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Plastic Yo-yos & Tops

Plastic Yo-yos & Tops

Plastic Yo-yos and tops | 78”x 20” | Oil on Canvas


As a boy I enjoyed playing with my wood yo-yo. When I wasn’t playing, it was always with me, in my pocket. At first it was fun just to get it to go down and come back up. I can’t say I ever got very good at many tricks, but the variety of possible tricks kept the yo-yo challenging and fun. Like many kids, the first tricks I learned were Around the World, and Walk the Dog.


I remember being very excited with the beautiful translucent colors when Duncan first came out with plastic yo-yos. I still find them to be visually pleasing and fascinating.


I had a great time grouping the yo-yos into a composition for this painting. I’m intrigued by the light playing through them and illuminating their shadows. I’m also pleased with the sense of depth and space both among the various yo-yos, and the deeper space behind them.


This painting will be a fun addition to your work or home space - have some fun!


A little yo-yo history:

Yo-yo, the word itself comes from the Philippines where the toy was introduced in the early nineteenth century, being the Tagalog word supposedly meaning come and go.


The first U.S. patent for a yo-yo like toy was issued in 1866, but it was not until 1928, that a Filipino immigrant named Pedro Flores popularized the toy. While working as a porter in a Santa Monica, California hotel, he demonstrated various yo-yo tricks to the guests. Flores made a key innovation in the yo-yo. Instead of tying a knot around the axel, he used a loop, which allowed the yo-yo to sleep or spin and to perform additional tricks. Flores’ demonstrations proved so popular that he opened the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company in Santa Barbara.


Donald Duncan, the entrepreneur who marketed the first successful parking meter, bought out Flores’ company. Duncan succeeded in turning yo-yos into the first modern children toy craze using new mass advertising techniques. He sent out teams to demonstrate yo-yo tricks. In fact, Duncan hired Flores to serve as one of the first 42 original yo-yo demonstrators.


Yo-yos were among the very first toys marketed directly to children rather than to their parents. Unlike earlier toys, such as Lincoln Logs or dolls, yo-yos weren’t intended to socialize boys and girls into distinctive gender roles. Nor were they sold as educational toys, even though yo-yos can illustrate such principles of physics as motion, friction, inertia, acceleration, momentum, and velocity.


Not surprisingly, the yo-yo has had its ups-and-downs, only to bounce back. Today, it’s possible to buy a yo-yo formed from magnesium alloy with a precision ball bearing axel for more than $400.


Factoid: The yo-yo first appears on Greek pottery dating to 500 B.C., but historians believe it’s been around even longer.


Like many things in history, it is believed that people carried the yo-yo with them to other parts of the world including India and France in the 1700s. A picture of King Louis XVII shows him playing with a yo-yo as a child.


Historical documents reveal that yo-yo was a popular past-time during the French Revolution. This tradition carried on to the 1800’s in which paintings show Napoleon throwing a yo-yo prior to entering the battle of Waterloo.


From there the yo-yo continued its journey around the world becoming a pastime in England and then finally reaching America and eventually into space.  Seriously, in 1985 the astronauts of the Space Shuttle Discovery, brought it with them on their mission!


From schoolyard demonstrators selling hand-carved wooden yo-yos to modern champions touring the globe, the way we play is always changing, but the reasons we play have not. "Yo-yos are not only fun and something to pass the time with, they are a tool of expressionism that fuels everyone’s creativity and inner child. It is a sport that you can play individually or as a team. The best part is that it literally fits in your pocket!


The yo-yo is a universal toy that brings people together, no matter where they are from, what language they speak, what they do for work or what type of personality they have. Yo-yos provide hours of fun, laughter and memories that truly are passed down from one generation to the next.


"You should have the Art you Love."

  • Limited Edition Options

    Size                    # in Edition

    78"x 20"            25

    60"x 15.38"       200

    44"x 11.38"       300

    30"x 7.69"         400

    19.5"x 5"           500



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