Face-up and Modding artist Loren of Grotesque Cabaret can bring your BJD nightmares to life. Loren finds the concept of radical customizing of BJDs “fun and fascinating”. When asked about her modding inspiration, she explains, “I’ve always been interested in zombies, horror movies and so forth, so guess it’s not really a great leap.” She has been collecting dolls for years and has modified all of the dolls in her collection. She also takes commissions from other collectors who don’t fear re-making their BJDs in a drastic fashion. For anyone who enjoys Halloween all year long, Grotesque Cabaret is the place to go for a little (resin) plastic surgery.
Q: When and where did you first discover BJDs?
A: 2006 I’d guess, a friend on livejournal got one and started posting her pictures. At first I couldn’t believe the cost of the thing and the time and money she wasted on it…but some dark force kept drawing me back to stare at her pictures until I knew that I needed one too…
As for my personal grotesque bent– I guess I was tired of seeing all those ‘pretty’ dolls and I wanted to reject the common notion of what dolls should be.
Q: Did you buy him with plans to customize him?
A: Yes I did, he was to be the resin equivalent of one of my pre-established characters from a comic story I was writing. As the comic character was missing an eye, and I couldn’t find any doll sculpts with appropriate injuries, I decided I was just going to have to do it myself. The poor boy was only with me a couple of days before I got impatient enough to try my hand at his mods. Luckily it was a relatively simple process, just a matter of filling in his eye socket with epoxy, shaping the scar tissue over the top and then repainting. Surprisingly, although he has had numerous new face-ups over the years, and his mods have been slightly refined as I have learnt new techniques, his modifications are essentially still the same ones that I did as an ultra n00b!
Q: How many BJDs do you have?
A: At the moment I have 14.
Q: Are they all customized by you?
A: Yes, some a lot more radically than others though. Oska, Mikka, Natsuki and P are at the more radical end of the scale (grotesque growths, facial reconstruction, body reconstruction and the like), while some of the others have just had simple sanding or eye alterations etc.
Q: What doll companies do you like?
A: My favourites are probably Doll in Mind and Blue Fairy, but as long as the sculpt fits…anything goes really.
Q: Can you tell me a little about the process of transforming a pretty doll into a denizen of the Grotesque Cabaret? What are some of the materials you use? What was the craziest thing you incorporated into a doll?
A: I use all sorts of materials really. I’m always looking at experimenting with crazy ideas to see what techniques and textural effects I can achieve, although my staple tools are apoxie sculpt, superglue, masking fluid and pastels. Most of the time a wound/injury or growth is sculpted from an apoxie sculpt or milliput base to create the texture and shape, and then painted or airbrushed with extra shading and details in pastel.
I have also been known to incorporate porcelain, glass, buttons, and excess body parts into different commissions, although I think one of the craziest was a miniature doll sized teacup that I implanted into the side of an Unoa faceplate…
Q: Can you tell me about a few of your favorite commissions?
A: I always like the more radical and infected ones. The crazier the idea–the more I like it. I really enjoy the steampunk style creations, fitting in the bits of clockwork is a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
Q: Did you come up with most of your techniques on your dolls first?
A: Yup, my poor dolls have had so many techniques tested on them….they must hate me!
Q: What was the hardest mod you ever did?
A: The hardest mod I guess would probably be the work I’ve been doing on P., one of my own dolls, as I decided to create a whole new body for him and give him a centaur body. So as well as extensive facial mods, the addition of magnetic wings and horns, I also sculpted and cast him new legs and torso. The worst part is that he is tiny; I kept losing pieces! (P. is a Latidoll Laches)
Q: Do you have any additional challenges you plan to try?
A: In the immediate future I hope to try leaving some heads in some forbidden chemicals for a while, bleach, turps, acetone whatever else I can get my hands on — just to see what happens….
Photo above: Modded sleeping Unoa L-bi faceplate.
~Grotesque Cabaret~ Loren’s website