Urban Vinyl: Daniel on his collection and how it began

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Daniel with his collection
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Daniel with his collection

Before we spoke to Daniel, we weren't sure what to expect. We knew from what we'd seen him selling that he's very serious about Urban Vinyl (also known as Designer Vinyl) and that he describes himself as 'obsessed' with it. The word obsession is something that is usually perceived in a negative light but, when we speak to him, we find someone likable, knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about something that is such a great part of his life.

Daniel, from Hertfordshire in the UK, has been building his Urban Vinyl  collection for over 12 years and has now reached 1,250 items. We grabbed a few minutes asking him about how he came to create his personal collection. 
CoarseToys - Outburst - Loop Glare
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CoarseToys - Outburst - Loop Glare

How did it start?

In 2004 I was browsing Forbidden Planet for the Horror Movie tie in Action Figures which I was casually collecting at the time when I came across the Urban Vinyl section of the shop.

I didn’t know much about the scene, artists or manufacturers, but had seen images in various magazines at the time. I became completely obsessed, and my collection has grown from a few hundred pieces, to well over a 1,000 toys and prints.
Kidrobot adidas custom 7" inch mascot dunny/designer vinyl/kaws
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Kidrobot adidas custom 7" inch mascot dunny/designer vinyl/kaws
Black big Autumn Apple
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Black big Autumn Apple

Why do you do it?

There are so many reasons for my obsession. I suppose it's in my family to an extent, my Father collects die cast Model-T Fords  and has cabinets all over his house full of them.

For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed collecting anything where there is a set to try and complete.

What's your favourite item in the collection?

It would have to be JAWS Pain by Coarsetoys.

What are you missing from your collection?

I’d love to come across a Sam Flores Tiger Baby or a Black KAWS Companion. 

A brief history of Urban Vinyl

Collecting Urban Vinyl action figures is a hot, relatively new hobby that started in the East and has made its way to the West. Unlike standard action figures, Urban Vinyl don't typically depict superheroes and movie characters. Rather, these action figures most often depict unique, artistic characters and popular figures in urban culture.
Giddy Autumn Apple
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Giddy Autumn Apple

Hong Kong artist Michael Lau began the Urban Vinyl toy trend in the late 1990s. After making one action figure for an electronic music group, Anodize, the artist eventually turned all of his comic strip characters into similar vinyl action figures. Others such as the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, the Australian artist Nathan Jurevicius, and graffiti artist KAWS, started to create their own Urban Vinyl action figures.  The figures typically depicted some aspect of hip hop, skateboarding, or graffiti. 
Kidrobot Dunny Christmas Special
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Kidrobot Dunny Christmas Special

Many Urban Vinyl characters are not depicted as humans at all. For instance, the popular Urban Vinyl Dunny character is a rabbit-like creature with an overly large head who is displayed in a variety of ways: as the Grim Reaper, as a killer holding a machine gun, as an angry man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, as an alien, as a ninja, and so forth. 

Human or not, almost all Urban Vinyl are influenced by urban styles, such as graffiti art, manga comics, goth/punk rock, and skateboard art.
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