After all the prep work, the challenges with this piece were her stripey shirt (irritating jolly lines) and her bracelet. Her hair, well, I didn't have to concentrate on this so much as with My Little Dylan, except for being sure to get it right around the hairline. For this, when all the glue was really dry, I gathered it up in a twist of thin wire and made a bun;this was then secured right into her plastic head with sewing needles. Yep, poked 'em right in. But I like to think I really pushed the boundaries here, with adding that small satin ribbon rose in her bun. Although it's hidden mostly by That Hair.
Ah, that shirt. It happens that one is fond of stripey shirts. Too fond perhaps. I have many and if not wearing all black (yes, an occupational hazard) then there's a good chance it'll be one of these. Combining stripey t-shirt with black pants? Say no more. But oh dear, matching those stripes at seams on this little pony, pesky detail issue there; they never do really meet up nicely, not in real life. But also, getting them little lines neat, woof! At least the black pants are easy.
MLAWP shiny gear; yes, she gets shiny accessories, of course! Dangle-ey bracelet and necklace. Earrings looked silly, btw.
The bracelet is modeled on a vintage Schiaparelli one (see below) that I was absolutely delighted to score this at jeweldiva.com, the holy grail treasure box of first class vintage costume jewelry. Based in New York, Connie finds and sells the most gorgeous stuff. I made this pony's one from a few lengths of gold chain and needle & thread. Same for the necklace except I glued on a half pearl - I found a whole sheet of them in assorted sizes in the scrapbooking section at Lincraft, see below.
To make the bracelet: cut a few short lengths of fine gold chain & place a glob of clear craft glue onto the back of an earring stud with the wire stem cut off. Place the chain piece by piece onto the glue with a pair of tweezers, poking one end into the glue with a toothpick. That's essentially how I made this one anyway. Then I took white cotton thread and needle to tie it all up together around the pony's front hoof. The white thread showed a bit so I dabbed a touch of gold paint on to better hide it. The photos below show before touch up & after.
Then, she's good to go although a quick spray with Matt Varnish would diminish those dreadful brush marks in her paint job.
But wasn't that a fun pony ride?!
Oh yes, and here's the serving suggestion:
(And yes, she has no tail. Yet.)
AND THEN, a problem I always get: I started thinking...tooooo much. Always my problem.
But in thinking (or rather, re-thinking) the motives behind self-portraits, particularly portraying oneself as a cartoon doll, I had a look around web-land and found the most cringe worthy images: photos of celebrities with their own dolls. It's a form of narcissism taken to a practical level; we absorb this into our popular culture with a wry smile and shrug of the shoulders. (But it's so weird.) And I am no celebrity, a lifestyle I'd like to maintain, thanks! I will refuse to attend any press engagements accompanied by My Little Pony, I really will.
I console myself that My Pony is a one-off customisation, and anyway, it's "Art" - capital "A" stuff.
BUT THEN I see the work of photographer Ilona Szwarc and her 2012 project, "American Girls", in this article from The Daily Mail UK:
"For more than two years,* Ilona Szwarc has been travelling across the U.S. to photograph hundreds of American girls with their most prized possession: an American Girl doll.
American Girl, whose flagship store on Fifth Avenue sells $110 lookalike dolls with customized clothing, hair, eye and skin color to match its owner, has sold 21 million mini-me's to girls from New York to far-flung Texan towns since its inception in 1986.
Intrigued by how an iconic product can define and nurture the childhood of millions, Polish-born Ms Szwarc, who immigrated to the U.S. in 2008, set out to capture this 'fascinating phenomenon' of a girl and her American Girl doll."
TO MATCH IT'S OWNER! Nooooooo!
From The Huffington Post:
“They were conceived to be anti-Barbie toys modeled after [the] body of a 9-year-old. Each doll can be customized to look exactly like its owner, yet all of them really look the same.”
They customise these dolls and then think they're being unique! What does this all mean for My Little Artworker Pony?! Well I'm not really sure, but the whole thing just seems a bit sinister now.
AND THEN I FIND THIS!...
[speaking to a young girl about her American Girl Doll] "... The idea of owning a doll in one’s own likeness is, in her mind, indicative of the culture we live in: one where young teens think regularly about self-image, creating avatars and retouched self-portraits for Facebook profiles. One 13-year-old girl, when asked to describe her dolls in four words, wrote: “Cool, exactly like me!”" From The New York Times.
AAARGH! Cool like me??? Omg.
I'm picking out the bits that resonate negatively with me here, of course. I'm sure my intention when I made this doll was 'just for a laugh', but as an artist, I also appreciate that artmaking can be a powerful tool for opening examinations within cultural criticism, as Ilona accomplishes so beautifully.
But this project was meant as a break from 'serious' work and to that political stand I shall stick. So I'll stop torturing myself with this. For now. Good grief, I started this post declaring that this piece was hilarious. I guess I'll leave it at that then.