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Background

Dolls: Why?

My dolls are my actors. They play out scenes from my imagination for the film of my camera. 

My dolls are my mannequins. I dress them in outfits and arrange them in poses that I think might look cool.

My dolls are my catalysts for relaxation. When I play with them, I absorb myself with their interactions, their outfits, their personalities and their setting. I think less about the problems of my life I can’t control and more about my dolls, which I can control.

My dolls are my attempt to understand the world. They represent people, which I then put through different configurations. With my plastic cast of characters, I create 1:6 replicas of social situations to inform real life.

My dolls are my raw material. They have paintable faces, removable hair, bodies that can be hacked up and glued back together. To me, “doll” is a material like canvas, paint, stone or words, waiting to be manipulated.

My dolls are my photographic subjects. Because they never change shape or expression, they challenge me to achieve my photographic goals through presence/absence of light, width/narrowness of shot, angularity/straightness of aim and focus/lack of focus in lens. My dolls’ stillness makes my photos’ settings more active and expressive.

My dolls are my tools to find beauty in the world. The placement of a still figure in an active world highlights both the stillness of the figure and the activity of the world. The world plays off the dolls; I can see the world more clearly when comparing it to my dolls, and I can appreciate the change and evanescence of things more poignantly by putting dolls in my line of perception.

My dolls are my thoughts made manifest. They are all characters who used to live intangibly inside my head. When I make a doll of a character, though, the character and the doll unite, so the character takes on a physical form. As a doll, the character is real in a way that my thoughts are not.

My dolls are me. As works of art, they all express some aspect of me. As characters, they are all semi-autobiographical because I write about what I know best, which is me.

My dolls are time capsules. Either in their physical construction or in the ways they act, they remind me of how I used to do things. They are my history in holdable form.

My dolls are works in progress. I change their poses, clothes, hair, body parts and actions over time. They exist continuously, immediately, never finished. Even if I don’t modify their forms, I may change the way that I think about their characters, so they are as much of the present as they are of the past.

My dolls are my role models. I make them do things I’d like to do, but am afraid to do. I make them say and wear what I’d like to, but haven’t yet. I make them act the way that I will some day act when I get up the courage.

My dolls are my characters. Many of my dolls are not dolls OF my characters. They are the characters themselves, which is not to say that they are beings that know that they are dolls. It is rather to say that my dolls are my characters because they unite the imaginary aspect of the characters [what I’ve thought up in my head] with the solid reality that a well-rounded character has. The doll form is like a representation for my characters’ well-roundedness and convincing status.

My dolls are a means of self-examination. I separate aspects of myself from me and encapsulate them in plastic form, then have them play and fight. That way, I can stand back a bit to get a better perspective on how the multitude of people inside me play and fight.

My dolls are expressions of love. I make them with artistic care and pride, a form of love. I also make likeness dolls out of sheer love for the act of creation as well as affection for whoever’s likeness I’m doing. I give my dolls to people as a sign of friendship because I think that doing so might make them happy.

My dolls are my friends. They are well-rounded characters, and they are embodied, albeit in small plastic form, so they are real. Being real, they of course have their own subjectivities and voices. They talk to me. I talk back. A lot of it is me attempting to boss them around or vice versa. We know that the balance of control shifts a lot, so it’s mostly jocular.

My dolls are my equals, not all of them, but the strongest ones, the realest ones. I, as the ego from which I frequently experience the universe, am a created fiction, a character in my own drama. My favorite dolls are created fictions too, just like me. I realize it; they realize it; that’s why we can talk to each other as friends, without abasement or delusions of grandeur.

My dolls are my desires. They may be the kind of friends to each other that I want to be to other people. They act out my fantasies.

My dolls are my memorials. Some of them are based on my friends, my family members, people that I once knew but who now have left my life through death or distance of time. These dolls remind me of what I once loved. They are memories and tributes.

My dolls are my toys!

The Story