INSPIRATION VAULT: Valley of the Dolls

This weekend just gone I was inspired to create a look that I had been meaning to revisit for quite some time..la DOLL FACE! Yet again, time and distractions had managed to get in the way and claw at my creativity!

But on Saturday, fuelled by a moody, wet, wintery afternoon and no set plans for the evening, I found myself pondering ideas, rummaging through some new playthings in my kit and making plans to transform myself into someone a little more…doll like. The promise of a nice, cosy night in creating art – with no need to do anything or go anywhere – was too perfect to pass up!  Here’s a sneak peek at what I got up to!


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And here’s a lil link to the rest of the gallery!

As small background into my thought process, I’ve had a long-held fascination with dolls, stemming from my days as mini-Danee, acting out fantasies and stories with the various dolls and playthings of my youth.  I think many of us can relate, non?


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Throughout the ages, dolls have always had a strange, magical lure over me. I’ve collected vintage doll paintings, miniature dolls, babushka dolls, paper dolls, doll parts, giant black and white doll prints. I’ve made dolls, I’ve ripped apart and deconstructed dolls; I experimented with melting barbie dolls as a young, bored adolescent striking out against what barbie in all her plasticity symbolised. I remember getting really quite high off those burning plastic fumes that day, back in my little shoebox one-bedroom apartment….But man could a melted Barbie doll leg stretch and contort!

 

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Bychkova’s dolls are so fairy tale like and each one is COMPLETELY handmade

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 I remember about 5 years back when we threw a boisterous doll-themed burlesque housewarming soiree.  Themed ‘Welcome to The Dollshouse’, I whipped up a quick showgirl-esque invitation in PhotoPaint and sent it around to the guys and dolls in our posse. We glitzed and glammed up the house like a giant doll’s party den, strung up plenty of glitter and fairy lights and pasted prints of dolls over practically every white space. We dressed ourselves in all our burlesque finery, named ourselves doll-inspired names, and opened our house in all its newly + artfully decorated splendour to some finely costumed friends and magical memories. A sweet, mad, colourful + decadent evening. And I seem to vaguely recall waking up in the park across the road wrapped in a blanket of ivy….fun times!

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Over the years, a lot of my drawing, sketching and graphic design has involved dolls. A piece I created in 2010 entitled “Dolls in the Snowfields” is one I can think of recently. I am also naturally drawn to other people’s art if it contains a doll-like character, in some sort of fantasy setting (cue Ryden). I love their symbolism, innocent yet mysterious, trapped in their own little world shrouded in secrets. They are feminine, mysterious, fragile and delicate. It’s no wonder so many people are captivated by them.

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 I guess to some people, a fascination with dolls could symbolise some kind of immaturity/ naivety, or a lack of progressing from one’s childhood into a fully functioning adult…who knows. Hmm…. who knows. I am not one of these people who obsessively collect all manner of dolls, displaying them museum-style with their haunting eyes and pallid complexions staring at you from every angle. It’s a much milder form of appreciation.

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The doll as a muse is a popular and intriguing source of inspiration for many.  Dolls perhaps fascinate us because of their beauty; their utility as both artwork and plaything; their physical manifestation of our inner dreams; their ability to allow the fantasy of control. We can hold a fantasy in our hands – a beautiful woman, a powerful hero, a child we can raise with love or any number of other permutations. Dolls are a medium, and their stories are endless.

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Trying a doll-like makeup look was a whole lot of fun and offered unlimited potential to explore many different ways and processes!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject! Do you find dolls fascinating or creepy? Do they inspire your work in any way? 


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ALSO, don’t forget to check out the shoot I did over here, and let me know what you think!

Kudos!


xDS

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