We all loved playing with toys as kids, whether your thing was LEGO, puzzles or figurines, but who says that joy has to come to end?

Artists, photographers, fashion designers and sculptors such as Eduardo Paolozzi and Jason Freeny have used toys in their contemporary art and design as a way of developing technical craft or sharing deeper insights of our world. 

The Civic theatre and art gallery in South Yorkshire’s Barnsley is putting on The Toy Box: From Pop to Present - an exhibition exploring how these artists and a string of others manage to successfully incorporate toys into their current and past projects. It will also look at how toys have inspired designers and artists, and as a result, artists have created their own collectable toys known as "urban vinyl".

Image: Joe Simpson's LEGO Captain Red Beard is a limited edition print taken from his series of paintings of toys and figures, which also includes paintings of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Lion-O figurines.

Joe is a figurative painter who works primarily in oils to create realistic images. His paintings have been shown in galleries including The National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Albert Hall. 

Next Page »