TOYSREVIL: Who is Daniel Yu? And what does Daniel do? Share with us your skills and passion for toys!
DANIEL YU: My passion for the scene probably stemmed from an unhealthy obsession with American pop culture and Saturday morning cartoons, which is funny considering I’m a born and bred Singaporean. I’d say a large chuck of what I was exposed to while growing up was of western origin, from the TV shows to the books that I read. Toys naturally worked its way into the mix; first as childhood playthings, then evolving into embodiments of the things that I loved.
My “skills” came about when I stumbled upon the toy customizing community on the internet back around 1997. The idea of creating something that no one else had was appealing to me and I decided to give that a go. The rest, as they say, is history?
TOYSREVIL: With only a small handful of practitioners in toy-customization in Singapore, how does it feel to ply your trade here? Versus your design being made into a figurine for OMFG! Customizer for life? Or Toy-Designer?
DANIEL YU: I think that issue has become a moot point, particularly in this day and age. Your “marketplace” isn’t confined to where you’re located any longer. Of course, it would be nice to be able to have a bigger community here in Singapore, but I don’t believe that’s a limiting factor.
I’m definitely grateful to have been a part of the OMFG series, it’s helped me realize the dream of having one of my designs immortalized in plastic. Customizer or Toy-Designer? Why not both?
TOYSREVIL: What do you think of the 'scene' in Singapore? A blossoming culture, or a stepping stone? Where do you think you fit in all of this? Where do you WANT to fit into?
DANIEL YU: I think the “scene” here is almost like the unwanted child of the toy community and art community, but maybe that’s being a bit harsh. The thing in Singapore is that the toy community here has a strong affiliation with licensed properties; if it doesn’t have anything familiar labeled on it they won’t give it a second look. Meanwhile, the art community is still cautious about legitimizing a “childhood plaything” as an art form. In any case, the local Designer Toy scene (particularly the toy designing aspect, not the collecting one) is still fairly new. I have high hopes.
TOYSREVIL: Congratulations on the Win for NOISE! How has that changed your life? Has that changed your perception or direction of your plans for world domination?
DANIEL YU: Thanks! My life isn’t any different than before, but the recognition has certainly been gratifying. THE PLAN IS: to amass a plastic army big enough to rule the world. So nothing’s changed.
TOYSREVIL: What's up next for you Daniel?
DANIEL YU: Something’s up my sleeve. There always is.
[See more of Daniel's work via his website @ doryphunk.blogspot.com]
WHAT: In the month of June, I will be posting select articles from the first issue of my Sold Out self-published fanzine *I LIKE TOYS* - in anticipation of the release of the second issue in July-ish, and as well for folks who might have missed out on scoring the 1st ish, and for folks to see what I'm going on about with my Zine. Hope you enjoy the reads, folks!