Toyisme Kunststroming

Toyism Art Movement

Toyism is a contemporary art movement that originated in the 1990s in Emmen, The Netherlands. The word symbolises the playful character of the artworks and the philosophy behind it. The suffix ‘ism’ refers to motion or movements that exist in both the world of art and religion. Nevertheless, the game of Toyism is a serious matter that shows a new, critical and sensitive perspective on our present-day world.

Toyism as art movement is a reaction on the post-modern world of individualism, which existed in the 1970s through the 1990s, the era in which “everything is allowed”. On September the 5th 1992 artist Dejo (pseudonym)  writes a manifest called Mother and introduces Toyism to the audience.

Toyism can be split in two different periods, the period 1992 until 2000 and 2002 until the present. In the first period mostly the themes were worked out in a surrealistic manner and the returning presence of fixed icons (computer, space shuttle and teddy-bear) in their paintings. These icons represented the attending artists. After the triumvirate fell apart, founder Dejo decided to make a world-trip and gets inspired to make Toyism more international and open. As from 2002 the group of artists grows exponentially and artists from every corner of the earth decide to participate.

The philosophy of Toyism is that the artists operate as a collective, instead of separate individuals, hence one toyist cannot be seen as more important or famous than the other. There is no rivalry among the artists. The evident message they carry out is that the artworks count, not the artist itself that has created it. Although the artists do make their own art, in many occasions the toyists work together, which means that the produced artwork cannot be attributed to a single artist.


Uppspretta is the name of a Toyist artwork situated in the Icelandic town of Keflavík. In 2013, a neglected water tower being nine meters in height and thirty-six meters in circumference, was transformed into an object of art. The painting shows the story of a puffinnamed Uppspretta. 


On July 14, 2009 the group is ventured upon an extensive project: painting a spherical gas storage container, being 22 meters in height and 1250 square meters in surface, situated in Emmen, Netherlands. The toyists transform this object within 9 months (6000 hours) into a colourful artwork called The Dot (De Stip in Dutch. The Dot tells the story about Living with Energy.


In april 2012 the Toyists started with the painting of the outside of Hotel Ten Cate in Emmen. During five weeks the hotel was hiding behind a huge scaffolding with canvases. Thirteen Toyists have expressed their creativity from early morning until late at night on the 600 m2 facade of the building.

Toyism Colorful and Contemporary Art