Monday, May 1, 2017
Mixed Media Dollhouses
I was looking for some instructional/inspirational art books a couple of weeks ago, and I came across one titled Mixed Media Dollhouses by Tally Oliveau. Since I've been creating dollhouses for many years, and I've been dabbling in mixed media/assemblage art for the past couple of years, I thought it would be interesting to combine these two passions and see where it led.
I decided to try it on on a very small scale first, to see if I liked it. I had this tiny box with no lid and I also had some random 1/144th scale doll furniture that I didn't have a use for (I work in 1/12 scale usually). I decided to use these little structures to try out some new ideas and looks. I really wanted to move out of my comfort zone.
This is the first one I created. Not only is it in a different scale than my usual dollhouse creations, but it's very modern looking. My dollhouses are always in a historical time period, or set in an imaginary place. I've never done a modern dollhouse because I live in the modern world, and I use my little worlds to escape the modern world. But I like the look of the exposed brick inside it (a magazine ad); it looks like an apartment in an old mill building in a trendy urban neighborhood. This is also a very minimalist piece, which is also kind of a struggle for me. I love to fill my little houses up, and it was hard to leave these tiny pieces of furniture as they are, and not put food on the table or find some little figures to sit in the chairs. It's pretty much the opposite of my style, but I'm okay with it because I was able to try something new, and it doesn't take up any space, and it didn't cost any money.
I am in the habit of saving magazine pages that have interesting colors/designs/photos. The page that is the back wall of this next piece was in my collection for years and years. I love the gingham, the gerbera daisies, and the vintage camera, but I couldn't find a good use for the page. I decided to let it inspire a new mixed media dollhouse; a modest mid-century dwelling for a young woman. Maybe it's a dorm room, or a studio apartment. It doesn't matter if it's tiny and cramped because it's her own. Maybe she's a grad student, or an editorial assistant at a publishing agency.
I wasn't originally going to have an occupant for this house, but then I saw this vintage paper doll, and she looked perfectly at home in there. This one was closer to my usual style. It could actually be 'played' with, and it's about 1/12 scale, but like I wrote before- modern really isn't my thing.
The last one I have (for now) was inspired by a new TV show I'm watching: Harlots. I like the characters and the storyline, but I love the sets and the costumes. The colors and stylistics remind me a lot of the 2006 Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette, so I infused those cotton candy colors and delicate details into this assemblage.
Obviously this one is really more an assemblage, kind of like a shadow box, rather than an actual dollhouse. I had to keep reminding myself that it's OK if the pieces are glued down, or if pieces are different sizes/scales because the point is to communicate a theme, not for everything to have a function.
It's about excess, and indulgence.
This is my favorite part of the movie:
Now I need to go eat a million desserts.