Updated: Apr 20
Jeffrey Toy is an artist I’ve been fortunate enough to interact a lot with. This Wilmington, DE based painter and printmaker is a fun and exciting man who works incredibly hard in the studio and dedicates himself fully to his art. I’ve interacted with a lot of artists, both good and bad, but when you meet an artist who truly puts their all into their work and makes art their life, it’s striking and you get something more out of every interaction, Jeff is one of those artists. There’s been times where I’ve had to take a huge step back and look at my own work because his passion was so strong that my stuff felt meaningless in comparison and at times I really needed that! He’s an artist who will give you awesome support but challenge you at the same time, just an awesome guy.
When I talked to Jeff about his work he described it as exploratory, an adventure. He says he never really has a plan and that once he starts he throws himself at the mercy of the process and lets it go where it goes. I like that a lot, that resonates with me, and I think that you can see it in his work. Without even going into the work in too much detail, it’s impressive the different things that Jeff does, crossing disciplines, blending styles together, it’s a vast portfolio. Going further into the work I think one of the biggest things you’ll notice right away is bold, blocked in color that creates space and depth in a way that isn’t quite naturalist but isn’t quite graphic, it’s a unique middle ground. Jeff’s colors have strength, they pop off of the canvas and your eye has to journey through them, color to color and shape to shape as your brain puts together the image and really takes everything in. Even in his print work with limited colors everything stands out, controlled placement and transition from color to color and then to blank spaces creates an image that has depth in a way that you wouldn’t expect from something as simple as, say, a woodblock print. The staples of Jeff’s work are bold color and shape but when those two things that we don’t consider to look “real” come together to create an image with naturalistic depth, it’s an impressive feat.
Let’s talk influences! Because I think you’re going to notice a plethora of cultural and artistic influences and I don’t think I’d being doing my job if I didn’t bring it up. Jeff told me he’s inspired by the master artists, notably Ingres, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci, but beyond just the fact that they were great artists he said their work really showed him how to experience the world as an artist. They taught him how to draw and how the ins and outs of drawing are a reflection of how the artist experiences the world and that’s remarkably insightful in my opinion. He also finds a great level of inspiration from Japanese art, saying that since 2004 he’s really immersed himself in that world, studying the culture, imagery and art. Looking through his portfolio, you’ll notice some recognizable Japanese imagery in there. He’s also a lifetime Japanese ningyo doll maker and some of these things are really intricate and neat.
I think the future is very bright for Jeff, he’s in the process of transforming part of his home/workspace into an indoor and outdoor gallery to show and promote local artists. Wilmington has a relatively unknown but very active art scene and Jeff’s plans are certainly going to help push that further, but we can’t reveal too much yet! Big picture, he told me he’d like to go abroad to create and show his work in Japan, taking the next big dive into a culture he’s immersed himself into. Jeffrey Toy is certainly an artist to look out for and you’ll definitely be seeing more from him in the Plebeian World!
Other Artist Info
Location: Wilmington, DE
Medium: Painter/Print Maker
Delaware College of Art and Design Associates of Graphic design (2014)
University of Delaware Bachelors of Fine Arts (2018)
Where to Find Him:
Remember Folks! Feature Friday is an awesome way to get your work seen and promoted, as well as make you eligible for other prizes! But, you’ve got to post on that forum so we can see your work and promote it! So post, comment and post some more! Let’s see and talk about all of your work!