Tonya’s art celebrates the evocative world of the vintage toy. In her work she re-imagines and celebrates our most poignant and precious childhood memories. It is both comforting and haunting, joyous and bitter sweet - propelling us back to happy times...to those indelible moments where as children we projected our emotions onto our toys and imagined that they reflected back love, protection, acceptance and understanding. Sometimes, it was simply just their extreme coolness that made us love them!
“The emotion I experience when looking at a toy from my childhood is fascinating to me, something that I know is shared by many.
In expressing my own memories I want to invoke the viewer to contemplate their own identity through the medium of once-treasured childhood possessions. To celebrate those relationships which once held such great significance, no longer confined simply to memory.
In forming connections with toys as children we become bonded to them and find within that relationship a sense of self. Later, in adulthood, nostalgia for these iconic images offers comfort and reassurance in the present.
I regard my pieces almost as icons or devotional works, dedicated to my childhood memories of the 1980s. Each piece is named after a song which is evocative of the memories, relationships and friendships I am depicting."
Tonya has exhibited her work at The Royal Academy of Arts and had joint and solo exhibitions throughout London, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Collectors of her work live in London, Los Angeles and Miami.