Our design process starts with an attitude. We find inspiration in strange and unusual imagery: beautiful but disturbing, intriguing yet provoking feelings of uneasiness. Unique faces, outrageous hairstyles, century-old religious icons, ornately embellished wax effigies—these are the creative seeds for many of our figures. Animation has been a driving force in both of our lives. As children we were each fascinated with animated window displays, stop-motion puppets, mechanical toys—anything that came alive through movement. We met in Chicago in 1978 and combined the knowledge and strengths of our diverse art backgrounds, which led to the creation of our first “doll,” a stop-motion puppet for a national television commercial, which, in turn, led to a career in special effects.
The most important thing we have learned as artists is to stay focused on the original concept and resist “new and improved” revisions that can result in the design feeling “forced.” If the idea is inspiring, but not right for the character, or compromises the design, we save it for the next project.
Our work has been featured in national and international art doll magazines, and is in many private collections throughout the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe. In 2018 we were given the golden Max Oscar Arnold Award in “Category 13. The best overall work of an established artist” by the Cultural Council of Neustadt bei Coburg, Germany.
Our figures are often described as “scary,” but to us they look quite benign. We suspect the direct eye contact with the viewer is the cause of the uneasiness, creating the sensation that the figure is looking back, so the observer wonders: “Who is watching whom?”