I want to dedicate the next couple of posts to some great OOAK doll desiners I admire so that Mattel will maybe understand how important these artist are and how important is for them to promote them more.
The first artists I’m going to talk about are the fantastic duo from AFD Group. I’ve met online Vasiliy, one of the desingers, and fel in love with their creations immediately. I hope you will too. Check out below my interview with them.
1. Please tell me your story. Who AFD Group is and how it all started.
It started in 2011. We’ve already created our first Marlene Dietrich OOAK doll for personal collection and had no plans in that field. Once our friend Veronika invited us behind the scenes of one Russian sketch comedy featuring 2 famous Russian actresses. We decided to make OOAK dolls dedicated to their characters. We planned it just for fun, some kind of entertainment; the result was rather cute and funny. It was our first successes. We were inspired to take it more seriously.
2. Your designs have a special feature; you like to create dolls that resemble famous actresses and singers. Tell me more about this passion of yours.
Actually we‘re planning to make non-personalized Barbie but now we don’t have enough time for it. We were inspired by famous Italian duo Magia2000. At the very beginning you need someone to whom you can look up to.
Following their example we created dolls dedicated to famous characters: actresses, singers and other celebrities. We choose only those persons who we admire and who inspire us. This is the way to thank them for moments of happiness that brings their activity.
3. Who is your all time favorite actress or singer? Who is your idol and why?
There are some divas that inspire us. We adore Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Sara Montiel, Cher, Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Mylene Farmer, Bjork, Lena Katina.
Now we are working at a large anniversary project: 13 dolls dedicated to Alla Pugacheva – main Soviet and Russian pop-icon. It’s hard to explain the variety of her art but for us she is the greatest singer of all time.
4. How do you decide what Barbie becomes what actress/singer?
The beginning of every new project is rather interesting time for us: we need to learn specific features of the character, explore his style, find the most suitable doll mold (we compile information about released dolls with different molds). Then begins the time for experiments with drawing of facial features, make up, hair styling, creating decorations for photo session.
We trying to reproduce the miracle that they (artists) make but only in miniature variant.
5.What is the project you are most proud of?
We’re proud of every our doll, for us is a great pleasure to see the reaction of its prototype. But most of all we’re proud of Lady Gaga’ doll that was complimented by Bill Greening. We were very pleased.
Also we love the doll of Elena Sotnikova (the chief editor of Elle Russia) because it was great, bright project with many photo sessions.
And of course – our special project dedicated to Alla Pugacheva. It includes her images from 1975 till 2009. It’s rather complicated to portray one face on different dolls, to make it familiar. It consists of 13 dolls, we need to finish 4 of them. This project was extensively discussed in media.
6. What other OOAK dolls do you create, apart from the actress/singer ones?
We prefer not to talk about our plans … because they can be changed. There are some project on which we’re working on. One of them is dedicated to upcoming Barbie’s 55th anniversary: series of tribute dolls. Also we plan to produce non-celebrities dolls. There is an idea of Christmas, fantasy doll.
7.Do you do custom orders also? If yes, how are your customers? What do they you to create?
Sometimes we receive orders to make portrait doll of some person (not actor or singer). Often it is a present. We make portrait dolls of well-known politicians, businessmen and other persons. We can’t name them upon our customer’s request.
8.Tell me an interesting or emotional story that is related to one of your designs?
Every time we meet a celebrity we feel very excited. The most unexpected story is our meeting with Roza Rymbaeva, a soviet singer and prima donna of the kazakh platform. We arrived to Almaty (Kazakhstan) and tried to arrange a meeting. Sooner one of her assistant called us and said that it’s going to be press-conference dedicated to our doll. When we arrived there were many people, journalists from different channels, magazines and newspapers. The problem was that we had no appropriate clothes for such a public event. In panic we rushed for shopping to find something suitable.
9. Have you ever considered going to doll conventions outside of Russia?
This year we are going to visit the doll convention in Spain. We would like to make a special charity project. It will be a doll of a famous Spanish actress who we admire. Soon we are going to contact the event organizers (in the nearest time).
10. Tell me a bit about your future plans. What will you create next? And also send a message to my readers, please.
Dolls, dolls, dolls. That (this) is our future. We don’t want to look ahead what should happen but we think we could work with Mattel, because we have many ideas that they would like.
We wish that doll hobby in Russia would become as admirable as in USA, Germany and other countries. And we do our best to achieve it. However, we are ready to work with dolls in any country, we love them very much)))
For the writers: we would like to thank our nice friend Ada for this interview and possibility to discuss our works in her wonderful blog.