Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Concept of Beauty

I've been creating these sculptures like Winter Sky for a couple of years now. They're fun, slightly odd animals , but they're more than that too.

When I was a kid, I always wanted a doll like me. I have cerebral palsy and my right arm and leg are atrophied. It would have been nice to have such a doll and say to my friends..."This is me"

When I was training to be an art teacher, I worked on a study with pre -schoolers. The younger a kid is when he or she is introduced to people who are different the more accepting they can be. From what I saw, a kid has a set idea of what is normal by the time they're 6 yrs old. And in a way that's scary.

Most parents want to protect their kids of anything unpleasant or strange, but aren't they doing more damage than good?

I started my dollmaking career creating dolls that were human, somewhat realistic and disabled in some way. They either scared people, offended people or were deemed ugly. A person with Downs Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy looks a certain way... that's just the way it is. Are they really UGLY or just not the standard beautiful? And does it really always have to come down to looks?

I've wanted to be a working artist since I was 5 and crayolaed my Grandma Bartlett's dining room wallpaper. She told me Dad to back off and that I would be an artist. So I decided to figure out some way to make appealing physically different dolls. I finally decided my best option was to work with fantasy or mythological people and creatures.

So far, I've had fairly good success and have only come across people who are afraid of my stuff on random occasions. I figure they're probably the same people who would be upset to see any kind of doll that isn't physically perfect. Hopefully I'll be able to keep promoting the idea of relative beauty and it eventually helps people expand their ideas on what is beautiful.