A Personal Connection to a Toy

On the heels of my ‘Own What You Do‘ post, it only seems appropriate to talk about my bonds formed with photo props (in this case toys).

Each of my pieces is in some way a self portrait, feelings vomited onto the page (or maybe the camera sensor, the miniature scene, however you want to see it.) The items I use to create those moments, especially the ones I use over and over, come to hold a very high importance.

My dining room is my art studio, and by art studio I mean 2 tables, one with 2 dollhouses, the other with a pop up table top photo studio. Underneath is storage, mostly contained in plastic drawers, but some being larger parked toy pieces. Now, picture a small child coming into that space. Are they going to see it as a hands-off artistic space? Absolutely not. It’s a toy room…

I’d never been presented with this dilemma before. I don’t tend to have kids at all in my apartment, but when my friend came over with her kids, I had to think quickly. I can’t close off my dining room in any way, it’s connected to my living room and dining room, both places forming the main living area of my apartment and accessible immediately from the front door.

My thinking was, well they’re kids, these are toys, let them play and just closely monitor that play. But my goodness, watching my body chan figure (they grey doll that’s so intensely occupied my work and my brain for the past year and a half or so) in the grasp of a child was insanely difficult. She was being gentle, I’d asked her to be, and by no means was she doing anything wrong, but the alarm bells in my head were firing. See in those images, the body chan figure is me. She was holding my current identity, and my fate was in her tiny hand. Of course, on top of that, it’s a relatively pricey figure (but that’s not the point I’m making with this post :P).

I can’t say for sure that this is something others experience, but I’m going to choose to believe it’s somewhat universal. Things become a part of how we identify ourselves. This can in part be seen in the stories of ‘What We Keep.‘ And while I think it’s okay that I wanted the little girl to be gentle with my things, I need to separate who I am from what I use to depict that self-awakening. The older I get, the more I’ve come to learn about who I am, and the more comfortable I become in my own skin. The way I’ve framed those emotions in my work is very deeply held in the stages of that self-learning, and I think in that same way, as I continue to grow, those icons will evolve as well. My body chan figure has told her story, or at least most of it for now, and while I think she’ll always have a special place in my world, she’ll have a less necessary one as I continue on.

Can you relate to this in some way? Is there anything in your life you in part define your world through?

If you want to see more of my work with this figure, click here.

Or get a copy of her book here,

Read more about toy connections here.

5 thoughts on “A Personal Connection to a Toy

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  1. I have a large doll that was my grandma’s, then my son’s I had to steel my nerves when my two year old niece noticed it. It is meant to be a play thing but the years have made it fragile.

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