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Tara Gamel

What’s your Toy story?

What’s your Toy story?

It’s amazing to me the way that seemingly insignificant objects can create such strong emotions in us. I can still remember the smell from my Strawberry Shortcake doll, the soft fur on my Care Bear, the clicking sound of my ViewMaster as I changed from scene to scene, and the feel of smooth plastic and wood on my fisher price people!

I remember the excitement I would have when I was able to bring home a new toy and how my anticipation of this new-found object was going to bring me so much joy and happiness. I remember thinking that I would never want another toy again if I was able to get the one I had my heart set on!

Of course, that was never the case. There was always something newer, more exciting and more advanced advertised each time I sat in front of the t.v. eating my cereal on Saturday mornings!

Now that I’m an adult, I realize the emotion attached to the toys seems so much more significant than the toy themselves. That is what inspired me to create this series. I wanted to create images that made me smile and sparked happy childhood memories.

It was interesting to me which ones stood out to me the most and why. Sometimes the memory was associated with a friendship or family member, and sometimes it was just the memory of being young and innocent and so full of imagination and hope.

I want to keep those attributes alive in my life. Some days it can be hard. The reality of life and where I am can easily bring me down if I’m not careful to change my perspective. 

As I look at each completed painting, it’s a little reminder to keep that inner child alive and keep that childlike faith.

So what about you? What are some of your significant childhood toys and what memories do they bring to mind?

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