TOYISM ART MOVEMENT
Just like the Cobra movement formed at the end of the 1940s, the toyism art movement seeks to plug into the experiences of children, while indirectly also appealing to all adults.
Toyism is a contemporary art movement that originated in the 1990s in Emmen, The Netherlands. The word symbolises the playful character of the artworks and the philosophy behind it. The suffix ‘ism’ refers to motion or movements that exist in both the world of art and religion. Nevertheless, the game of toyism is a serious matter that shows a new, critical and sensitive perspective on our present-day world.
Toyism as art movement is a reaction on the post-modern world of individualism, which existed in the 1970s through the 1990s, the era in which “everything is allowed”.
On September the 5th 1992 artist Dejo (pseudonym) writes a manifest called Mother and introduces toyism to the audience. The highly egocentric character that is deeply rooted in the arts becomes the basis for another ideology; the individual would play second fiddle to the group without sacrificing on the personal level or in quality.
The current toyism is 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, importantly, who put the art in the forefront and not themselves.
A new type of artist surfaced during the nineties of the past century. Artists were expected not only to exploit artistic talents but also to act as entrepreneurs. Toyism was introduced by the artist Dejo, originally from the Netherlands. He quickly grasped that the best guarantee for successful artistry consisted of a combination of those two elements. In the past, an artist primarily achieved results with materials science, artisanal skills, knowledge of art history, an original style, approach, and visual language. Today, the success factor is also determined by competencies that are difficult to measure, such as organisational talent, commercial insight, inventing effective business structures, the ability to assess the value of one’s own attitude and to achieve a good return on that attitude, and to have the courage to continually begin new projects without knowing their outcome.
Artists are confronted with coincidences and uncertainties on a daily basis. They do not need analytical models, market research or statistics in order to function properly. Nevertheless, they must in fact acquire the mentality of an entrepreneur. This seems to be an impossible balancing act. Yet, with toyism, the toyists prove that it is possible. A manifest is an excellent tool for ensuring that everyone is focused on the same direction. It eliminates the need for difficult discussions and pernicious differences of opinion. Nonetheless, toyism encompasses without a doubt the cultural background and contribution of each individual artist. This causes the style to steadily evolve and grow.
All over the World
Today the movement consists of 20 artists. Their pseudonyms begin with a letter they selected from the alphabet. None of the pseudonyms can share the same letter, unless a toyist has left the group and the letter has become available. This limits the number of toyists to 26. The once-only use of the 26 letters is also a nod to the number 13 (26 = 2 x 13), which possesses a specific significance within the movement. The toyists, consisting of men as well as women, originate from all over the world: USA, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, Romania, Iceland, and the Netherlands.
Author: Wim van der Beek