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Eye candy never looked so sweet. Blythe dolls take on fantasy and whimsy in these bubbly, beautiful creations. Introducing Dr. Blythenstein, a Mexican artist and maker that will make you cherish the true power of imagination.
Tell us a little about your artistic background. How did you get to be Dr. Blythenstein?
I studied graphic design and illustration, this is my professional background. As soon as I started working and getting my own money, I began to collect vintage dolls and toys. Later at some point I started creating my own custom characters. I started customizing with Strawberry Shortcake and later I met the Blythe doll which offers a wider range of customizing possibilities. So, parallel to working at a publishing house as freelance graphic designer, I would customize for fun.
I found in Blythe and the community an audience for all my creations. All the dolls I would make were very edgy in terms of customizing, so at some point somebody said my dolls would be kind of “Frankenstein” creations from being so weird. It all started as joke and I fused Blythe with Frankenstein. I really never thought this name would stay this long- to the point of later signing with only this name, but this is the way things happened. Slowly with the years, my dolls began to be more accepted. It had to do so that I made every doll with lots of attention to the detail, and people started seeing the quality and originality of my dolls and started asking for commissions.
At some point I had to choose between continuing with my graphic design career or devote myself to doing dolls full time, so I choose the second because it is really my passion. Since 4 years ago this is my full time job. This is a work based on quality and one of a kind items. People appreciate the work done on every doll. It´s artisan work that requires lots of time and patience, so the production is slow and few dolls are made each year for all the time they need in their production, but it is something that makes me very happy to do as work.
Where are you from? Where are you now?
I am from Mexico, and I am based there too.
Before coming across your yarn-headed Blythe dolls, I really didn’t know much about Blythe dolls. How were you introduced to them?
I was collecting Strawberry shortcake at the time and I was looking for wigs for them as I was starting to customize them. At some point searching on eBay I found this seller that had wigs for “Blythe” dolls. I didn’t know what doll was this, so I wrote the seller asking if the wigs would fit. (Which obviously he said no because the size is very different) But from that point she caught my attention. A whole new world of customizing and collectors appeared to me in the internet on boards and Flickr. They all seemed very passionate about their Blythe’s so I started researching about her.
Blythe is quite complicated. Has many different variations and her world is so complete that it takes a lot of time to fully understand it. From the moment I discovered Blythe, it took me about 8 months to decide to get one. She seemed very expensive at the time and I didn’t know If I was going to like her in person. But the moment she arrived was love at first sight for all the potential she represented in terms of customizing. The first doll I received stayed in her box for one hour, I tore her apart trying to put in practice all the research I had made for months in order to customize her.
What’s your studio like?
It is a large room. In it I paint, have my computer, take pictures etc.
I am very organized, there are all kinds of tools, materials, yarn, fabrics etc.
Some days I will only paint, others I will take pictures or sew. The customizing work is very complete, and I have never limited myself to only one activity. My brain needs to get a lot of stimulation in different areas to put in work my creativity.
What’s your process like? Do you have a lot of structure or are you more comfortable just going with the flow?
At this point there are dolls that have I made before and are really popular that are somehow repetitions of work previously done before so I need a lot of discipline, especially at the times I will paint them, because the painting is very meticulous and small. So I really need to be disciplined as this is not a work where even if you are tired you can keep going. (If I get tired I will compromise quality, so I will stop.)
My eyes and back need rest so therefore I have to be disciplined to catch the day sunlight, not work at night, eat well…etc. However when I get the idea of a new doll that has never been created I get very, very excited and can lose track of item in order to finish her as soon as possible because I am dying to see how my idea looks finished.
About how long does it take to complete a Dr. Blythenstein doll?
About 8 months, not less. But there are dolls that have been WIP (work in progress) as long as two years.
Do you have any wild dreams or goals for the future of the dolls you create?
I don’t make a lot of goals really. I feel very blessed at this time I am doing this for work, and feel extremely grateful with the people that follow my work and are very supportive. I live every day like it’s the last and never expected to be this popular or make dolls for a living, ever! It is funny the path life has made for me. So I am really open to whatever comes in the future. I will take it with joy.
Next year will be 10 years since I started customizing Blythe and there is lot of material made in terms of images, photographs and drawings I have created. I only wish I had the time to make a book that would resume this 10 years work, this is kind of my only near future goal.
And lastly, what makes you happiest in life?
It makes me really happy to hear I make people happy with my work. I feel this world is right now in a moment of such negativity and I make a work that reflects happiness, joy and somehow the spirit of childhood that reaches adults that need this comfort in their lives right now. Another thing that make me very happy is colors, collecting dolls and toys, dogs and meeting people from different parts of the world through trips I make once or twice a year.
Dr. Blythenstein can be admired on Instagram & Facebook. He also has illustrated children’s books available on Etsy. If you’re interested in a custom doll, don’t hesitate to message him on any of those platforms!