“We are sorrowful spirits,and Sorrow is too great to exist in small hearts.”- Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil perfectly captures the graceful essence of Forgotten Hearts Dolls and their creators AiiS Roman and Gamalier Bravo. Forgotten Hearts dolls are timeless works of art gracefully derived from porcelain. Each intricate piece is skilfully crafted with real hair, tattoos, and outfits inspired by styles such as Anime, Art Nouveau, Harajuku,Victorian,Gothic and many others.
Their wistful features are both alluring and haunting – large melancholic handmade glass eyes skilfully crafted one individual eyelash at a time and hand painted features embody their makers unwavering love and skill.
I spoke with Aiis to delve further into the minds of the masters that effectively bring these dolls to life:
Can you tell me about your artistic backgrounds and how you came to focus on creating dolls?
I cannot remember my childhood NOT being creative . Since my early years my mom and dad let me experiment with all kind of materials. They told me I was an artist and I believed them. I owe most of what I am today to them. From a very early age I developed a fascination to draw, paint and create all sorts of things. I was a quiet, shy introverted child with a constant unsatisfied thirst for knowledge about the arts and crafts.
I studied business in college which I did not pursue and decided to trust my heart. I ended up teaching myself everything I know about arts. As a self taught teenager I became pretty good at classical oil painting. I studied the old masters, and Victorian artists such as William Adolpe Bouguereau and Sir Frederic Lord Leighton by myself. I was not the average teenager. I was definitely a young lady with an old soul with a keen sense of purpose, deeply in love with classical/spiritual music and art. All this became a solid foundation of what Forgotten Hearts is about.
I met Gamalier in 2011 not knowing he was my neighbor since I was little. A very talented artist. Since then Forgotten Hearts dolls are made by the two of us. He has the knowledge I do not have and vice versa. We make a great team as an artist couple.
What is your favorite part of the doll making process ? Making of the dolls themselves or seeing an idea come to fruition?
There are many favorite parts to the doll making process. From having an idea on our minds, to putting it to paper and finally seeing it come to life.
Being able to create something this amazing with raw materials, that is our favorite part which is basically all. But if I were to choose one favorite part it is the creative process which most of the times is the last part. Having something to say, an idea, a theme and see it come to life.
Great thought is given towards the choice of music, the video acompaning some of the dolls and the materials used, what made you decide this was the best way to portray your dolls?
I see our creations as an expression of “Art” not merely dolls. There are a part of my heart and soul. They are the messengers of my inner self. They are a combination of thoughts, emotions, secrets, fantasies, and personal experiences. The kind of music we choose is very important, as music itself is part of the essence of Forgotten Hearts.
Each doll has a story to tell, such as Era & Mimosa on motherhood, or concepts relating to women is it hard to capture their story?
No it’s not hard, as most of the ideas are born through good and bad experiences. Such is the example of Era and Mimosa as a spiritual metaphor. As a mother myself I envisioned how God sees and creates children from a simple breath. A symbiosis of life and fragility.
Your dolls such as Meshhenet & Mekhebit, Aiko, Lian and Huan do they serve to highlight culture, religion and spirituality ?
I have always been fascinated with those cultures that show deep respect to the afterlife, religion and therefore spirituality.
Where did the idea come from for dolls that address spirituality and integrity of character, my favorite being daughter of Athena, Illumiata & Luminosa – is it important for you to show such characters and if so why?
Since I remember creating art, I had a very strong urge to paint, draw, sculpt winged beings. From Angelical, Fantasy, Mythical, Celtic, you name it I was drawn to that. Also, the kind of music I choose has a lot to do with it. I prefer instrumental, classical, lounge and mostly new age kind of music.
Fairy tale concepts such as Fiona & Grey, Lenor, The Poisnous Frog and Acurariana, are these dolls based on ideas to highlight your own experiences or purely fictitious?
They are fictional and I always like to create a character and story.
Their eyes are simply captivating , melancholic or forlorne – I know it may be a secret but how do you go about capturing that expression?
People say “Eyes are the windows to the soul” Well… They are my soul. I’m a pretty quiet person so, I let them do the talking.
Outside of creating dolls what influences you creatively?
Many things can trigger my creativity. I have a constant thirst for more and the great things of this amazing universe. I like to read about the undiscovered worlds, aliens, science, the universe, other cultures and their religions. This is what mostly influences my creativity.
What is the soul objective to creating your dolls?
My main objective is to tell a story, a glimpse of a vision I was fortunate to have in one certain moment. The fantastic tales of infinite possibilities. Other worlds that live on my mind where beings such as the ones we create exist.
Your dolls are mesmerizing – I’m Irish – how would you capture the essence of an Irish doll, given the fact we are known to have a spirited nature but melancholy maybe from some years of oppression in our history?
I have always been inclined to include magical stories on our dolls. The Irish culture is full of enchanted elements. An Irish Forgotten Heart doll could be complimented with an essence of supernatural beings rich in gothic traditions.
Finally what are your plans for the future with Forgotten Hearts Dolls?
I do not know what the future of Forgotten Hearts is, but I know something for sure. I’m a perfectionist which tends to get bored pretty easy. So, innovation and re-invention is a key part of our success.