I have met Anj on one of the doll groups from Facebook and have fallen in love with his repaints and creations. For a long time now I’ve had this article in my drafts section and now the time has come to share with you the amazing world of Anj Calvo.
1. Hi! Thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions. Please tell my readers a bit about you.
-Hi! I am Anj, I am an OOAK artist from the Philippines… I repaint, reroot and design/sew doll fashions… I am a Creative Director for a fashion house here in our country but I started as a graphic artist in a retail brand… I’ve been fascinated with dolls as far as I can remember… I have a very supportive mom who buys me dolls eversince I was a kid…
2. I’ve seen a LOT of very talented doll artists from the Philippines lately. Can you tell me more about the doll collectors and artists in your country?
-Actually, not until I joined a doll group that I realized that we are a LOT… All the while I’ve thought that I was the only one who shares this passion or more so that there are only few… Collectors and Doll artists here in our country love to experiment and play… And lately, many are getting interested in the art of customizing fashion dolls… We always aim to promote the spirit of fun every time we meet…
3. Talk to me about your work. What kind of fashions and repaints do you do?
-I enjoy themed and concept dolls… I love updating old looks and giving it a modern spin… Right now, I am getting back in repainting celebrity dolls… As a fashion designer, my interest of dressing up celebrities is in my nature… So even with dolls I can say… Angelina Jolie or Nicole Kidman wore my creation… And who knows in the future… It’s like a vision board in 3D…
4. When you started doing customizations did you have a muse or an idol in the doll community?
– I discovered doll customizing way back in 2000. But I got busy with schoolwork so I stopped… In 2006, I started to customize and realized how much I missed it… I have a lot of idols in the doll community… For repainting, I am a huge Noel Cruz fan. I also admire the works of Park, Jon Copeland and My good friend Art Ryan… For Fashions, i love Huckleberry’s and V. Johns work… For the OOAK Doll artists, I love Em’ lia’s and of course my dear friend Cholo Ayuyao
5. What are your favorite materials to work with?
-With repainting, i love using chalk pastels and acrylic. In making fashions, i love working with materials that have volume and structure…
6. When you customize a doll do you incorporate her original story and look in your creation or do you create a completly new personality for her?
-I normally create a new personality to my creation. If it’s not a celebrity doll, I even assign new names for them and create my own character profile.
7. Who photographs your creations? How long does it take to have a final image that satisfies you?
-Sometimes, when I have the time… My friend Cholo would take photos of my dolls… But most of the time, I took the photos myself. I don’t have a background in photography so I just do a trial and error in achieving the shot that I got… Sometimes it would take A LOT of shots per pose… I do take safety shots seriously…. LOL
Then I use my background as a graphic artist to put backgrounds and certain moods… I am inspired by Barbie’s catalogs where in she’s in a diorama… I always wanted to achieve that in every photo I take…
8. I know you’ve attended a fashion school. How was your passion for doll perceived in school? Did it help you?
-1 initially thought that they would find it silly. To my surprise, I earned a certain respect because of the amount of effort and skill needed to scale every detail to 1/6.
Honestly, I enrolled in fashion school to learn how to make my dolls the proper way of making clothes. It’s just that when I graduated people told me why would I make clothes for real people… And the rest was history.
9. Have you ever thought of bringing together all the doll designers in your country and organize doll convention?
-always, it’s one of my dream… But I am a bit too shy to organize such event… But I hope someone will have the courage to do so… Our country is filled with talented doll artisans…
10. Will we be seeing you at a major doll event in the US or Europe?
– I am targeting this year… With enough support from the international doll community, I would definitely love to.
11. Last but not least, send a kiss and a mesage to my readers.
-Most of us doll collectors, we experienced the “almost” moment… The doll will be completely perfect if they only had a proper screening or the right hair color… Or if her outfit was totally different… But with practice, we can work around on those flaws to our liking… It only takes patience, A LOT of research over the net and courage. Who knows we can make our dream doll ourselves. Just keep in mind that at the end of the day, it should be fun… That’s what they are supposed to bring to us in the first place… A sense of pride and Joy that we can share with our fellow customizers and collectors a like!!! Dolly hugs and kisses guys!!!