When she was six years old, Marina Bychkova made her first doll out of the back of a cereal box. Little did she know that one day her dolls would sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Vancouver artist has what she describes as a "pathological need" to make dolls. What started as a childhood interest soon revealed itself to be her artistic calling. As a student at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, she worked tirelessly to acquire all of the skills needed to create the detailed and expressive dolls of her imagination.
All of her hard work has certainly paid off — the dolls have caught the attention of collectors around the world, and she now has a strong community of fans breathlessly waiting for her next creation. Drawing from fairytales, folklore, literature and world cultures, these delicate figures confront difficult topics that transcend the innocence normally associated with dolls.
The dolls can take over 500 hours to make, with Bychkova undertaking each step by hand - including sculpting, moulding, casting, painting, fashioning clothing, jewelry making, embroidering, and hair styling. In this short documentary from Exhibitionists produced by Mercedes Grundy, filmmaker Lisa Wu takes us inside Bychkova's studio for an intimate look at her process and the inspiration behind her powerful work.
Watch Exhibitionists Sundays at 4:30pm (5 NT) on CBC.