Pin Sized Pop Culture – Amy Collins Interview

How do you get over 30 colleagues to shout the lyrics to a 10-year-old song written by a comedy duo from the other side of the world? Simple…pins! This was the state of play at the most recent Constellations staff party. Accompanying a fantastic roast dinner and great company were a handful of Amy Collins’ increasingly-popular, ‘Pin Head’ pins. Themed around the cult television show, Flight of the Conchords, Amy’s pins had quotes and lyrics flying around at the end of summer staff do. Aside from paying tribute to the hit TV show, Amy has also worked alongside a number of famous faces within Liverpool including; Mattas, El Bandito, Down the Hatch, Love Thy Neighbour, Lost Art, Salt Dog Slims, No Fakin’ and many more. Recently, she even collaborated with the Kinematic Cinema and Arts Collective to release a Whoopie Goldberg pin, with all proceeds going towards The Whitechapel Centre. We sat down with Amy to find out more about what got her into the surprisingly unpredictable and international scene of pin making.

“A lot of people don’t get to do what they want anymore; I guess I’m really quite lucky that I am getting to do something creative with my time.” Speaking to Amy, it is clear that she is standing at the centre of a burgeoning scene. With her pins recently finding their way into the hands of Wes Anderson, Amy’s drive to celebrate the things she loves has seen her reimagine everything from Fantastic Mr Fox to South Park in pin form: “When I first got into it, I had every intention of doing horror pins. I even had a few scenes from the exorcist I wanted to do, but you have to be so quick to get onto these different ideas. Every time I wanted to do something, it was already done.” Not to be disheartened, Amy’s fresh approach was where she found her first big breakthrough: “As someone in their 30s, all the 90’s stuff really strikes a chord with me! Although Flight of the Conchords is after all of that, I still feel that it was made for people of my generation. What’s so cool about it was that we still had this slightly geeky show that we all tuned in to. With so many options on television now, people don’t really watch the same stuff anymore. I could sit about with a bunch of 30-year-olds and we could go on for hours about the exact pop culture references inside the show. I just make pins from the things I like, basically!”

Now with over 9,000 followers on Instagram and a clientele that spans as far as Los Angeles and as close to home as Merseyside, Amy’s pins are in global demand: “It’s great, when I started it was a hobby, I wasn’t trying to make any money out of it or anything like that. I just wanted to put things out for people like me who were just a bit geeky.” With Pin Head now becoming an increasingly recognised go-to within Liverpool for everyone from skateboard companies to bars, Amy tells us that: “In 2015, about 80% of my pins were going to California! After that, slowly but surely they reached the rest of America, then to London, and now they’re working their way up North! Thanks to the internet, there are no real boundaries of how far things can go these days. It’s nice to get reactions from all over the world about my pins.”

With a global community of artists becoming increasingly interconnected, it isn’t surprising to hear that one of Amy’s collaborators isn’t even based in the UK: “My collaborator on the Fantastic Mr Fox pins lives in Atlanta! We’ve never met but we have this great friendship and we’re constantly batting ideas off one another. We met through Instagram, he was following me and I drew a picture of one of the Fantastic Mr Fox characters; that’s when he asked me to collaborate on a pin with him. He is an incredible graphic designer and digitizes a lot of my hand-drawn work.”

With her Tortuga pin to hand, Amy has found her most famous fan in the one and only, Danny Trejo! “Gilberto, Danny’s son bought a Tortuga pin from me as a gift for his father. The pin was based on a scene in Breaking Bad where Danny makes a cameo, or rather his severed head does! Gil kindly sent me a photo of his dad wearing my pin!”

Recently, Amy has been active within the local community, running a competition to win 100 custom pins. The winners were Liverpool Girl Geeks in the Baltic Triangle; a wonderful enterprise which encourages teenage girls to learn skills within the tech industry such as coding as their founder, Chelsea, noticed an obvious gender imbalance within the sector: “I can’t wait to get stuck into this pin design project, to help them build their brand and hope to continue to work with LGG more closely going forward.”

Starting out as a hobby, Amy’s pins have since found their way into the hands of film geeks, cult-classic fans, skaters, music lovers, brunch clubbers and even hollywood directors! With the entire team at Constellations now added to the ever-growing list of Pin Head fans, we’re excited to see what will come next…

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Most recently, Amy has created a pin in honour of the late, Megan Hurley. A victim in the Manchester bombings, Megan’s family approached Amy to commemorate her life with a pin. Meg’s brother Bradley chose his favourite photo of Meg and he and Amy worked together on the design, all proceeds from the pins will be going towards a water feature in her memory at Halewood Academy School.

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