In 2012, BJDcollectasy posted a series of seasonal face-ups by various artists. We are now checking in with some of them. This first interview is with the talented Sam of Meenist Face-up Shop.
Q: How did you originally become interested in BJDs?
A: I had admired many pictures of BJDs online but never knew what they were. Then, I met a friend who showed me all of her beautiful dolls and characters, and after that, I was hooked! I would say how many years ago that was, but then I would feel too old…
Q: When did you first begin to paint face-ups and then paint them for other people?
A: I decided to paint my first face-up on a Luts head I bought second hand on Den of Angels. It didn’t turn out that great, but I kept persevering and practicing on my own small collection until I felt confident enough to start offering face-ups for free. I got so many people interested, that I was able to build my portfolio relatively quickly! I am so grateful to those first few customers who trusted me with their dolls.
Q: Looking back on your work from 5 years ago, how has it changed?
A: I think that over the years I have become less afraid to experiment and have developed more of a recognizable style. I’ve incorporated more detail, including tiny veins and skin texturing, which I love to do. I’ve been so inspired by customers and other artists alike throughout the years, and I don’t think that will ever change!
Q: Do you paint dolls of all sizes? What is your favorite size to paint?
A: I have painted dolls of all sizes, from the itty bitty Merry Doll Round Mousse to much larger dolls, like Spirit Doll Brume! I don’t have a favorite size to paint, but I am a sucker for dreaming eyes, full lips, and requests for lots of freckles.
Q: Do you also paint full dolls?
A: I paint full dolls and fantasy parts, as well. I’ve also had the opportunity to do a few tattoos, and those were very challenging and fun!
Q: What tools and materials do you use for your face-ups?
A: I use Rembrandt Pastels, Zoukei-Mura acrylics and thinner, Liquitex & Tamiya glosses. MSC Flat UV Cut for sealing and 100% pure, colorless acetone for wiping face-ups. I have a bunch of random brushes of various sizes/densities for painting. I’ve also been experimenting a bit with watercolor lately.
Q: What are some of the more memorable projects you have done?
A: Every project is memorable to me, because it helps me to build my skills and connect with others, but I do very much enjoy reading character biographies and descriptions when the customer provides them! Some have very developed, emotional stories to go with their dolls, and it truly inspires me as I work.
Q: Is their any custom painting project that you have not tried that you are still wanting to try on a BJD?
A: It’s a dream of mine to do a collaboration with other artists that I look up to-wig makers, clothing creators, and even doll sculptors… I’d like to paint the face-up for a full-set doll, or even the default company face-up for a new sculpt! It’s a lofty dream, but it would be so fun!
Q: Have you ever done modifications?
A: Yes, I have! My very first mod was a really risky one in hindsight; I took a Dremel and opened the sleeping eyes on my most rare and expensive doll, an SS Shiwoo Elf! Luckily, it worked out. I’ve done other small modifications as well: widened dreaming eyes, drilled piercings, done light sanding to reshape a face or hide scratches, and hot glue sueded joints.
Q: Is there anything about your work that I have forgotten to ask that you might like to add?
A: I started an Instagram account this year that I’ve been trying to grow. I would love to have more friends to talk to and enjoy doll pictures with! You can find me @meenistfaceups