Ever wondered where your pretty little dollies went to die? Felt nostalgia over those lost childhood hours of pretend? Well, fear not. There is a heaven for your old Barbies, and presiding over this fantastical world is Freya Jobbins. The Australia-based artist studied sculpture along with painting and printmaking, but sculpting with toys came after giving an artist talk after a rather conservative art show with a lot of young, interested school children.
“The following year as the same show I introduced a head I had made with my children’s unwanted toys, and it was a hit with the kids and the adults. That was seven years ago.”
With no end to the materials she uses – the toys are cheap and easily accessible – she’s continued honing her craft, conjuring up both splendid and fascinating structures of discarded dolls’ arms, and heads, to name but a few. Jobbins explains that her process is dependent on whether it’s a commission or if it’s her own project.
“If it’s a commission, I will start hunting for materials early, like the Batman commission that took 14 months to complete due to finding the right materials as all the pieces on Batman are small Batman figurines and his Batmobile is the back of his head. With works that are my projects, it all depends on materials that I have found already, also if I am working on a body of work for a show and if I have had a great idea for a particular piece that I start searching or hunting for materials.”
This year saw Freya create one of her most beautiful pieces – Cassiopeia. It truly is a captivating work of art, with such meticulous detail, from the hand clasping an iPhone, to the Greco-esque woman staring at it as though it’s an utterly foreign object.
“I am in love with her, I truly like this piece…The hand alone took hundreds of tiny Barbie and Bratz ears to cover – painstaking, but a great result I feel. Each breast is covered by nearly 220 Barbie hands.”
Cassiopeia, view from the front
Cassiopeia, view from the back
Despite her eye for detail and a long list of accolades, Freya remains a delightful, well-grounded woman. She says the secret to her success is to believe in yourself truly, work hard, be persistent and be true to yourself as an artist.
“What keeps me grounded is that I appreciate that I can do what I love every single day. Its not ‘work’ in that sense. I love creating my artworks, I love searching for materials, I love going to schools and talking about what I do, I love the people that I meet through art.”
She goes on to offer some great advice for budding sculptors: Don’t expect offers to knock at your door because they won’t come searching you out – you have to make them notice you. She stresses the importance of working hard, and practising your craft. Having spent many years working on her intricate creations, Freya is living testament to this advice. But she’s also incredibly passionate about what she does, which is imperative for any creative spirit.
“I do what I do because I can’t not do it. So its an obsession for me, slightly more than a passion.”
Although she wrestles with finding enough time and studio space to store her many materials, she’s still as busy as ever. Jobbins is currently working on her latest body of work called 2nd SKIN for her solo show in Melbourne at OFFTHEKERB, set for February 2016. She’s also hoping to travel to the States for a collaboration with another assemblage artist, and has started a large piece using only dolly arms and hands, especially Barbie and Bratz dolls. Freya’s also had interested from a German and a French magazine to include her large skin tone works.
In the meantime, enjoy her riveting pieces, and if you’re planning on throwing your old toys out – don’t! Freya accepts dolly donations from anywhere, especially Barbies and Bratz. Send your soon-to-be-works of art to Freya Jobbins, PO BOX 304, Picton, NSW 2571, Australia.
Adam & Eve
Zeus, Ganymede and Hera