Its been a while but we are back and its time to shine the TTC Collectors Spotlight on collector Desmond Lin! Remember the name from somewhere? You may recall his PAW! RAGE! homage to COARSE PAW. The VFX artist shares his collection and a little insight into what he collects. Time for the collector’s spotlight to shine once more over to Singapore.
TTC: Thank you for taking the time out and showing us your collection. How long have you been collecting? and what got you started?
DL: Thank you TTC for inviting me to contribute to this article!
I have been collecting since 2014, I remember it was bearbricks back then that first got me started!
My first few 400% Be@rbricks!
Being in the creative industry as well, seeing different artists expressing their art on a similar canvas and giving a different expression and experience to their collectors always fascinates me.
It was then it opened up the designer toys world to me and I fell very deeply into this bottomless pit till date! 😉 Also being surrounded with these pieces, they always serve as an inspiration to me whenever I need one, that’s a good excuse for myself to buy more and whenever I work on a movie, I would buy some related characters and they will exist in my collection as a reminder that I worked on them.
TTC: Is there a specific style you collect?
DL: No, there isn’t a specific style that I go for.
If the shape/colour/ design/ sculpt or stories behind the characters speak to me, usually I will try to get it ( if it’s within my budget and also if I am able to get it, as you know toys are getting harder and harder to get these days! )
Also, I buy a lot of stuff related to the characters that exist in my childhood memories like Mario, Sonic, Doraemon, Shinchan etc. These are characters that accompanied me through my childhood and being in a simple family, I never got to own them when I was young, now I am just reliving my childhood once again, so don’t judge me! HA!
TTC: Has it been hard to keep track what you have in your collection?
DL: It is definitely hard to keep track of what I have in my collection!
I used to start a spreadsheet ( with the help of my girlfriend ) but never been able to keep it up to date at the rate of new toys joining into the party BUT I will never forget where I placed them in my display and I will notice it right away if it was moved and repositioned.
TTC: Being a designer yourself, have you wanted to flex your creativity and produce something yourself?
Not so much about flexing creativity, I feel every collector will always have the dream to create something that they like someday and envisioning them in another collectors’ display is another level of satisfaction being an artist.
So being said that, yes I really do hope someday I can produce something and share it with the world if I can.
TTC: Do you have any designer toys around your workspace?
Being working from home these couple of months, yes I am surrounded by all of them. I don’t have them at my actual workspace because of the tendency of me shifting my table to a standing position and down to a sitting position quite often, I fear my toys would topple and be damaged.
TTC: Could you give us a little tour around the house/collection?
TTC: What’s your latest purchase?
My latest purchase is this set of gashapon figures from Japan; SHINCHAN! They were about $10sgd each and they are so cute!
Not all the toys have to be limited and expensive to bring joy to the collector which I feel a lot out there has this misconception, they only buy what’s hype. what’s limited, what the crowd is collecting.
That way, you have lost the purpose of collecting, if you don’t enjoy the process and the pieces that you acquired, you will be out of the hobby really soon.
I have seen so many coming in and out of the scene, posting mail calls every damn day, but where are you now?
What’s your Top five in your collection right now
This is a tough one! Every piece has it’s very own sentimental values/memories in them!
If I really have to choose 5 base of design/ sculpt, here’s my pick
1) COARSE – DARK SORROW; I really love this piece, the silhouette is so beautiful, the way COARSE engineered it to balance just on the tiny ankles and hands is amazing and the pose is really beautiful and how it expresses and tells a story and emotion through it. Just magnificent!
2) COARSE – PAW ; You knew this will come 😛 It’s undoubtedly a really beautiful character design and I really like how the shape and form of the PAW that no matter where you display him, he will always get the attention he deserves.
3) INSTINCTOY – MEGA EROSION MOLLY ; needless to explain right? This piece is massively impressive. The design, scale, the weight, the colors and the quality of it.
4) BOUNCE – Bounce Boy ; really beautiful elegant hand painted piece, design is really beautiful and to top it off, it has a porcelain kind of finishing which I am a big fan of. Those ancient Qing dynasty chinese ceramics always appeals to me; though this might make me sound a bit old. HAHA!
5) FLABSLAB – I have to be greedy to list 3 of their products here because all are equally beautiful pieces and I can’t decide which is better, it will be the Baby Ghost of Kurosawa, Black Midas Teq63 and Trojan Boy. I love the design, the form and the quality of it. Really beautiful pieces.
TTC: If you had to pick one Toy for the rest of your life what would it be and why? (I don’t ever wish that would ever happen to you )
Another tough one, If I really can only pick 1, I will keep the 1000% ironman Mark 7 bearbrick because that’s the first very crazy experience that I had with my girlfriend in Korea where I just started out this hobby, we went to this shop and saw this piece, as an Ironman fan myself, it’s hard to pass on this piece and having to move around with the big box and bring it back from Korea just make that piece having significant sentimental value, and that’s possibly 1 of the most expensive toy that I have bought at that point of time! Never regret that though, will definitely do it again if time rewinds! HA.
TTC: Where do you have the most collectables in your house?
DL: I have them all in my room, it’s hard to convince my mum to allow my toys to start appearing in the living room you see.
But definitely when I eventually get my own apartment, I will have them all over the place, guaranteed!
TTC: When people visit the office and your house how do you introduce Designer toys to them when they ask?
DL: Most people that actually see my collection physically have similar reactions- ‘You are running out of space, you should remove your bed soon’.
Most of my friends that visit usually are either collectors or people who know about the designer toys so I don’t really have to introduce them, they will know right away which pieces that they want to take home with them when they are leaving- HAHA! That’s why I need to train my dog to start doing sniff test when my friends are leaving my house HAHA!
TTC: What do you look for in a designer toy?
I feel for a designer toy to be appealing, it has to convey a message or emotion in them. It has to have a nice silhouette and form to it as well as colours that compliment the mood that the piece wants to convey.
What top 5 releases/preorders are you looking forward to that you have seen?
COARSE – The Collector
Instinctoy – Ice Vincent Ultimate Spectrum
Sank The Child – Escape
Flabslab – Leia and Palpatine Terracotta piece; OH and also Knox!
Mr Clement – A Vulgar Statement Chapter 2
TTC: Who’s the Hottest artist right now for you?
DL: Personally I have a neutral view for all artists, most importantly their work has to appeal and speaks to me. I am not blindly buying something because it’s from a particular artist or because everyone is buying.
TTC: Whats your guilty pleasure?
Because of the rate of me acquiring new toys, my girlfriend can’t keep up with what she sees in my room, and once a while I will sneak in some newly bought toys amongst my collection and when she suddenly sees it, I will pretend that it’s already there for so long already. HAHA! Now that the secret has been exposed, I need to find new ways to bring in my new toys that were bought without permission 😛
TTC: Out of your collection which 2 hold the most meaning?
DL: Paw! rage has to be the most meaningful piece in my collection. I made a real genuine friend whom I never thought I will ever have. Although it’s just fan art of an existing character by COARSE, it was a project that a very kind friend guided me through, explaining to me the workflow, the pipeline and the insights to toy making. Having this project completed and sharing a few pieces with the people out there really assured me that if we put our heart into doing something that we really love, though the process could be hard eventually it could be done. And it will be a great experience. Even if no one wanted the Paw! rage at that point of time, I will still feel that the whole journey was well worth it, the experience was so much valuable.
The next one I will have to group together a whole bunch of toys that were acquired through the help of friends. Be it shipping proxy to a friend in the US and en route it to Singapore, friends who attend toy con from over the world and helping me bring back the pieces that I wanted, friends who sold me pieces that they know I have been looking out for, friends who always remember me when they see a certain piece and reach out to me to ask if I wanted it and they would help me out with it etc. All these pieces are meaningful to me, not just the toys, but I know I made great friends out there whom I can not only talk toys to them, we talk shits every other day about every other thing that happens in the world, and sometimes… gossips! HAHA!
TTC: We see part of the collection at the office and it’s all beautiful colour coordinated, who does the dusting?
DL: My girlfriend is the one that arranges most of my displays, she always magically arrange them so I end up having more space to display more.
Most of the toys are in the display case so 95% of them don’t collect dust, but for those that are sticking around on the outside, we do brush them as soon as we see dust accumulates.
TTC: With the lockdown have you seen yourself moving your collection around?
DL: Yes definitely, more of the preorders that were purchased earlier were starting to ship and I have to move things around to accommodate the newly joined family members! Tough mission!
TTC: Have you ordered anything since the lockdown and waiting for it to be shipped?
Mr Clement – A Vulgar Statement Chapter2
Sank The Child – Escape
Kevin Lyons x Blackbook Toy – Buffalo Soldier
Underverse – Opera Ashtro
Instinctoy – Ice Vincent Ultimate Spectrum
TTC: PAW! RAGE! Yes, that got coarse heads like ourselves hyped, we bet you have many collectors begging for one right? How many do you have yourself and how are they displayed?
DL: I am really happy how PAW! RAGE! turned out and how people responded positively to it and till date I am still getting enquiries about them but as mentioned those are the quantity produced and nothing more. That was more of a learning journey for me, I met a very nice friend while collecting and he’s been sharing with me the pipeline and production workflow of toy making, so PAW! rage was an experimenting project as well as a learning experience for myself.
I kept 1 of each colorway myself.
TTC: You’re a fellow coarse head, which are your top two in your collection?
PAW! of course! I just managed to find my last spectrum colorway (yellow) to complete the whole series recently.
The other one I’ve yet to acquire, but someday I hope I will – PAW Departure!
TTC: what do you think of multi releases of the same silhouette?
DL: Bearbrick are classics, they should compare to that if they are into this designer toy. It shouldn’t be looked as a sculpt designed to make money and has 5000 colourways to them, that’s not art, that’s like buying an apple in the market, every piece is same but just a little bit different.
TTC: We are loving your new YouTube channel, will you be showcasing your collection soon?
DL: Yes, TOILSTORY!
TOIL meaning working extremely hard; and we collectors are working extra hard to maintain This Overrated Indulgence Life.
That’s how the name came upon.
At the moment I am trying to see how this will turn out, with a bit more time working from home these days, I try to combine both my hobbies ( photography and toy collecting ) into 1 and that’s how the channel was created and based around.
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I am truely thankful to all the genuine friends that were made during this journey, it’s really nice to make friends from people all over the globe sharing the similar hobby.
Thank you all! I wanted to do a shoutout but there’s a lot of you, anyway, all of you should know who you are, sincerely thank you.
TTC: How long have you been taking toy photography?
DL: I have been taking toy photography for about 3-4years, but very casually.
I was doing macro photography previously before moving into toy photography. I always have the fantasy to take a closer look at that tiny creature that lives amongst us but no one actually bothers and don’t know how beautiful some of them are.
Here are some of the stuff I was doing before http://visual-indulgence.blogspot.com/
So it naturally translates that interest in toy photography since I get lazy to go out under the hot sun nowadays and using a bit of the knowledge I know, I start to explore toy photography.
Take Photography – Behind The Scene
I only do that when I really have an inspiration to photo the subject because they usually take 2 to 3 hours just for 1 photo, from clearing up space in my room, setting up the lights, taking the photos and editing them.
It got to a point where sometimes I ask myself is it I am doing it wrong when some people can snap beautiful photos easily! Teach me, please.
TTC: Does a photo effect what you want to buy?
Maybe it’s the nature of my job, I feel a good photograph with good lighting will be able to convey a stronger message than just a casual photo.
Visually it will be much more appealing to the audience and naturally attracts more potential buyer, just my opinion though.
BUT of course, I do not wish to buy something and receive it looking totally different because it was digitally enhanced so much until even the designer cannot recognise his own toy. Don’t do that…
TTC: Do you feel its important for an artist/ brand to do the designer toy justice with a good level of photography?
Honestly if I am the artist, yes. Because it will be more of a complete product to me, rather than u have a real potential product but you don’t know how to advertise or package it, causing you to lose some of the potential buyer.
We hope you enjoyed the TTC collectors spotlight.
Thank you Desmond for taking part in the interview and sharing your personal collection. We appreciate the time taken to answer all the questions and giving us a glimpse into your personal life and showcasing your forever growing collection.
Have you checked out the other TTC Collectors Spotlight?
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