Jessica Acosta’s Ingenuity

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Here’s what my life is like these days: I’m looking at pictures of Asian ball-jointed dolls on Flickr, and I find this artist who’s making cute little costumes for her tiny bjds. Then I look at her other gallery and start thinking “this looks familiar…” So I look up her profile, and guess what? I’ve already seen her work on her own website. In fact, I think I’ve collected some of my featured artists from her old links page. Dollmaking is becoming a small world, at least on the Internet.

Now, where to start with Jessica Acosta. Her work kind of gives me the impression of a very talented person who has been allowed to develop her work without much contact with the rest of us. As a result, her work incorporates some influences from very popular doll artists, but then it also takes a variety of new approaches that I’ve never seen from anyone else.

Take her pin dolls, for example. They’re really hip, with their big-eyed, bjd-like faces and modern costumes, and their expressive hands and props are really charming. But the first time I saw them, I thought, those don’t look flat enough to be on pins. Then I looked closer and realized that her “pin dolls” aren’t pins as in brooches, but clothespins! Look at their legs! I never would have expected such a modern-looking doll to use a construction technique that was so traditional. I could wax on about the metaphorical angle of this — you know, how we’re all modern and sophisticated on the outside, but inside we’re the same kind of people as our great-grandmothers– but I won’t. You can thank me later.

The rest of Acosta’s work is equally edgy. Many of her pieces feel kind of deconstructed, like her pillow dolls wih felt appliques reminiscent of Mimi Kirchner’s work, which have hook-and-eye joints in the elbows. Or her steampunk doll bust with no arms or legs. Or her collage dolls, which have surface treatments like Marilyn Radzat’s fabulous mosaics but Acosta’s big-eyed faces. She makes fairies and mermaids that are gorgeous or adorable without reference to the usual pin-up styles you see on eBay. I’m telling you, she’s either a savant or a genius.

As you might have suspected from my introduction to this post, Acosta is a web-savvy artist and there are many ways to find her on the Inter-tubes. Definitely check out Her Flickr and her site, and if you have time, visit her blog and her Etsy.

P.S. I have a question for you. Yes, you, the one who reads this blog every week but never comments. I know you’re out there; Google Analytics can see you. I need your advice. If I were to interview these artists when I post about them, what kind of questions do you want me to ask? Do you want to know about their studios? Their work habits? Their education? Come on, this is your chance to let me ask them the stuff you’ve never had the nerve to. Post a comment with your suggestions.