You are a sculptress of articulated dolls. You blend your eclectic experiences together and breathe life into your dark, whimsical characters. How did you begin your journey in this particular medium?
About 14 years ago I went to a doll show and I fell in love with a stunning doll that was standing naked on a rock and braiding her full green hair. It was like every dream I’ve ever gathered together was concentrated in that piece for me. I lost every battle with my own sense and had to possess it. I asked how much it was and was returned with a number too out of reach for myself at the time. Oh… the initial disappointment and the wish to be better became my engine. I decided to make her myself. I found some random doll making class-it was a crafting class for housewives and old ladies. But I made my first doll and was invited to exhibit it at an art showcase. I sold it on the first day and since then I’ve been making dolls.
You mention your ongoing journey with mental health issues as inspiration for your work. How has art and creative expression helped you in your healing process?
When I started I had a very poor state of mental health so I always needed to be busy – with my mind in my hands. It’s good when you are productive. But the downside of it is that you are never satisfied. I made the PashaPasha doll and called her by twice my own name as a reminder to myself about my other side. I perceive it as a mirror world. It is not reality but another version of myself. It’s my thoughts transferred to another side. I don’t believe in reflections. At some point, my schizophrenia was in such a bad state that I wouldn’t recognize myself in the mirror- I would see my reflection there. It would have my features-my hair, my cheeks, my lips, my eyes- but it wasn’t me. It’s hard to explain. You just need to feel it. PashaPasha is kind of my reflection. But it’s not a true reflection. They never are.
You recently created an amazing piece for artist Troy Brooks to use as a muse in his upcoming series. What inspired you to create this stunning figure for Troy and how did this collaboration transpire?
I was an admirer of his art. But in the sense that, rather than wanting to just possess his paintings, I wanted to be in his paintings. To be in that world. To live in it. When Troy asked me to make a doll for him that would be an inspiration for his new collection, I realized – that’s it! That’s how I could be in his world. I tried to create a special look for her. I looked through his paintings again and again and tried to catch this red line that goes through all his work.
You have a very fashion oriented Instagram series of figures that get a lot of attention. In essence, you are also a fashion designer for your creations as you create their custom looks. Your Vivienne Westwood series captured her unique style but you made it your own. Can you tell me more about how Vivienne has breathed inspiration into your work? Are you fond of any other fashion designers?
Oh yes. Almost all of them. I loooove Mugler…Jean Paul Gaultier. I’m actually never any good at making replicas of clothing. That’s why my Vivian was an inspiration rather than a replica. Usually, I’m not good at sewing real replicas of clothes. Because I’d rather just manipulate the fabric into looking some way but to make a working replica requires making patterns. So now I partner with tailors who can translate my ideas. And since I’ve gotten so busy lately with all my orders, I’ve realized that it’s good to divide up some labor. Of course, it’s hard-it’s always in the back of your head that they never will produce the same quality job as if you did it yourself. But then you see that it’s not true. And sometimes it’s even better. Because they add to your vision. I’m open to any partnering if it’s an amazing artist.
You work alone as you believe the images in your mind are too complex to explain to others. Do you prefer to work alone or would you ever collaborate with another artist or fashion brand?
I would love to partner with some real fashion brands if they would take me seriously. I’m still not sure if people outside of the fashion doll world take it seriously as an art form It’s a different kind of art that you can touch and play with. So I think people belittle it in comparison with other “regular” contemporary art. Maybe. People still don’t expect that collectors can pay thousands in some cases for dolls like these. But in my opinion, it should have that price tag. It’s art, it’s a luxury, and it’s an investment. You can actually resell them for the same or in some cases even greater money. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that.
I think it’s always hard to evaluate art. The same as it’s hard to understand why art was evaluated that much or that little. Some people count by how big the piece is. Some by how long it took to be made. When in my opinion it’s always harder and takes longer when you are inexperienced. And the more experienced you are the easier and faster it gets. So I don’t think time has any valuation in art. Also. You can’t measure art in inches. Or weight. It’s not a potato. It’s your idea. Your vision. It’s my translation of the world that I see through my eyes. Only mine. And nobody can do the same.
What’s next for you? Do you have any inspiring projects you are working on that you are looking forward to?
I made my PashaPasha Mini! It is a standard fashion doll size (43cm long). When I first made PashaPasha, I made her for myself. So that she would be comfortable for me-big enough for all the details I love but also not too big. But because of that, she fell in between 2 standard sizes-1/3 (of a human body) and 1/4. Even though BJDs are a very independent art, it still has a subculture with rules. And the people who are in it like to buy “friends “ in the same scale of dolls. So that they can share clothes or wigs or other accessories. The original size of PashaPasha has no one of the same scale – she is on her own. So finally, I made a version of PashaPasha in the standard fashion size. It’s hard because it’s kinda like starting from zero. But at the same time, it’s exciting. She feels even more precious because she is so small. Then, of course, I’m always making more and more 3D printed accessories for my dolls – shoes, gloves, even hair. I think I can definitely call myself a “3D Print” girl. There are just so many possibilities. I can see myself printing out a larger-than-life-size PashaPasha. I’m getting there.