The Sculptor the Hero of the Artist

Article, graphics, social posts by sm.

The Sculptor: The Hero of the Artist

by Steve McKinnis

Unbeknownst to most folk, or of no thought at all is the
person behind the Mattel, Hot Toy or Tonner Sculpt of a collectible doll,
sometimes a specific celebrity. Many of these companies, like Franklin Mint and
Disney too, don’t list, reveal or credit the sculptor of any given doll. More
often than not the sculptor like many artists who work on the preliminary dolls
(or prototype) have signed a contract prohibiting them from showing the work they have
done or even being able to show or post what they did do to any form of media.
Be it Facebook, twitter or anything else, they are prohibited from exhibiting
their part in the process.

Noel Cruz has often stated and still states unequivocally,
that the basis for the best possible repaint of a celebrity is the underlying sculpt.
He has also painted many dolls where in that particular sculpt wasn’t ever
intended to be a specific person (living or dead) and the mastery of his craft
is very apparent on both formats.
A Mattel Black Label Farrah Fawcett Barbie restyled and repainted  by Cruz for eBay auction

The reality is Cruz feels that all artists involved should
be able to take credit for their work. Cruz himself has often wanted to commission
a sculptor but has no idea who it was that sculpted a great sculpt, take the
Farrah Fawcett sculpt done for Mattel. Cruz would love to have a non-smiling
version. Who do you contract? Where do you start? Mattel won’t release or share
the name of the original sculptor. That’s their right. They paid for the work and
the artist/sculptor who did it agreed to their terms.

Cruz often gives credit where a doll company and production
company would not: to the nameless sculptor who continues to do amazing and
detailed work but without any namesake recognition. So credit must end up going
to the doll company that produced the said doll that ended up being stripped of
its factory paint, then restyled, sometimes re-rooted, then repainted.
A generic sculpt Barbie Becomes

Oscar Winner Angelina Jolie-Pitt

The ultimate ability to breathe life into these three
dimensional canvases, especially one that was never molded or intended to be a
specific person goes to the artist. It takes a lot of skill and mastery to give
the correct depth, via shading and light to create the nuances of a smile, a
smirk or a glint in the eye of that collectible and Noel Cruz has become a name
recognized for that ability. A humble and quiet man in Anaheim who makes his
living auctioning and being commissioned to repaint and restyle a doll in the
likeness of someone’s favorite celebrity.

Some generic Barbies or other dolls that become someone other than the original intention of the doll company follow (as well as directly above with Angelina Jolie-Pitt from a Basic Barbie Sculpt) below is a Mattel Ghost Barbie as Farrah Fawcett (a non-smiling version) and a Fashion Royalty repainted and styled to become Bo Derek.

For more of Noel’s work visit

About stevemckinnis

Web & Graphic Designer
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