Delicate beauties with soulful eyes and sensual lips. Their outfits are adorned with precious metals, gemstones, and rare found objects. As they look back at you, you can see all the things they wish they could say on their expressive faces. These are Marina Bychkova‘s anatomically correct ball jointed dolls. More than just beautiful objects, her elegantly sculpted and meticulously painted works of art are the reflections of her thoughts on numerous social issues and aspects of our humanity.
Marina Bychkova is a Russian-Canadian figurative artist who has been making dolls ever since she was a 6-year-old girl. Some of her earliest memories were of the beautiful dolls she wasn’t able to play with because they only existed inside of her mind. It took her thousand of tries; but, eventually, she was able to bring those dolls into reality. And, from then on, she has never stopped creating her next perfect doll.
During her years as an student at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (Vancouver, B.C, Canada), she was exposed to social, psychoanalytic, and feminist theories. Since then, she infuses her works with multiple layers of personal, social, and psychoanalytic interpretation.
This piece, for example, is a tribute to breast cancer fighters. It also is Marina’s attempt in working through her personal fear that one day she may be among the numerous women who suffer from this devastating disease.
And, this doll is Marina’s personal response to Synthia R. Daniels’ book: “At Women’s Expense: State Power and the Politics of Fetal Rights.”
Marina also uses revisionist fairy tales to explore various social and psychological issues.
Her Beauty and the Beast doll explores the issue of Stockholm Syndrome. Her Snow White and Prince Charming dolls delve into the Prince’s necrophilia. And, her Princess and the Pea doll explores the possibility that the Princess is actually suffering from a medical condition called hemophilia.
Nevertheless, the very first things most people notice upon viewing her works are her beautiful designs and astounding craftsmanship. Her formal training in jewelry-making definitely contributes in the creation of her dolls’ bejewelled sterling silver (gold-plated) outfits.
Unlike many ball jointed artists, Marina Bychkova chooses not to give her dolls glass eyes. Instead, she hand-paints each one of them.
Depending on the complexity of the doll’s costume, Marina’s dedicates 150 to 350 hours of her life to bring each of her dream dolls into reality. It’s a true labor of love, and it shows.