Sunday, April 10, 2011

On My Radar: DC-based TyoToys

This past week I caught up with Phil Foss, owner and the brain behind Tyo Toys. Foss, working with local graffiti artists, produces limited edition scale truck replicas. Check them out ONLINE HERE and learn more about the concept from Foss himself below.

TyoToys - where did you com up with the concept?

I've always been into graffiti, and was very interested in the 'urban vinyl' toy scene. The market for these toys is still growing, and I wanted to try out a product. I thought it would be cool to have a replica of something you see around the city on your desk, so you could tag it yourself. Then for true graffiti fans, I offer the Artist Series and you can have one signed by a graffiti legend.

DC certainly is no stranger to graffiti. How did you turn something that sometimes have a negative connotation into a thriving business?

I guess there are some negative feelings about graffiti. I grew up thinking it was the coolest possible way to do art. I wouldn't want to see tags in my neighborhood, but the art form is at the heart of counter culture and I knew there were like-minded people would would love the product.

DC is a city beaming with the arts, how can we encourage more young kids to take their graffiti talents and turn it into a concept like TyoToys?

Graffiti and street art is usually not worth the trouble of getting busted, so I would encourage kids to keep it legal. Hone your craft and do it better than the kid next to you. And test out your ideas before you fully commit to it. The internet is great for getting reaction to your art and ideas.

What is the process for creating a truck? How long does it take and what types of products do you use?

Everything is made in China, the trucks are ABS plastic and die cast metal cab. But the artwork is printed locally in Maryland, the packaging I use was produced and printed in Brooklyn. I have a stockpile of trucks that are blank, and I'll work with an artist for a couple weeks working out the artwork, edition size, further customizations, and a general marketing and distribution plan. So it'll end up being about 2 months until they hit the street.

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