Today is the 2nd anniversary of Darak-i. This seems an excellent time for them let collectors learn a little more about the company and their dolls.
Q: I would like to start by finding out more about Darak-i. Can you give me a little background?
A: Darak-i opened May 10th, 2013. Before we opened our online shop, we started our blog first. During our active time on the blog, we met many people, and the interaction with others helped us when we opened our current online shop.
Q: Do you prefer to be called Darak or by Darak-i?
A: I am not quite sure which name we are known by in the international community, but as long as people recognize our dolls and works, it really does not matter to us which they call our company, Darak or Darak-i. Both are fine with us !
Since we are a very young BJD company in comparison with the many other older companies, we hope more and more people get a chance to know about us and our dolls, especially through this interview with you. We expect this would be a very nice chance to introduce our company to many people out there.
Q: Who are the founding members of the company?
A: The founding members of the company include me (Jeadae Moon), another sculpture designer (Chen), make-up artist (Song), and three other staff members.
Q: Are each of the dolls designed by one artist or the other?
A: I (Moon) and Chen, we work together on the sculpting.
I work on building the big picture of each doll, including the concept, head mold, and body balance. After I finish the big frame work of a doll, Chen is in charge of the detailed parts.
Q: Why did you choose Darak-i for the name of your company?
A: The Korean word, Darak means a small, secret space such as an attic right under the roof.
This kind of secret room is a special place where people can concentrate on their works.
I have a special memory of a darak which was located in the second floor of the house I used to live when I was young. I remember that I used to spend some joyful times there drawing, making and hiding things. Thus the word, Darak itself implies some analog mood, it also implies some image of things that are made by hand in the darak room.
Since the dolls are all made by hand without using any computer or 3D printer, I wanted to emphasize that that the dolls are specially hand-crafted by using the word, Darak.
Q: Can you tell me a little about your different doll lines? (Cuties, Kids, Girls, Boys). What are the ideas behind the dolls you make?
A: So far we have introduced various sized dolls and we are also preparing more dolls to be introduced in the future.
16센티 못난이 16cm cuties
26센티 다락방 꼬마들 26cm darak kids
31센티 다락방 아이들 31cm darak girls and boys
35센티 다락방 아이들 35 cm darak girls and boys
42센티 다락방 소녀들 42cm darak girls
45센티 다락방 소년들 42cm darak boys
60센티 다락방 아씨들 60cm darak ladies
65센티 다락방 청년들 65cm darak young men
70센티 다락방 청년들 2 (현재 제작중) 70cm darak men (we are currently working on him)
Before we set to work on making dolls, we start with collecting some references first.
As we were working on our very first doll, 42cm Remy, we meant to build her body between a realistic human body and a doll body style. We did not plan to make them look too realistic but not also to look too doll-like. We put a lot of effort in creating her body to be in the middle of a transition from doll to human.
We also wanted to create not yet grownup girls with narrow shoulders. Because I personally believed that the girl’s body going through the transition from girl to lady is the most beautiful image in the world. So the result of all our effort was Remy’s body.
Each doll of Darak has their own back stories, but I think it is better to end here because telling all of their stories would take too much of our interview!
Q: Do you have plans to develop dolls for the Fairy doll line soon?
A: In March, our fairy line, Pikki has been released. He is a fairy but also a vampire…his identity is very ambiguous..lol!
Since we started our fairy line with a 16cm sized doll, now we are thinking of creating our next fairy line doll as a 26cm BJD.
Q: Are you working on anything new just now?
A: I am currently planning to make a doll that can change its facial expression.
Despite its high price, the emotional expression we can portray with a doll is limited. I think if we can overcome the limit of one facial expression, it would open a new paradigm of dolls.
Q: So by changing expression, do you mean a face-plate system, or are you working on something different?
A: Since we are still working on it, it is hard to tell you exactly how it would work at this point. But if I explain about it approximately, it would be kind of like you said, changing a part of the face such as a face-plate without changing the head.
I have been working on producing a stop motion animation using BJD doll-like dolls for 13 years.I have produced 2 stop motion animation movies, 5 TV series, and various TV advertisements. Using the techniques used in producing the stop motion animation, I am developing the idea around changing the emotional expression of the BJD.
Q: Is there anything that I didn’t ask? Is there anything else that you would like to add for the article?
A: Like I have mentioned in the previous answer, I started my career as a stop motion animation producer. While I have been running my own stop motion animation production company for 10 years, by chance I saw BJD dolls by a Russian BJD artist, Maria Vic. From that point, I totally fell in love with BJDs, and decided to work on producing my own BJDs. Even though It has been only two years that I have been making BJDs, I can strongly say that my passion for BJD is undefeated by anything.
I hope this interview can be a bridge between us and any BJD fans so that I can have more interactions with fellow BJD fans.
Photos above (from top): Pikki, Hapumi, tan Remi, Claire.