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.