A visual artist and photographer driven by unconventional expression and the inescapable urge to create, Miss Replicant has called upon her passion for fetish and fabrication to bring life to a series of human-like playthings that invoke an erotic juxtaposition of plastic and flesh. Being a high-strung adolescent and devoted reader, Miss Replicant continually immersed herself in a glut of creative hedonism—dreaming up vibrant narratives and doodling on classroom literature until she received her very first sketchbook when she was 12 years old. Today, the self-taught creative reflects on her childhood complex as she revels in the bewitching magic of doll-making to establish herself as a novel artist within the community.
You are a doll maker and fabricator with a seriously spooky vibe and captivating aesthetic. Talk to me about your craft and what encouraged you to create these miniature masterpieces.
I started out as a doll collector first, which is common for many ball-jointed doll hobbyists. There are a lot of us, and every person approaches doll collecting differently based on their personal interests. With my first doll, I bought her wig and clothes, but I did all of the painting myself and realized I enjoyed making things for her more than I liked buying them already made. As my collection grew, I began making more and more things for them until their customizations became fully handmade. I suppose I enjoy the act of working on a project based on a specific vision or idea—seeing it completed and knowing I made it with my own two hands. It’s a lovely feeling.
Using jointed dolls as a blank canvas, you develop some of the most darkly beautiful characters, building them piece by piece, from their realistic eyes and hair to latex lingerie, collars, and head harnesses. Describe your creative process and state of mind when developing these figures.
Some artists have a hard time coming up with ideas, but I seem to have the opposite problem: so many ideas, so little time. I have a notebook nearly filled with various lists of ideas I have for my dolls and artistic work. I never lack inspiration, though its sources can vary. A common misconception about my work is that I make the dolls myself, which is untrue. Though I would love to get good enough at sculpting to create my own dolls, I currently purchase my dolls blank from independent artists. My current collection includes dolls from small doll maker companies in China, France, and the United States, though there are doll sculptors all over the world. All of my dolls have names, characters, personalities, and stories, and often times, I will buy a specific sculpt of doll based on how well she fits a character I have in mind.
My artistic process is a bit inconsistent, as I tend to do a lot of planning when I have a concrete idea, but execution tends to be comprised of trial and error. Creating in miniature is much more difficult than it seems because everything is so small and thanks to the niche nature of the hobby, I have to figure a lot of things out for myself. A lot of the time I will sketch out what I want first—be it a dress I want to make or a specific face I want to paint—and then I’ll use that as a guideline. I usually work on the faces and eyes first, then the body and wig, followed by clothing and accessories. But I never consider any of my dolls to be finished because I never stop making things for them. There is always another idea on the list.
What are your motivations for conceiving these dolls? What is the ultimate message in your creative expressions?
The easy answer to this is that I’m just enamored with dolls and tiny things, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Dolls make my characters and ideas come to life in a physical sense, in a way I can touch. They occupy space in the world and that’s very important to me and my self-expression in a Modern Prometheus sort of way. I want to capture it so others can see them the way I do. As far as my message, I want people to know that their ideas matter and that people want to see them.
The things you do differently are what set you apart in the world and uniqueness comes from doing things your own way. My dolls are characters I felt were missing.
Do these figurines reflect parts of yourself as a human or events in your life? Are they connected to how you identify sexually or within the BDSM community?
I think it’s impossible for me not to put a little bit of myself into all of my work. I’ve experienced a lot of wild emotion, isolation, and introspection in my life. I’m loud and self-assured, and I scare a lot of people in person. It’s taken a lot of time and mental work to get to the point where I am comfortable with myself and all of the other things that make me who I am, even the things that don’t seem to belong together, but demand to be expressed. I think it comes through in my work even when I don’t explicitly mean it to because my dolls allow me to express all of the different parts of myself. I had a sort of personal sexual revolution a few years ago when I realized I was bisexual. It occurred to me that it wasn’t worth it to limit myself in my relationships and sex life to just do the things society at large told me was normal and acceptable. I’ve been a kinky, polyamorous Dominant ever since and I have never been happier. I like to think that my art is an expression of my sexuality, as an important part of me and my life.
How has your creativity changed stylistically over the past three years as you have matured and found your footing in this unique kind of artistry?
I’d been doing things involving dolls long before I got onto social media, but when I suddenly had a reason to show off what I was working on, I started taking photos in order to share them with others in the hobby. That evolved into my realization that the photography in itself could be an art form and that the art I was making with my dolls had merit in and of itself because I was no longer just collecting, but creating.
Discovering and connecting with other artists through the internet made me realize that I wasn’t the only one in the world with these interests, who made strange and amazing work based on what they loved and wanted to share it. It made me look at my work not just as a fun past time, but as a creative process—something that hadn’t existed before. Granted, my style has evolved over time as I have learned new techniques and expanded my interests, but I think the core ways my art has changed is that I am not ashamed of it. I believe in my ability to make art and get better with every piece I make.
There is a lot of self-discovery involved in art and you can’t be afraid of exploring that part of yourself.
Do you believe creativity means putting your heart and soul into your work, or do you consider it to be more of a flow, letting your mind wander freely to discover the extraordinary by-products of your actions? Do you ever surprise yourself?
It’s actually a little of both for me because I do so much planning around an idea, but when I am actually making something with my own two hands it becomes a sort of improvised flow. A lot of this is by necessity because I have to translate techniques devised for making a certain thing at full size into a version which can be done in miniature, and often times, I have to invent it on my own. So, even with the most careful planning, heart and soul are subjects to the whims of a wandering mind. A lot of love goes into my creations in a very visceral sort of way and I surprise myself all the time. I surprise myself by how far I’ve come, by how much I can accomplish when I look at things that I’ve created, by how many people love and interact with my work online. I am surprised by my ability to take an idea and make it come together just the way I envisioned it. Creativity isn’t predictable.
What people or things in this world serve as your greatest influences when it comes to your creative endeavors?
Oh, I have so many, and some are to be expected. I dare you to show me one artistic fetishist who doesn’t consider Helmut Newton or Robert Mapplethorpe an inspiration. My creative influences vary by each doll, but overall, I consider myself artistically influenced mostly by music. Marilyn Manson comes up a lot in this context, but my music taste is incredibly broad and includes a little bit of everything, from art pop to folk metal to industrial rock and literally everything in between. I’ve stopped being pretentious about it. I’m also greatly influenced by works of science fiction and cyberpunk, stop-motion film, runway and fetish fashion, art photography, biological science, and of course, BDSM. I am inspired every day by the content creators whom I follow on social media—the artists, filmmakers, and photographers, the sex workers and professional Dominants, the doll makers and doll collectors, the creative minds who inspire me every single day with their amazing talent, love, and support. I want my art to be seen, but those people are the ones who make me want to share it.
What is your favorite color? Do you think that color describes you as a person? Why or why not?
My favorite color is grey. I honestly don’t know what that says about me as a person, but I know it reflects some parts of my personality. I like quiet and order. I like things to be just so, but I can also be flexible and adapt to a wide variety of situations. I think it’s an apt metaphor to assign to shades of grey.
What does the phrase “unconventional feminine” mean to you?
The phrase “unconventional feminine” arose as something I began using to refer to myself when I was in the process of building my own self-esteem. Societally, we have these certain expectations of what it means to be a woman, and I think the pressure associated with those expectations drives this want to be perfect. This comes to the forefront for me a lot because I have chronic problems with my skin and my joints, as well as a number of traits society at large doesn’t often assign to women it considers the standard. But there are no perfect women. There are no perfect people. Loving myself in spite of that isn’t some kind of shortcoming on my part, and as a response to that, the unconventional feminine became my artistic standard.
I want to show women the way I see them in the world because they are ideal just as they are. This is why my dolls don’t conform to the standard vision of femininity.
Instead, they are unconventionally feminine because they challenge that perception simply by their existence. There are so many ways to be feminine, to be a woman, and none of them are wrong.