Barbie is no longer the doll of today, it’s all about art-house dolls.
A new generation of dolls has become life-like, mature, modern, edgy and artsy all at once. Playing dolls is now for the post-pubescent, adults and collectors; these high priced hand-made dolls are sought after worldwide.
Articulated dolls have been around since ancient Egypt, however, BJD arrived in the late 1800’s early 1900’s predominantly as figurines for artist models and not for collection. A Japanese artist commenced making clay bisque fired BJDs in 1980 and the art as we know it today became a commercial hobby in 1999 when a Japanese firm Volks released the first cast resin BJD.
Suddenly these humanly emotive dolls capture a new art form totally engaged in female beauty, sexuality and high-end fashion.
A new modern art has emerged of fashionable tattooed women, bi-sexual in nature. Of homogeneous males and sculpted cult fantasies which are being recreated. From downright sexy anatomically correct right through to controversial Lolita-style poising.
The process of making these dolls is highly intensive. They range from paper clay, bisque fired, porcelain and cast resin. Each doll is individually hand and spray painted with many layers of fine detailing.
Freckles, skin tones, eyebrows, makeup, and jewelry vary wildly as does clothing and decorative features such as elfin ears, tattoos, and body carvings.
They are all amazingly humanly pose-able. The internal stringing of elastics and wire with suede ball coverings and finely detailed hands have collectors scrambling for assortments of dolls. Fashion houses and magazines are chasing them for high-end shoots.
Now, some may argue that these dolls are influencing in negative ways. The lean, skeletally enhanced and alien-like pretty faces may tell a story of false and unachievable beauty to a younger and more vulnerable audience… but the fact remains that these are no Barbie or Bratz dolls for seven-year-olds to play dress up with. They are art pieces, first and foremost. And, if you look to these dolls with a broader mind, the sisters utilize the kookiest and stereotypically ‘unattractive’ assets of a girl.
Sometimes they are inspired by children’s faces because they are often much more expressive. They even state trying to “emphasize charm in obvious flaws – stick up ears, chips, uneven teeth and so on, and turn them into individual advantages”, which is what acceptance of unique beauty in today’s society is all about.
In an interview, they also spoke about the essences and auras of characteristics they wish to embody in their dolls… a few including Madonna, John Galliano, Dita von Teese, Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson and Ville Valo. Notice something? They are ALL game-changers in The Arts. Unaccepted by many and questioned by all. Beauty is non-definable, and these dolls emulate that notion.
They are heralded as the “new wave of Russian art-doll designers”. Elena and Ekaterina Popovy‘s eerie and surreal creations captivate the viewer from the first moment, as only true works of art are capable of doing. The sisters are Perm natives, have studied art and fashion design in the Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts in Yekaterinburg, and yet their passion for designing and sculpting art dolls became evident, bridging a variety of artistic disciplines. It would be a sin to claim otherwise in saying that this team of two is anything less than the future of redefining beauty.
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