Just like tattoos, the things people collect are personal and unique. Guest blogger Amber Bryce decided to explore the ties between the two by speaking with three toy collectors, to see what inspired their collections and how these in turn have inspired their tattoo choices…
“When I was a kid, I would daydream through every Saturday morning ballet class about finding the next thing to add to my collections. These ranged from Spice Girls photos for my fluorescent pink album, to sparkly Pokemon cards and miniature car models. Collecting has always helped my mind to focus in on something and block out the chaos of the world, creating soothing rhythms out of mundane objects.
Still to this day I can’t let go of my collection of Pokemon cards or Spice Girls photos. There’s just something about childhood nostalgias that’s so comforting and aesthetically inspiring. Perhaps this is why toy collecting in particular is so popular, as it allows people to hold onto the fleeting moments of growing up, and the joy such things brought us.
There’s also a very close connection between toy collecting and tattoos. Candy-coloured My Little Ponies, perfectly accessorized Barbies and the tall, bright hair of trolls all prove how the charismatic designs of our childhood toys make the perfect kitsch tattoos.
I spoke to three lovely Instagram ladies about their toy collections and which tattoo or tattoos these have inspired”:
Name: Jenna Greenwood Location: Bradford
I have always been a hoarder and collector ever since I was a child. A lot of the things I have from the 80s and 90s are my original toys that I could never seem to part with. When I was little my mum and dad would recall with joy a toy from their childhoods, and when questioned as to where it was or if they still had it, I would always get the same reply, they’d gotten ‘too old for it’. My brother and I used to be horrified at the thought of getting rid of our toys! I never wanted that to happen, so I stockpiled all my favourites. Now it’s a case of reclaiming my childhood and the simple things that used to bring me lots of happiness. The nostalgia now is lovely!
I only get tattoos of the things that have or do give me great pleasure, I think if it’s a captured happy memory I can never go off it or change my taste. With that in mind, my right thigh is dedicated to my childhood and the things I used to love, so as well as my troll tattoo, there is an emerald for one of my favourite films Return to Oz, a mood ring, a dodo (a childhood obsession) and seaside paraphernalia. It’s not finished yet, but I’m hoping to add a tamagotchi and an ever-lasting gobstopper soon to complete it!
Jody Dawber has done all the pieces on my childhood tattoo. I found her work through Instagram and knew as soon as I saw it she was the one for this piece. Her style is fun and colourful with a grown up twist and I just fell in love with her work as soon as I saw it!
In the future, I’d like to factor in something Sindy and Sylvanian Family related too, but I’m not sure where they’re going to go yet. I might have to start on the other thigh if I keep finding stuff in my parents loft!
Name: Andrea Taylor Location: Adelaide South Australia
I collect lots and lots of dolls! My main collection is of Barbie, though. I always loved Barbie as a little girl, and had so many of them, but when I was in my late teens I got rid of a bunch. About 4 years ago I realised this was a huge mistake and spent a lot of time making a list of which dolls I had had and tracking them down again. It sort of snowballed from there and I’ve ended up with a lot more than just recollecting my childhood dolls.
This has inspired my one and only tattoo, which is of an illustration of Crystal Barbie. It was done by Sarah K at Pink Flamingo Parlour. She already had it drawn up with some other 80s/90s nostalgia and I saw it on her feed so I got in touch after some prompting from friends. It was exactly what I had been envisioning when I thought of my perfect Barbie tattoo.
In the future I’d love to get a 60s Barbie heart on my other thigh as the 60s and 80s are my two favourite decades for Barbie, so I’d like to pay tribute to both of them.
Name: Jessica Reeves Location: London
I collect so many things! Right now I am actively collecting Nevalyashka dolls (Russian roly poly dolls), Sonny Angels, kewpie dolls, Blythe dolls and any vintage toy that catches my eye (usually something that squeaks or moves or plays music in some way). But I also have a pretty large collection of kitsch vintage ceramics – mainly cats and deer – that I have been collecting for about four years now. I haven’t added anything new to this collection for a while but the objects I already own bring me a lot of happiness! I am drawn to many of these objects for their nostalgic value but also their aesthetic just really appeals to me and I love to surround myself with things that make my environment an inspiring, relaxing and beautiful (to me) place to be.
I actually have a few tattoos inspired by my collections! On my left leg I have two fairly large homages to my collection of vintage ceramics. Both of these tattoos contain so many elements that I just adore – cats, deer, sweets and Pearl Jam lyrics! They are so personal to me and I adore them both. On my right leg I have a super-cute tattoo of a Nevalyashka doll, inspired by my ever growing collection of these vintage roly poly dolls and a tattoo of a kewpie doll covered in tattoos. My boyfriend has a matching kewpie, which also makes this tattoo extra-special.
Both the tattoos on my left leg are done by Amy Savage and I chose her for her beautiful use of colours and personality that she brings to the animal portraits she has done a lot of in the past. The roly poly doll is by Rachel Baldwin and I chose her for her awesome cartoon-like style. I love that my nevalyashka tattoo kind of looks like a sticker, it’s just so bold and perfect! The kewpie was done by Luke Kempton and I picked him because he can turn his hand to any idea and style, and he has made some rad tattoos on my boyfriend in the past.
I love how personal my tattoos inspired by my collections are and I don’t see that connection becoming any less powerful in the future. And as my collections evolve over time there always seems to be some new object to commemorate on my skin forever!