Saturday, 2 February 2013

Day 2 of 28: Miniature artworks

I have a little secret to tell.....I have two identities.
One part of me is Fiona Wilson, the painter and printmaker. Another part goes by the name of Fifilatrixabel and she paints tiny paintings and customises dolls, particularly Japanese collectables like Blythe. During the week I work on Fine Art projects but at the weekends (like today) I get out my tiny brushes, pastels, acrylics and acrylic spray and get to work in my doll lab.

my doll carving tools: let the surgery begin!

Most of you will have no interest in dolls and may think me a little weird for being involved, but I know of stranger hobbies. Blythe dolls have a cult following. They were first made in 1972 by Kenner but were quickly shelved because children found them too scarey, with their big heads and colour changing eyes.They were, however noticed and loveld by photographer Gina Garan, who escalated their popularity amongst adult collectors through her book This Is Blythe.


Now the dolls are made in Japan by Takara, and there are three different sizes, Neos, Middies and Petites. The larger sized ones cost between £80 and £500 to buy. There are many different face molds, hair colours and personalities to choose from. There are also factory version, fakes and clones, as well as similar types such as Icy and Jecci5 dolls. They are also really fun to customise, and some customisers like Gbaby and Melacacia sell their art dolls for over £1000.

Working on a doll commission is more akin to creating a piece of design. You work with the client, who will often have wonderful theme ideas, and you hope for some artistic freedom as well. My speciality is painting tiny pictures on eyelids, and the doll I'll show you first is a Phoebe Maybe Blythe, transformed into Karen Gillan the actress who plays Amy Pond in the Dr Who TV series.

Fashion is a big part of Blythe too.

Gillan with her lips carved as near to the real thing as possible.

Gillan's tiny tardis eyelid art. Smaller than a 5p coin.

OK, so I have outed myself as an adult dolly collector/ customiser. I hope you don't think ill of me, as I love being part of this world, as much as I love making oil painted portraits. Maybe one day I will branch out and try miniature portrait painting to combine the best of both worlds!

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