I remember barbie dolls, large dolls and the occasional boy doll or Ken. However since I had sons, dolls haven’t been in my life for over 30 years and all of a sudden they seemed to have grown up!
Barbie is no longer the doll of today, it’s all about art-house dolls.
I have never noticed before but there are now porcelain ball-jointed-dolls known as BJD dolls. And they have become life-like, mature, modern, edgy and arty all at once. Playing dolls is now for the post pubescent, adults and collectors; these high priced hand-made dolls are sought after world wide.
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 captures a new art form totally engaged in female beauty, sexuality and high end fashion.
Dolls have grown up.
A new modern art has emerged of fashionable tattooed women, bi-sexual in nature. Of homogeneous males and sculpted cult fantasies which are being recreate. From down right 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, make up and jewellery vary wildly as does clothing and decorative features such as elfin ears, tattoos and body carvings.
The hand made Enchanted Dolls by Marina Bychkova have a nude starting price of $15,000 and last year one of her costumed dolls sold on ebay for a staggering $48,000. Marina is just 27 years old and started making paper cut-out dolls from age 8.
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.
Move over Barbie .. you have been left behind!
I am fascinated, somewhat disturbed and wonder what happened to the innocence of dolls. Yet I am awed by the artistic skill and just cant stop staring at the world of ball joint dolls. I hope you also enjoy them and you can read more on BJD Magazine here.
ALWAYS THE ARTIST