Red Nose Studio

February 23, 2008 at 9:32 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Editor’s note: I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blog for a while. My husband and I are both out of work now, and it’s been hard to get motivated to do much of anything. But today I was inspired to post about Red Nose Studios, and I got to musing about dollmaking, so I thought I’d share.

Why do dollmakers limit themselves to sculpting individual figures? Are we so fascinated by the human form that we just aren’t inspired to art by anything else? Maybe that’s why so many people are passionate about dollhouses; they’d be making art dolls, only they like to design the whole environment. Traditional dolls don’t have environments because they’re meant to be handled and played with, but art dolls don’t have this limitation. Are we allowing our art to be limited by its links to traditional play toys? I’m not sure that’s a legitimate reason to limit artistic expression. But we have to draw lines somewhere, or we couldn’t categorize things in any useful manner (imagine if eBay only had one category called “Art”!).

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Okay, enough philosophizing. Today’s artist is Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio, and he is certainly not limited to creating figures. He sells his work as illustrations in magazines and books, and as such his pieces are very expressive. I love his way of stylizing not only the proportions of his figures and their environments, but also their colors. I wonder how much of the expressiveness of his work depends on his photography skills, rather than just his crafting. I envy people who are great photographers; I suck at it.

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His figures, with their prominent noses and streamlined profiles, remind me a bit of Edward Gorey‘s illustrations. I’m not sure what they’re made of; his website says his pieces are made of, “wire, fabric, cardboard, wood, miniatures and found objects,” but that seems to describe the figures’ environments rather than the figures themselves. To me, the faces look like air-dry clay or papier mache.

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The question is, are they dolls? I guess everyone has to decide that for themselves.

Check out Sickel’s work at his own website or his agent’s portfolio. Here’s a great article about his background and creative process on Illustration Friday.


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