Tag Archives: toy photography

Guest artist: the incredible doll art of Dollicious Life by Tinu!

Dollicious Life Asians for BLM Juneteenth 2020I recently discovered the work of Tinu, creator of Dollicious Life, on Instagram.

Dollicious life family at prayerIt was a #toyphotography hashtag that led me to Tinu’s amazing doll photographs.

And I was blown away!

You have got to see Tinu’s powerful and beautiful images using dolls as storytelling, as well as her charming videos with her gorgeous kids and doll collection!

This lovely scene of a family at prayer was created for the world’s first social distancing Ramadan.

The doll clothes were made by OMODE, a bespoke clothing company for ladies and kids, with many beautiful African prints.

Here is Tinu’s introduction from the #CollectionVsCollector challenge that’s going around:

I’m Tinu, publisher & editor, mother of 2 living in NYC. I’ve been collecting dolls since the late 90s as a young girl. Now housing over 300 vintage Barbie, Cissy, Blythe, Erte, Integrity Toys, Franklin Mint, etc in storage and only just now slowly starting to bring them out to play with my kids regardless of value.

Watching my 2yr old daughter’s reaction during unboxing is priceless! (You can see videos in the YouTube link on my profile page.) I love taking pics using outdoors, real life. Welcome to my happy place! So buckle up, it’s going to be one fantasy ride of art imitating life here!

The tender scene below shows the Hameed family leaving the hospital with a newborn.

Dollicious life Hameed family leaving hospitalTinu’s signature as a fashion doll photographer is using real backgrounds, made by placing the dolls in front of the real place!

And as a native New Yorker, she uses the city as a backdrop!

Her doll pictures in the last months include protest art, with photographs of her dolls she took while joining the protests in midtown.

She describes Dollicious Life as “the place where art imitates life”, and says she uses her dolls to teach her kids about the world.

The scenes she creates are warm and inclusive, a hopeful vision of human connection.

Dollicious life pride june 2020I love the family dinners and Pride pictures, which show gatherings of stylish folks.

Dollicious Life Moms 2020Her dolls are responsible and have tiny masks!

The scenes include cancer survivors and breastfeeding.

I also really value the education about traditional African fashion Tinu’s work provides, like this scene with Yoruba attire and this king in Ghanaian Kente style.

Tinu is a serious lifelong fashion doll collector (although now she lets her two-year-old open valuable boxed dolls!) and through her I learned about the fantastic doll company Integrity Toys, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Tinu twinning in Ndebele for Human Rights Day by Dollicious Life March 2020

Dolls have tremendous intrinsic energy, and using them for education is powerful.

I hope you’ll follow Tinu on Instagram or Youtube and see what stories her dolls have to tell.

Dollicious Life Juneteenth Black Lives Matter art by Tinu

You can also read Tinu’s reporting on New York protests here and see her coverage of the NYC Juneteenth events here.

NYC protest by Tinu June 2020Plus, check out her coverage of last year’s events like Curl Fest, Afropunk and Pride!

Tinu’s beautiful Sisterhood in White video:

Tinu’s Black History Month doll unboxing with her daughter!

Dollhouse underground Machine shop by Suzanne Forbes photo by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Laboratory finished, and the Reveal party!

Dollhouse Underground Laboratory by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

Dollhouse Underground Laboratory by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

I finished the Underground Superpowers Laboratory beneath my action figure dollhouse, after almost twenty years.

Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

And gave a super-fun party to reveal it to friends and the Patreon Patrons  whose monthly support makes my art possible. It was so lovely to show off this ridiculous project, completed after so many years, to people who really got it and enjoyed it.

I was especially lucky that Daria was there to take these beautiful photographs with her clever new lens which clips onto her belt like a superhero gadget.

As you can see, there are brocade panels that fit into the dollhouse base, covering the individual laboratories. They have grosgrain ribbon tabs, allowing them to be quickly removed, revealing the LED-illuminated rooms behind them!

Doc Ock and the Lizard having a shouting match in the back of the Tube Room is my idea of a hilarious joke.

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Laboratory Tube Room by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Laboratory Tube Room by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Laboratory Tube Room by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Laboratory Tube Room by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Because you know the old-school tweaker Spider-Man Rogue’s Gallery would bitchily fight over everything from the brand of coffee in the break room to the voltage for galvanic experiments.

It wasn’t til I put him in the Tube Room that I had the idea of someone leaving their coffee on Han. Hilarious, right???

I got the excellent resin cast copy of the Han Solo in Carbonite convention exclusive on eBay. It’s from one of the artisans who does action figure casting. I painted him myself, an easy job.

The amazing Creature figure is from Resurrection of Monstress, definitely the best action figure series ever.

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Laboratory Tube Room by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Laboratory Tube Room by Suzanne Forbes, photo by Daria Rein

My other favorite joke is Vasquez from Aliens and Aeryn Sun from Farscape as the Veterans of Very Foreign Wars. There is an individual LED over the operating theater, which offsets the extreme Cool White of the LEDs in the surgery, but I forgot to turn it on in all the excitement.

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Surgery by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Surgery by Suzanne Forbes, photo by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Surgery by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Underground Superpowers Surgery by Suzanne Forbes by Daria Rein

The black-haired winged figure on the gurney is the one who started it all. She was an accessory to the Cabinet of Dr. Caligali figure from Mezco’s Silent Screamers series who I got in 2000 or so.

Something about her hospital-blue gown which opened at the back gave me the idea of this super-powers laboratory, a Human Augmentation center. The wings which fit her perfectly turned up at the same time; I cut them off some other figure. The gurney came from the McFarlane X-Files figures.

I found a resin Christmas ornament dog with matching wings soon after.

I decided the dog should go in the Animal Sciences/gym room, as surely poor Franklin Richards needs a dog! After all the child has been through quite a lot.

Dollhouse Animal Uplift Room and Gym by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

Dollhouse Animal Uplift Room and Gym by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

Then I gave the dog a pet pangolin because why not?

Dollhouse Animal Uplift Room and Gym by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

Dollhouse Animal Uplift Room and Gym by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

I thought it would be nice if Reed was doing something useful and nurturing for a change so that’s why he’s making food for the animals.

Once I get the new Walgreen’s Exclusive Marvel Legends Reed with stretch arms I’ll have him using his powers to make the food.

When I realized the tiny spandex workout clothes I had from the 00’s American Girl 1/12th scale dolls would fit She-Hulk, I was over the moon.

She-Hulk waving the weight bar around wondering how anyone expects her to exercise with such tiny weights- hilarious!

Truly, I am easily amused.

Dollhouse Machine Shop by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

Dollhouse Machine Shop by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

The Machine Shop/Break Room came out really well.

It is so pleasing to me to have made this. It is so satisfying to have nearly twenty years of collecting and searching and planning finished at last. It is sillier than the dollhouse itself, less of a sacred repository for the stories that saved me. It’s more about the visceral thrills of science fiction and comics, the ooky body-horror of mutation and the exhilarating potential of Frankenstein’s monster. The Batman tv show I watched as a child, with the super villain lairs and gadgets, played a part too. Olaf Stapleton’s Odd John and Sirius.

All the transcendent wonder and horror of the notion that we can change our bodies and become more…something.

Dollhouse underground Machine shop by Suzanne Forbes photo by Daria Rein

Dollhouse underground Machine shop by Suzanne Forbes photo by Daria Rein

Dollhouse Machine Shop by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

Dollhouse Machine Shop by Suzanne Forbes. Photo by Daria Rein.

Thanks so much to Daria Rein for the photos! Including this gorgeous one of the Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Mousse I made 🙂

Vegan chocolate cake with vegan chocolate mousse. Photo by Daria Rein.

Vegan chocolate cake with vegan chocolate mousse. Photo by Daria Rein.