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A Conversation With Vinyl Art Not A Toy

Edgar Nunes, know by his Instagram page Vinyl Art Not A Toy is an art collector based in Miami. As a young kid, Edgar grew a strong interest for toys, collecting legos and then transitioned to vinyl toys in the early 2000's. Over time, Edgar became enthralled with the art of contemporary artists like Kaws, DFace, Ron English & Shepard Fairey and has now amassed one of the most impressive collections of vinyl art in the USA with over 700 pieces.


For those newer to the space, what are five things that differentiate vinyl art from toys? This is actually hard to define and everyone's definition can vary. Toys inspire art. Art inspires toys. People classify pieces based on their past, their interests and their tastes. That being said, these are some points of differentiation that often apply.​​

  1. Quality, materials & price. Vinyl art is made from premium vinyl as opposed to plastic found in toys. Vinyl art is heavier and feels more solid and usually comes at a higher price.

  2. As children we collect toys and mature to collecting vinyl art. This is often influenced by higher prices for vinyl art.

  3. Uniqueness. Vinyl art is created by an artist. There are characters that are thought out and developed. This makes them original and unique. Toys are more simple and designed for consumption by large corporations.

  4. Production quantity. Toys are mass produced and mass distributed. Vinyl art is often produced in limited quantities.

  5. Decision by authority: That which we find in galleries and museums is usually in the art class and not a toy. This is a much more subjective point but often influenced by the above 4 points.

Your page heavily focuses on Kaws, one of the most popular artists when it comes to vinyl art. For those who might be less familiar with his work, what are 5 things that make Kaws such a well regarded artist.

  1. Original and Authentic Work: Kaws in the 90s began to do graffiti on the streets, which contributed to Street Art in New York and other cities such as Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo, intervening on billboards, phone booths and bus stops with his graffiti and characters.

  2. Created his own style and brand: During that time he created a distinctive art expression, a brand with his pseudonym "KAWS" and his signature XX's as eyes in all of his works.

  3. Strategic Alliances: The projects that he had in collaboration with others artists, designers and brands was strategic in creating his own brand known as OriginalFake in Tokyo, from 2006-2013. Through OriginalFake he produced a variety of items, such as clothes, objects and vinyl art, all with the iconic graphics and characters that characterized it.

  4. He thinks big and without limitations: Taking risks with his work to include other materials and formats, such as presenting his toys as large wood and bronze figures and inflatables which are exhibited in outdoor spaces and museums around the world.

  5. He harnesses the power of social media such as Instagram which contributed greatly to his art being known worldwide. This helped attract the attention of collectors and critics, and today we see the result, a living artist, achieving major recognition a way that not even KAWS could have imagined.

Brands he's collaborated with: Realmad Hectic, Bounty Hunter, Kubrick, Bearbrick, MediconToy, Nigo, Bape, Neighborhoud, Blitz, Sorayama, Robert Lazzarini, Undercover, Wonderwall, Disney, Peanuts, All Right Reserved, Dior, UNIQLO, Sesame Street. Etc. You seem to have a pretty substantial collection of vinyl art yourself. What are your top 5 pieces in your collection and why? "Can I break this into three parts? [laughs]" For most meaningful:

  1. The Rocky and Mugsy (vinyl) couple from 1994, produced by Loony Tunes, which I bought at the Warner Bros. Studio store on my first trip to NY.

  2. My first KAWS piece the “Passing Through Companion” (Black). I never imagined that this TOY would be the one that started this great addiction for Kaws Toys. It was a birthday present.

  3. “Boba Fett” from the KAWS Star Wars series. The level of detail achieved in the piece is amazing and it was a difficult piece to acquire due its popularity.

  4. Yoshitomo Nara. Pup Cup, 2003. and The Little Wanderer, 2003. Injection molded and rotomolded plastic. I love it because it differs in style with the whole collection of vinyl art and toys that I have.

  5. An custom 8” Dunny that I hand painted myself inspired by a trip I made to Alaska.

The 5 best pieces in my collection if we talk about only Kaws are:

  1. Boba Fett

  2. Astroboy (Monochrome)

  3. Passing Though Companion (Black)

  4. Kaws Companion by Roberto Lazarrini

  5. Kaws Companion: Resting Place (Flayed)

The 5 best artists I have pieces for in my entire collection:

With the rise in popularity of vinyl art, there have been more and more counterfeit (FAKE) products coming onto the market. What are 5 things people can look for to help them find authentic vinyl art?

  1. Pay attention to the artists and galleries. The best place to get art (and release information) is from the artist themselves or galleries exhibiting them.

  2. Information Gather! If you're buying from a third party site, make sure to get:

    1. Origin and quality/condition of the toy

    2. Year of production

    3. Pictures of all angles of the toy and the packaging

    4. Weight of the piece

    5. If not brand new - Information on its use

  3. Ask for help! Contact collectors or experts in collectibles for a second opinion.

  4. Know where to buy. Acquire vinyl art directly from specialized stores or galleries that deal in the Vinyl Toys industry.

  5. Be ready to invest. If you want to have an original piece of vinyl art you have to invest a little more money. Great pieces come at a price.

Who are 5 up and coming artists you have your eyes on that we should also check out? I cant't stop at 5. These are some artists venturing into Vinyl material and they have presented some very interesting proposals:

  1. Arkiv @arkivvilmansa (Indonesia)

  2. Danil Yad @danil_yad

  3. Matt Gondek @gondekdraws

  4. Theodoru @Theodoru

  5. Fidia @fidia

  6. Javier Calleja @javicalleja

  7. Edgar Plans @edgarplans

  8. Mike Lee @immikelee

  9. Mark Whalen @mark__Whalen

  10. (Resin not vinyl) LY @ly_painter


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