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.
Bonnie Jones is an ODACA artist who lives in Mississippi. Her career as a doll artist has traveled from cloth dolls, where she made her start, to elegant Old-World style Santas to fantasy figures.
Her Santas are well-costumed, sometimes based on Santa traditions in other countries. They carry bags of vintage or vintage-looking toys and some of them are amazingly lifelike sculpts. I really like the one pictured above with Santa in his nightshirt titled, “The Night Before.”
Jones has a taste for Halloween as well, and I wish I had found her when I was looking for Halloween artists. Her Halloween line is more vintage than creepy, but there are definite Goth influences. If her work is any guide, I have to say that Halloween at her house looks like a lot of fun.
Jones uses her Santa-sculpting experience to good benefit in her fantasy figures, which include elderly witches, angels and wizards, as well as the typical lineup of youthful fairies and elegant ladies. All her pieces have a mystical quality and a kind of peaceful ambience that I like very much. Her costuming relies on texture more than color to draw your interest, and in my opinion does so quite well.
Whew, am I exhausted. Today we set up our booth and did the preview thing for the Halloween Art Spooktacular. Let me tell you, this is the coolest show. It’s in this awesome neighborhood in St. Joseph, Missouri, in this gorgeous old Victorian mansion. What better place for a Halloween show? The inside is all decorated for Halloween, people were wearing their costumes and everything. And best of all, there were two other dollmakers, Lucky Stradley and Pat Benedict, in the show, whose work is really to die for, no pun intended. (Well, okay, maybe a little bit.) It was so much fun.
So, if you’re in the Kansas City or St. Jo area tomorrow, head up to the Wyeth-Tootle Mansion and pop in to say hi. It’s only $5 and it’s really awesome. And if you’re interested in making dolls, be sure to stop by our booth, because we’re passing out fliers for our doll club, MCODA. I’ll be the one in the pirate hat with the peacock feather.
If you live in the area and you’re interested in dolls, but you can’t come to the show, drop me a line and I’ll send you a copy of the next newsletter so you can come visit our club. We have a lot of fun.
Obligatory disclaimer: I’ve got an Etsy shop of my own, but half of the fun of Etsy is people promoting each other’s art, so here goes.
You may have seen my pumpkinhead pins in an earlier post. Well, recently I was perusing Etsy and noticed that I’m not the only one doing jack-o-lanterns this time of year. I was going to make an Etsy treasury, but they were all full, so I decided to post them here instead. I’m sure there are many more fabulous pumpkin sculptures on Etsy, but I only have room for these:
CLB Creations has added this goofy pumpkin to her lineup of silly dragons and humorous aliens. What character! He looks like he just swallowed his candle!
Just in time for Halloween, artTherapy has decided to break into the world of needle sculpting with a bushel of charming pumpkins of various sizes and colors. Very cute.
Moogancreations ‘s shop full of “craft related mishaps” is like a rogue’s gallery from another planet. She describes the process of creating this needlefelted pumpkin as “stabbing wool roving repeatedly with tiny sharp needles to create a mass of ghoulish delight.” You can almost hear the poor gourd screaming…
“Clyde the Pumpkin Boy” is a lively offering from faeryspellcreations. Her shop is filled with fairy-themed hats, dolls, bags and masks, but Clyde and his friends Mollie and Hattie are definitely my favorites.
Here’s another creepy/Goth inspired doll artist. Michelle Steele is known on Flickr as Darksidedolls, and the title is a fitting one. A quite versatile artist, Steele offers paintings, jewelry and needle-felted plushies as well as hard-media art dolls on her Etsy site. Although she makes well-sculpted fairy-type dolls with a Goth twist, I have to confess that it’s her creepy ornaments that captivate me. Made from a wide variety of media including papier mache, Apoxie Sculpt, porcelain, and earthen clay, these quirky figures sometimes incorporate purchased doll heads. They’re a great mix of creepy and cute.
Edit: For some reason, this post gets more hits than any other post on my blog. If you got here from a search engine or bookmark, I’d like to invite you to take a look at some other blog posts you might like:
I’m sending off my doll club’s entry to our Halloween show today, so it feels appropriate to blog about Scott Radke.
A talented painter, Radke turned from murals to sand sculpture a few years ago, and from there to sculpting what he calls “marionettes.” His work has that creepy-strange quality that’s so popular in certain quarters these days, both repellent and fascinating. While other people make mermaids and fairies, he makes sea monsters and weird human-headed animals.
Somewhere I have a graphic design book that includes a color palette based on the colors found in dead bodies. Radke captures that palette perfectly and combines it with traditionally creepy details, like pointy hats and black-and-white stripes. I wonder what Halloween is like at his house…