A virtual five minutes with illustrator and doll couture extraordinaire, Monika Viktoria.
I may be biased as I have known Monika for almost two decades, but I have always been impressed with her talent and skill in illustrating and crafting. While I had my own creative style, there were definitely moments of envy and concerted efforts at imitating some of her deft skills be it with coloured pencils, watercolours or fabric and thread. It is the sincerest form of flattery right?
Since art school where our friendship diverged, Monika has travelled the world and continued to create, these more recent years with a focus on the doll industry (yes, dolls – an amazing sub culture that will blow your mind). She is without doubt one of the most determined and hard working artists I know and I’m chuffed she was able to take some time out to answer some questions.
What has been your biggest creative challenge?
Finding that elusive balance between having time to dedicate to art – coming up with new ideas, practicing, failing, trying again… without the stifling stress of also having to make do in a financially constrictive society in order to pay rent and try to get ahead. I struggle with the fear that the day I finally am able to dedicate myself wholly to art I will be a fragile and delicate old lady, with too few years left to create the artworks I want to.
Tell us a little about the underworld of dolls and the opportunities and success you have experienced in this little known industry.
I fell into the strange world of artist-made ball jointed dolls and customised Japanese Blythe dolls by happy accident. The most popular of these dolls is known to have reached auction prices of US$76,500.
I’ve been creating miniature haute couture and wigs for a select range of them for over 6 years now, reaching a niche customer base around the world. I’ve attended several international and local conventions, as well as been included in exhibitions at renowned pop-art galleries.
If success wasn’t measured by money and acquisition in the art industry, what would your dream body of work be?
I woke up from a vivid dream one morning where I was at an exhibition of my own paintings, and I had created a series of large-scale watercolour figurative paintings that mimicked the look of oils. The pieces were dark and unsettling in nature, girls wandering in the woods caught suddenly in headlights, wet nightshifts clinging to their bodies. I would like to bring these paintings I glimpsed in a dream to life.
If you could travel back in time and tell Past Monika three things, what would they be?
I’d tell Past Monika not to worry so much about what the teachers thought at Art School, and give her some ideas that would keep her happily occupied during her BFA. I basically think I went to Art School 4 years too early – I didn’t know enough about the world or myself, so I struggled with subject matter for my artworks.
Now I have more ideas than time allowing.