Etc. The magazine I etc. The Magazine I 11 July 2018

About two years ago, Miki came across a “Customized Blythe Doll” on Instagram and was really fascinated. At that time, he also knew that he wanted to individualize “Blythes” himself. Because in the redesign of these dolls Miki saw the opportunity to combine all his passion, creativity and his craftsmanship know-how. Like any artist, of course, he wants to create something with his own hands. But what drives Miki in the first place is the possibility to transform these emotionless industrial dolls into independent beings and characters.

He draws inspiration for his creations from a wide variety of sources, such as his musical love for the artists Björk, Anohni, Kate Bush and Tori Amos, fairy tales from his childhood such as “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, his passion for dark series and films such as “The Monsters” and Tim Burton’s “Nightmare before Christmas”, his enthusiasm for the “Cirque du Soleil” and his admiration for the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen. And it is precisely this fascination for all fairy tales, witches, mysterious, melancholic and avant-garde that he so artfully unites in his craft.

From industrial doll to unique

Basically, Miki acquires whole dolls, but sometimes only individual elements such as body, head or wig. After the doll has been disassembled into its individual parts, the redesign of the face begins, which is the focal point of Miki’s work. Especially the nose and mouth parts are sanded and carved in a multi-layered process and then made up with special pastel chalks and sealed several times. This absolute precision work is done with a wide variety of tools and takes two to three days and nights. If the result does not exactly correspond to Miki’s ideas, the whole process begins anew for the perfectionist. A special feature of the “Customized Dolls” are their eyes. The mechanism of the original doll is changed so that the eyes can now be opened and closed. In this process, up to four pairs of eyes with different eye directions are re-inserted, making the “Doll appear more lively. The eyelids and direction of view can now be controlled with so-called “pull rings”, which are decorated with beads or similar. After the wig has been styled, the doll is reassembled. The “Customized Dolls” is now dressed according to the concept and then photographed. It takes Miki five to seven days to complete the entire transformation process. Mikis “customized dolls” are literally international: the dolls are bought in Japan and their clothes come from different corners of the world. But since Miki has very precise ideas about the garments of his dolls, he wants to have them manufactured in Vienna in the future. At the moment, working as a “Doll Customizer” is still more of a hobby than a profession – but certainly a vocation. As interest in his creations is constantly growing and people around the world are already enthusiastic about his unique pieces, Miki wants to devote himself fully to his passion in the future.

Text: Daniela Heckenast