Artist Repaints Mass-Produced Celebrity And Character Dolls To The Point They Look Naturally Lifelike (30 New Pics) Interview With Artist
Noel Cruz is an incredible artist who creates lifelike dolls by repainting their original versions. He is most recognized for his celebrity-based models that sometimes are uncanny to look at due to their accurate resemblance to the characters or people they portray.
Noel's one-of-a-kind dolls are done with intricate detail and therefore are highly appreciated among collectors. Surely, a common mass-produced doll cannot compete with Noel's remake. So, we invite you to take a look at these, undoubtedly, masterpieces! What are your thoughts about them?
For more remakes, check out the previous article on Bored Panda!
According to Noel, it all began by a sheer accident: "One summer day in 2001, I was perusing eBay and stumbled upon a 15-inch fashion doll that my wife had been collecting. However, I noticed that this fashion doll's face was significantly different from my wife's dolls' faces. I quickly realized from the description that the doll's face paint had been removed and had been repainted intricately and meticulously to look more lifelike and realistic. I was blown away, having never thought this was even remotely possible. The repaint was in no way a representation of any particular actual celebrity or person but this did not diminish my amazement. Having drawn human portraits all my adult life, this presented a huge inspiration for me to attempt to create one myself."
The fashion doll that was used for the repaint is a doll called Gene, produced by Ashton Drake Galleries. It quickly came to Noel that he could use this doll's face to create the essence of different celebrity dolls by projecting each celebrity's features onto the doll by way of repaint. The Gene doll's facial structure was not based on any particular celebrity, but that did not stop the artist from using the doll's face as a three-dimensional canvas wherein he could paint the features of different celebrities to channel the essence of each celebrity.
"I have long been a fan of many celebrities and so the chance to be able to create their likeness in doll form was something that appealed to me as a unique way of expressing my creativity. It took me several trial and error attempts during that summer of 2001. After weeks of practice, feeling a bit more confident with what I had learnt and achieved at that point, I put the doll on eBay. That very first doll repaint sold for $162.00. At that moment, having most of my artwork just given as gifts to family and friends up until that point, this meant a lot to me. I felt a sense of validation, that a doll collector would appreciate my work enough to buy it as a piece of artwork. Today, twenty-one years later, I have absolutely no regrets about my choice to make this my full-time career."
Diana, Princess Of Wales
Noel's goal is to create a portrait with the utmost attention to capturing a celebrity's likeness. The artist shared that he never really had any formal art training. He learned his techniques from sheer doing, constant trial and error and from watching a few portrait artists in action during his college days.
"The style I developed with dolls is pretty much an extension of my aesthetic as a portrait artist. Therefore each doll I paint is meant to be faithful to the likeness, essence and look of each celebrity, which by that very essence makes creating a celebrity or any specific person more challenging to make because you are bound by the expectation that your work should end up looking like the celebrity you chose to portray."
Vivien Leigh As Scarlett O'hara
We got curious about how long it takes for Noel to repaint one doll. The artist shared that it can take from 3 days to a week (working day in and day out straight). Some dolls require more intricate face painting and hairstyle, so it really depends on each doll. The artist doesn't like to rush when working on a doll. "I like to strive for the best representation and work I can put on each doll, regardless of time."
The biggest challenge of the creative process for Noel is to try and capture that person's likeness he is trying to portray. "By the very nature of my specialty, which is replicating real people and characters, the challenge is always capturing a likeness. However, with dolls, in particular, I have challenged myself further to where the doll would not only look true to the person but also painted in a lifelike manner where people who look at photos of my dolls would do a double-take before realizing they're merely looking at a doll of that celebrity. As challenging as this may sound, ironically, this is the aspect of the creation process that gives me immense satisfaction."
Robert Pattinson As Edward Cullen And Kristen Stewart As Bella Swan
The artist has been truly grateful to receive kind words and appreciation from collectors and fellow artists. According to Noel, he has received countless emails and comments on his social media pages.
Not only do people appreciate the paintwork, but also the meticulous hairstyling, which Noel feels is just as crucial to achieving the level of likeness in replicating actual persons or characters.