Elisha: I feel like (my doll) is a garden. We live in urban New York, so we don’t have a garden outside our house, but one day, hopefully . . . I think everyone deserves to be able to reconnect with nature.
Hilary: I think it has a personality, in a sense, like if you make art work you’re kind of emotionally tied to it, but when you have a kind of identity with your artwork, that a doll represents, then you kind of feel even more tied to it.
Ibou: It’s like there’s something you’re hiding, that people don’t want to see. To me it’s just like how people are, how human beings are. We’re just like vessels, and we’re strapped with something. But deep down, our inside, there’s something invisible. I can see that we’re strapped with a lot of things that are not seen, because we’re living in a world in which we’re hiding a lot of things. There’s no transparency. We never tell the truth. In my native language, which is Wolof, we call it nit. Nit is something like, you have to look very close, you have to observe, to see, who that person is. Here, this is transparent. But you don’t see the transparency because I’m hiding it. People are hiding our personalities, not showing who we are, and not telling what we do.
Julia-Petra: (My dolls are lonely)…because I’ve had many conversations with people about loneliness, and people who feel like there’s no way out of a broken heart, and that it’s the end of the world, and that nothing else will happen for them. I like to think of Camille and Luci as a bit of a shoulder for people who feel like there’s no end in site. There’s always hope and that’s what they’re there for.
Ken: In West Africa, masquerades represent other-than-human, or more powerful, or beyond. So his face is painted to represent other-than.
Liz V.: My sister moved out to California so I wanted to do something that would kind of connect us in a way, so I made sock monkey sisters. So I think Zoey might go and join my sister in California after Doll Neighborhood, and then we’re going to keep them chatting with a webcam.
Liz C.: They’re non-threatening, and soft. They’re easy to love. You can pour a lot of feeling into them. For me, they’re art. They’re not just play things. They’re part of my soul and part of my creative force.
Louise: Dolls are very special because they get their own personalities, and they become like people. Fred is one in a series of Handsome, Sad Men. On this side he looks angry, but on this side he looks sad. I have a thing about handsome, sad men. All my dolls seem to be handsome and sad. And they all seem to be men.
Ellie: I think that when you make a doll, you’re making this kind of alter-person, and that when you speak through that doll, you speak differently.
Sylvia: As I made her, the story started happening. The seventeenth is the day that Eucia doesn’t care to be played with. Her ears are number threes, because where she’s from, each person has a number for their ears. And Number Threes don’t always tell the truth. She’ll always tell you the truth on the seventeenth, though. But maybe. . . you don’t want to do that, because she’s a little angry.
Interviewed by Stephanie Pereira, March 11, 2008