Monday, May 23, 2011

My New Inspiration - Son of Ellis

One of the greatest compliments that I can receive is that "You inspire me".  That makes me feel just as good as when someone buys a piece of furniture that I made.  Just hearing those words keeps me creating. One of my purposes in life is to inspire others to do something that brings them joy.  So, I am inspired to keep doing what I do, not only because it brings me joy, but it seems to make others happy, too.  This weekend I was truly inspired.

When I run across an artist/person that has something to offer the world, I feel obliged to encourage that person to move forward.  Sometimes we lack the confidence to put ourselves out there.  "What happens if they don't like my work."  "But it's not perfect."  "I'm not ready, yet."  All things we tell ourselves to keep us from moving forward.  So that is where I come in.  Lately I have run into a couple of unique artists that have something to offer the doll world, especially in the arena  of ethnic dolls.  That is still an area that is sorely lacking, in my opinion.  How many of us have complained about the lack of ethnic male figures available today?  I use the term ethnic, because it is not just African-American.  It is Asian, Hispanics, etc.  The current doll world is not reflective of the new changing world that we live in.  Another thing that some of us complain about is hair.  Don't get me wrong, I like some of my dolls to have long flowing hair, but not all of them.  Where is the variety?  That's why some of us 12" collectors were so happy to see Trichelle from the S.I.S. line.  And how many little AA 3 year old girls you know are walking around with hair down their butts.  (Note to self - start that AA Kelly reroot soon).  Bottom line is, we can't wait for Tonner, Wu, and Mattel to make these changes, it just may have to come from within the ethnic communities.  And what's wrong with that.  Can anyone see the incredible business opportunity that is there, besides me?

This brings me to SonofEllis.  Some of you may know him.  He is an incredible artist that works with 16" fashion dolls.  Here is a link to his Flickr photostream.   He does incredible transformations with the dolls, particularly the male dolls.  At least that is what I noticed the most.  His dolls look like people you see walking down the street.  I swear I have dated some of those men in his pictures. (Or at least wanted to.  I could never get the pretty boys.).  Not only does he transform the dolls, but he designs and makes clothes, shoes, and handbags.  I have not seen anyone else out there doing what he is doing.  His dream is to design his own doll and fashion line.  There is only one problem.  He doesn't think he is that good.  This brother has an incredible gift that the world needs to see.  It is my belief that he is "that good".  Now I just have to convince him of that.  (I know what some of you may be thinking. I also need to convince him to do some 12" men.  That may be a harder sell, but I will try)

Photo property of Two-Spirit
This photo belongs to the lady, Two-Spirit, who introduced me to SonofEllis.  Make sure you check out her Flickr photos, too.  She does incredible dioramas for 16" dolls.  The four guys in this photo were transformed by SonofEllis. This is the only photo that I have access to, so you will have to see his other male, and female transformations on his Flickr account.  I love that his men span the entire color spectrum. I believe that most, if not all, of his dolls are wearing his own creations.  I also believe that the artwork in the backgrounds on his Flickr stream also belong to him.

So what do you think?


  1. Thank you for this post, Vanessa. Yes, SOE is a very talented artist. I follow his blog and he follows mine. I love his artwork as much as I love his doll makeovers.

    I cosign on your statements,

    "We can't wait for Tonner, Wu, and Mattel to make these changes [the dolls and fashion styles we desire], it just may have to come from within the ethnic communities."


    "This brother has an incredible gift that the world needs to see."


  2. DBG - I just wish I had the money to put behind him. It would also help if he recognized how talented he is. Nonetheless, I am going to do all that I can to encourage him to move forward on some level.

  3. The guys look good, though I understand nothing in 16" dolls and don't know, how they looked in original.

    It's always great when other people's work inspires you to do something yourself. When I see something perfect, that other people make, I just think, that I should never, never at all do something myself, because my work will never be perfect, and who in the world needs the bad result of bad work, when the perfect creations exist? When I didn't have Internet and knew nothing about other adult doll collectors, I loved to sew clothes for my and my friends' dolls. The clothes I made was not perfect of course, but I didn't see other people's creations at that time, so I was satisfied with it. Now I know that there are people, who make absolutely perfect clothes for dolls, so I can'r make my own doll clothes any more, because it's always much worse. Too bad, especially because my doll clothes is not really awful, it's just much worse than perfect. :)

  4. Dukasha,

    All you can do is the best you know how to do and continue to try to improve on that. Don't worry about what other people are doing because if it's handmade there will always be flaws and imperfections... these may be minor,but they exist. Just like people, nothing is perfect. Believe in yourself and others will, too.


  5. Dukasha - I believe that all 4 of those dolls were Caucausian to begin with. If you look at his flickr account he does have at least one picture that has a side by side before and after picture. The 16" doll world is even more limited than the 12" doll world. There is one AA male doll, Russell.

    There is no such thing as perfect. Even when we look at another person's work that we believe is perfect, chances are that person will point out all the flaws. Trying to be perfect is stifling. It keeps you from enjoying life. Why would you ever stop sewing for your dolls because you saw someone else's creations. There are people that make furniture much better than I do. I could shut down my store, but I choose not to. I am constantly trying to improve my skills. But based on the feedback I get from people who buy my furniture, they are ecstatic!

    My advice to you is GO SEW! Your dolls are missing their outfits. Don't make me come over there!

  6. I love SOE's work. I am a huge fan of his work. He is that good. I too love anyone who is out there working with what they have to use. I believe that's how Jason Wu got his start. He remade over existing dolls and he got the attention of the right people..

  7. Dollz4Moi - It's so easy to forget that everyone starts somewhere. We see their current work and success and think it started that way.
    We don't see the difficult times, or their early work that probably wasn't that great. SOE has a real gift.

  8. I hope SOE shifts into 12" males. Fingers crossed for such a happening.

    Regarding ethnic dolls in general, I hope that the upcoming Pretties series by Stacey McBride-Irby inspire other ethnic doll manufacturers (hint, Mixis, please) to broaden their doll line into playscale dolls. Maybe then the larger companies will follow ... when they have competition.

  9. D7ana - I'm trying to work my magic on SOE. I may have to go to Memphis and continue my magic in person.

  10. Maybe he'll read our comments and re-consider? Eh, but people do have preferences regarding scale. SOE's work is sooo good, it would almost tempt me to stray from 1:6 scale.

    ... almost ;-D

  11. D7ana - I have lots of 1:4 scale. They just take up so much room. Funny, SOE made a comment about wanting my furniture to be 1arger to fit the 16" dolls. It is something that has been on my to do list for some time. The thought of working in 2 different scales can be daunting.


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