There's a movement under foot. It's a blend of art and toys and it's struck a chord with toy collectors and art lovers alike. It's Urban Vinyl and this is a brief history for those who'd like to learn a little more about this art movement in the making.
First, to understand Urban Vinyl, one must throw aside their conventional ideas of what makes a great toy. Sure, design of the piece plays a big part in the making of both. But the big difference is that Urban Vinyl is original from the start. This is true art, not a replication of another form. For example, more than likely, you base how much you like your Gonzo action figure on how much it looks like the actual Gonzo. In order to appreciate Urban Vinyl you enjoy it for what it is. There are no preconceived notions because what the piece is; is all it is, man. Also, things like articulation aren't as important because the Vinyl isn't always made to be played with. Yes, I know you play with your Skeletor. We all do. [Ed note: Shake it more than twice and you're playing with it.] But Urban Vinyl is created with art sensibilities in mind, so sculpt and design are the most important ingredients. Now I'm not saying that people like the Four Horsemen aren't amazing craftsmen. They are. But what they are doing is giving us their take on an already designed character. This is original to a point, but Urban Vinyl is original all the way to its core.
So how did the plastic move from the pegs to the pedestals? It all starts in Hong Kong with a man named Michael Lau. It was the late nineties and Lau was showing paintings in galleries and working in advertising. He was employed by a music group named Anidoze to create the cover art for an upcoming album. Instead of a 2-D design he created an original action figure and photographed it. He had been making original figures for a while for friends and family, and decided to create one for the cover, showing a broader audience his style. It received a very warm response and...
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