Today’s featured doll artist is proof that you don’t need genius technical skills or phenomenal attention to detail to be successful. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that Christine Alvarado doesn’t have those qualities — but the charm of her dolls is their sketchlike simplicity. I would call them folksy or primitive, except for their luscious, urban-styled costumes. I want to pick them up and play with them.
I haven’t discovered yet what they’re made of, but Alvarado’s dolls are simply sculpted (or maybe cast from molds) and heavily painted with dreamy, cartoon-like faces. They have simple shoulder joints, and some have bent arms. The legs seem to be jointed too, although the leg joints are firm enough to stand, at least when propped against something. The dolls have costumes that range from simple print dresses to luxurious velvet coats.
The costumes are half of the charm of these pieces. I love how Alvarado uses graphical prints, just the right amount of texture, and unexpected trimmings. Some of the pieces have crocheted lace for scarves or fancy braid for necklaces. Many of them come with extras, like little cats to hold in their laps, masks that actually fit them, or painted portraits of themselves. And then there are her equally lovely mermaids, which have less costume but more embellishment.
By the way, I’m not exactly sure (and I’m too lazy to look it up) but this blog is about a year old now, and I want to thank everybody who reads regularly. Please leave me a comment — I love your feedback!
Anyone feel like we need the same thing on DeviantArt?
Forgive me, but before I start this review, I just have to say that today’s featured artist, Anita R. Collins, has a fabulous website. Not only does she post skillfully made photos of her work (as as I have often state, I admire good photographers because I’m not one), but she also includes commentary on many of her art dolls, which is always my favorite part of any website. Besides that, she has a great “bio” section which is really more like an artist statement, and a dark, moody theme to the whole site that complements her work perfectly.
But on to her work. Collins isn’t just another eBay fairy sculptor. Her work is certainly above average in its realism, beauty and detail, but beyond that, shes creates a sense of mood in her work that is really something special. Her pieces have a distinctly adult edge, displaying their anatomical correctness and sometimes showing evidence of violence, tattoos or scarification, but there is still a haunting beauty that shows through in each piece.
One thing I love about her work is her unflinching use of media. Many artists are wedded to either sewn costumes or sculpted ones (and I have long maintained that the popularity of fairies as subjects is partly because sculptors who don’t like to sew can wind a little cheesecloth around them and call it costume), but Collins’ figures wear either medium equally well, depending on what the artist is trying to accomplish. Their costumes, hair and accessories often display a careful attention to details and their effect on the work as a whole.
Everything about Collins’ work is fresh and reexamined. Her mermaids don’t have scaly tails. She makes crowns out of polymer clay and microbeads. Her angels have wings instead of arms. She makes animal-human hybrids that go beyond the usual centaurs and fauns to include seals, octopi, cats and — I swear to you — coral. Really. See the picture at the top of this entry?
Visit Collins’ website for a great viewing experience (and I haven’t even mentioned her cool dragon-head beads or her adorable netsuke sculptures) or her DeviantArt account for a few more pictures and commentary.
What’s the difference between kinetic sculpture and automata? I’m not sure where the line is. Either way, though, this studio’s work is creepy and amazing at the same time. Visit the first, second and third YouTube videos from Sharmanka to get a better idea of her pieces’ kinetic action. How do you build something so huge? Goodness.
Sharmanka is actually a collaboration between sculptor/engineer Eduard Bersudsky and theater director Tatyana Jakovskaya and based in Glasgow, Scotland. Apparently their work is exhibited as theater, which makes sense, I suppose, given how large and complex it is. Check out their website for more pictures. Sorry, I’m not going to copy any here; it’s too late at night.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Susan Lomuto blogs about previously-featured artist Scott Radke on her Polymer Clay Notes blog. I like her observation that the widely-spaced eyes of his creatures make them seem vulnerable despite their creepiness.
So that’s what UTEE is for!
Here’s a neat uTube video showing how to cast pirate skull jewelry in UTEE, in case anyone (like me) has been trying to figure out what that stuff was for.
Happy Birthday to mee….
I’ll give you a real post tomorrow, which is my birthday. Well, I don’t actually celebrate my birthday anymore. Actually, I celebrate the anniversary of my 25th birthday. Makes me feel much better.
It seems like a contradiction in terms, but Kat Soto’s beautiful dolls are somehow elegant and awkward at the same time. They have dreamy, long-nosed faces reminiscent of Dutch Renaissance paintings, but at the same time, their overlarge feet and stiff fingers give them an endearing awkwardness, like a teenager just growing into her beauty. Add to that delicate costumes and accessories and complicated settings, and you have dolls who are beautiful but also full of personality.
So far, I have been unable to discover a biography on this artist. What I do know about her is that she works in the U.S. and she seems to work as a sculptor and moldmaker in her day job. Her dolls are poseable, at least in the arms and knees, and probably in the necks as well. They may be cast from resin. I love the way the fingers are posed — check out the hand holding the cigarette in the doll above. I’d love to know how she makes her fairy wings; they’re shiny and highly textured, with gold edges, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen any done like these before.
My eyes were bigger than my blog post, apparently, and I snagged more pictures than I should have. Here’s the link to her website, where there are even more gorgeous pictures, not to mention a really cool interface. Go take a peek, it’s totally worth it.