MOAH’s “The Art of Toys” Celebrates 20 Years of Contemporary Toy Design

by CaroPosted on

Photos by Mik Luxon

This last Friday, the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, California (MOAH) celebrated over twenty years of toy art with their retrospective exhibition, “The Art of Toys”. The exhibit is the first of its kind for the west coast, featuring some of the movement’s most memorable pieces by artists and their manufacturers. The first modern designer toys hit the market in the 1990s, with many of their creators originating in the Lowbrow, New Contemporary, and even graffiti scenes. Recognizing the potential for the collectibility of their characters, participating artists like Tim Biskup, Mark Ryden, Nathan Jurevicius, and even Hi-Fructose’s own Attaboy, began marketing their designs to collectors as limited editions. Their toys’ popularity gave rise to their creative partners, from the photographers of their work like Brian McCarty, and producers like Medicom, Kidrobot and the Loyal Subjects to name a few. Their success has also set a precedent for major companies like Hasbro and Disney to expand on their own toy universes, by adding more detail and uniqueness to their characters than mass market toy production can provide. Today, they can be found in the permanent collections of art museums and major retailers all over the world, with rarer designs selling for thousands of dollars. Through September 6th, they can also be found at MOAH alongside the artist’s original artworks that provided the inspiration for their toys, as well as mural art and ongoing panel discussions. Visitors to “The Art of Toys”, as the exhibit sets out to demonstrate, will discover that urban toys are more than collectible figures for cool adults – they are extensions of a growing modern art movement that continues to push the boundaries in style and medium.

Left to right: Biddies creator & music video director Roy Miles, Designer and Hi-Fructose Magazine Co-Founder Attaboy, and Photographer Brian McCarty.

Sam Flores

Participating artist Luke Chueh, known for his bear characters, strikes a “bear face.”

David Flores

David Flores

Yoskay Yamamoto

Amanda Visell

Cameron Tiede


Hi-Fructose Co-Founder and participating artist Attaboy with his artwork on opening night.


Chris Ryniak

“Shake your bobble butt!”

Tim Biskup

Dude box sculpture, hand-painted custom, by Attaboy.

Dave Pressler

Artist Eric Joyner with his artwork and toy art re-interprepration on opening night.

Camille Rose Garcia

Left to right: Artwork and toys by Buff Monster and Anthony Ausgang.

Anthony Ausgang

Left to right: Artist Jesse Hernandez with Munky King Founder, Patrick Lam.

Jesse Hernandez

Tony Millionaire


Tim Burton

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