one toy series already, The Heroes of Burgertown, and occasionally takes the time to do customs and toy series, making him one of those artists whose proven their chops, but works rarely enough for it to be an event.

Junko Mizuno

c3d vinyl artists junko mizuno 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Japanese manga artist Junko Mizuno is one of the most popular illustrators in Japan today, unafraid to blend the grotesque with the cute. In contrast to her peers, Mizuno is unafraid to add psychadelic, colorful elements to her work, making for some spectacular toy designs.

Danny Kimanyen aka kaNO

c3d vinyl artists kano 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
A former MTV layout artist, Danny Kimanyen broadened his base with character design and animation work before moving into vinyl toys. Kimanyen’s Moneygrip and Bodega toys are standout examples of urban vinyl and should stand up well against the rest of your collection.

Luke Chueh

c3d vinyl artists luke chueh 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Chinese-American artist Luke Chueh established his fame as an illustrator, famous for his macabre bear drawings. For his many fans, it’s great news that he teamed up with sculptor Dave Bondi to bring his work to life. Channeling the frustration of growing up Chinese-American into his toys and paintings, a Chueh piece is considered a must-have among the LA-art crowd.

Matt Jones aka Lunartik

c3d vinyl artists lunartik 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
One of the United Kingdom’s new generation of toy designers, Lunartik built his reputation through his top quality customs. In 2009, he independently released Lunartik in A Cup Of Tea, a quintessentially British toy that successfully combines design with the DIY work ethic.

Jeremy Madl aka MAD

c3d vinyl artists madl 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Jeremy Madl somehow managed to acquire a BFA in Toy Design, making him the envy of other fine arts majors, as well as perfectly ready to found Mad Toy Design. His Madl toy first appeared in 2004 and has exploded in popularity. The customization potential in the simple design has attracted artists such as Frank Kozik, Sket One and Tado.

Mark Gee aka Huck Gee

c3d vinyl artists huck gee 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Former b-boy, former graffiti artist, and former graphic designer Mark Gee now makes his way as illustrator and toy designer. Gee has produced dozens of customs and collaborations with Kidrobot, Toy2R, MAD, and many others. While he’s only designed four toys himself, his Bootleg blind box sold out online in 12 seconds – a testament to his popularity and talent.

MCA

c3d vinyl artists mca 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
A former street artist and graphic designer, MCA has worked extensively with Toy2R recently, producing many collaborations. Among these include dozens of Qee customs, and the Evil Ape toy, along with its variants.

Mist

c3d vinyl artists mist2 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
A veteran of the Paris graffiti scene, Mist earned a degree in design in the early 90s, then worked as a toy sculptor in the early 1990s. So when the designer toy phenomenon hit, Mist was a few steps ahead of the curve. Working with MedicomToy on Kubricks as early as 2002, Mist is one of the foremost French toy designers, being recognized with his own blindbox series by Kidrobot in 2008.

Mori Chack

c3d vinyl artists mori chack 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
One of Japan’s hottest exports right now, Mori Chack’s work is seen far and wide, from comic book store shelves, to the CW’s Gossip Girl. Chack has turned Gloomy Bear into an entire franchise, with a wide range of merchandise celebrating the violent, pink bear.

Jerry, Gobi & Bill of Muttpop

c3d vinyl artists muttpop 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
The three cofounders of Muttpop, Jerry, Gobi and Bill, got their start working at Humanoids Publishing in Los Angeles, years ago. Going it on their own, Muttpop was originally formed to create vinyl toys to go with Jerry and Bill’s Luchadores5 comic.

Tony Shiau aka Nakanari

c3d vinyl artists nakanari 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
The founder of Mai Hiro, and a respected artist in his own right, Tony Shiau has worked for a variety of companies on one-off event custom toys, before moving into toy design. American fans can pick his Ninja Spiki toy up from Urban Outfitters, showing his broad appeal.

Nathan Jurevicius

c3d vinyl artists nathan jurevicius 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Toronto-based, Australian-born Nathan Jurevicius is best known for his Scary Girl comics, but his recognizable Tartakovskian style makes for some of the most unique, fantastical toys on the market today.

Nick & Candy, aka Noferin

c3d vinyl artists noferin 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Husband and wife team, Noferin meshes classic wooden toy design with modern designer toy sensibilities. Creating a whimsical world on the fictional Carrara Island, Noferin brings new innovation to the toy world with its blindboxed wooden toys.

Paul Budnitz

c3d vinyl artists paul budnitz 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Founder of Kidrobot and codesigner of some of its most important designs, Budnitz has had his fingerprints on America’s designer toy culture since Kidrobot’s inception in 2002. Though Budnitz has only designed one toy line since co-creating the Dunny and Munny figures, his lasting influence makes him one of the most prominent figures in toy design.

Pete Fowler

c3d vinyl artists pete fowler 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Fowler’s prolific Monsterism series of vinyl toys has given him acclaim within the designer toy community. With Monsterism entering its fifth full series, and collaborations with The Magic Numbers and the Mighty Boosh, Fowler shows no signs of stopping now.

Rolito

c3d vinyl artists rolito 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Rolito may be the most enigmatic figure on this list, but his visibility may be the highest. Rolito’s minimal designs were used as the basis for the bestselling PSP game Patapon. On the vinyl front, Rolito has completed two Qee collaborations with Toy2r, and four Rolito designer toys.

Ron English

c3d vinyl artists ron english 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
English is one of the those rare artists who doesn’t expend any extra effort to make his works subversive – his mind’s just wired to make biting critical observations of society. We toy collectors are just lucky that he takes his criticisms and makes them into toys.

Shane Jessup

Shane Jessup 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Shane Jessup’s catalog of designed toys is not as varied or deep as some others, but he’s contributed to several Kidrobot shows, and done some popular custom work. His first toy series, Things That Hurt, sold out and anticipation always rides high on any toy series he contributes to.

Sket One

c3d vinyl artists sket one 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Graffiti artist Sket One built his reputation as a street artist in the 1980s, and has moved on from tagging buildings to tagging Dunnys and other custom toys. Sket One has produced more custom pieces than nearly everyone on this list, and has two series of his own under his belt.

Steven Lee & Raymond Choy

c3d vinyl artists steven lee 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Head and shoulders above many other designers, Lee & Choy spawned the very first Qee. The gateway toy for the worldwide designer toy phenomenon, the Qee set the groundwork for the Be@rbrick, the Dunny and the many toys on your shelves today.

Morgan Phillips aka SUCKLORD

c3d vinyl artists sucklord 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
What do we really know about SUCKLORD? Not much, apart from a name. The mysterious figure responsible for Suckadelic and the extremely popular GAY EMPIRE toys is a living exercise in satire, turning pop culture icons on their head and creating toys that don’t fit into any established category.

Superdeux

c3d vinyl artists superdeux 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
French design duo Superdeux has crafted some of the most exciting toys coming out of France today. With a popular Stereotypes toy series, and contributing to shows for both Tristan Eaton and Kidrobot, Superdeux is one name from Europe that you should be taking note of.

Mike & Katie of TADO

c3d vinyl artists tado 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
TADO is one of Britain’s hottest design duos active today, with collaborations with Kidrobot and their own Cannibal Funfair toy line under their belt. To see TADO in action, check out the video of the opening of the Kidrobot x Selfridges pop-up shop in London, where TADO did a live painting of a giant Dunny.

Tara McPherson

c3d vinyl artists tara mcpherson 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Somewhere between macabre and bizarrely cute lies Tara McPherson’s work, alarmingly insightful paintings and toys that have a soft pastel aesthetic that feature an impossible, exciting style that’s truly like nothing else out there. She’s done the usual toy series contributions, and but it’s her toysfor Kidrobot that have garnered the most attention.

Tesselate

c3d vinyl artists tesselate 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
One of Britain’s newest toy designers, Tesselate produced the Hearthead, Smile Crew and Oakor toys himself, without the help of a major studio. Documenting the process for other would-be-toymakers on his website, Tesselate is bringing real DIY ethic to the toy community.

Tim Biskup

c3d vinyl artists tim biskup 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Tim Biskup’s background as an animator is obvious at once, with a modern cartoony style, drawing influences from Tartakovsky and McCracken. The result is toy designs that are simple, yet surreal, drawing fans from all over to his toy work.

Simone Legno

c3d vinyl artists tokidoki 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Founder and creative force behind Italy’s tokidoki, Legno is one of the most popular and most widely seen toy designers in the world. Bringing the Japanese-cute aesthetic to the masses, tokidoki designs are seen everywhere from designer handbags to his own lines of clothes, toys and skateboards.

Touma

c3d vinyl artists touma 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Perhaps the single most prolific toy designer in the world, Touma isn’t a businessman so much as he is a business, man. His resume can boast dozens of collaborations with companies like Toy2R, MedicomToy and Kidrobot, making him one of the most sought-after designers in the world.

Travis Cain

c3d vinyl artists travis cain 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
His work isn’t especially prolific, but the unique view he takes of the world is unmatched in the American toy community. Only Mori Chack uses a similar world view in his work. Cain’s popular BFF mini series was released through Kidrobot in 2009 and sold out quickly, with anticipation now riding high for a follow up collection.

Tristan Eaton

c3d vinyl artists tristan eaton 63 Vinyl Artists You Should Know
Former street artist Tristan Eaton would have been another forgotten tagger and graphic designer, had he not teamed up with Paul Budnitz during Kidrobot’s early days. Two basic designs that Eaton sketched out eventually turned into the Munny and Dunny. Today, Eaton heads up Thunderdog Studios, his own studio and toy company, while still occasionally collaborating with Kidrobot.


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Comments (16)

  1. Pixiome says:

    Lovely Bruce Whistlescraft aka Doktor A !!

  2. Grom says:

    Great post. You could have added many mores designers, but the big one missing is Flying Fortress.

  3. Gust says:

    Hey! nice post, I think Jeremyville deserves to be in this list, great artist

  4. collect3d says:

    Thanks for all the suggestions! Keep it up so we can continue to spread the word on these great artists.

  5. I’d have to add Michael Lau, Eric So and James Jarvis to that list. True vinyl pioneers.

  6. mono says:

    FWIW I would add – Peskimo (Bamboo Zoo), Patrick York Ma (I.W.G.), and Ashley Wood (3A).

  7. Hey!
    I don’t mind you using my pictures, but please credit me and link to the site. The Mr. Shane Jessup Things that Hurt is ours.
    Thanks,
    Olivier

  8. manu says:

    WHAT!!! not DGPH on the list?? come on kid robot!!!…check them at:

    http://www.dgph.com.ar/

  9. UnRel says:

    good list.. but don’t sleep on Kathie Olivas.. Sam Flores.. and Yoskay Yamamoto..

  10. Hopefully “Candy The Magic Dinosaur” will be a character that could be part of the vinyl toy culture :]

    Nice list ;]

  11. Did you actually erase the comment saying I requested you credit me for my picture?

  12. collect3d says:

    Hey, sorry about that, we didn’t delete your comment, it just hadn’t been approved until now. We’ve changed the image, so their shouldn’t be any issues, thanks for your comments!

  13. Maya says:

    Glad to see toy artists getting seen! We have a custom vinyl toy show starting May 11th if you’re interested in seeing some work in person, should be awesome!

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