For many the idea of a Barbie doll represents childhood innocence and play; for others it represents the ideals of womanhood; and for others still it represents a stereotypical feminine icon that has been instrumental in the systematic belittling of a woman’s perceived value to society. Canadian artist, Mariel Clayton, comes across as a member of that latter group, as she’s really been turning heads with her thought provoking photos of Barbie. Mariel is becoming famous for portraying Barbie dolls in ways we have never seen before, including scenes of murder, suicide and what-the-fuck. Some find Mariel’s work strange, others find it compelling and frankly I think it’s awesome!
I came across Mariel’s work on a random art and fashion blog, which led me to the Diary Of A Dead Barbie, and I eventually made my way to her website. It was after reading more about Mariel that I found that most of these scenes were made without any particular message in mind, but rather expressed the artist’s desire to portray something commonplace in a different light, that might stir a reaction from its audience. Mariel has also said a number of times that he finds this portrayal of Barbie to be funny, and generally amusing… Yeah, it’s kind of messed up, but there’s also something endearing about the purity of how her work took shape. Her vision was not rooted in the bitterness of social unrest, but through the desire to create she has built a platform to express these ideas freely.
She (Barbie) has been sanitised to the point where she has absolutely no pesonality whatsoever, so she just seemed to be the perfect model to explore the idea of this hidden evil. There was no time really when it wasn’t conceivable for me to use her in the pictures, it just makes perfect sense. Nobody is ‘that’ good, ‘that’ perfect – everyone is flawed in some way, and I wanted to explore that. -Mariel Clayton
In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of my favourite Mariel Clayton collections, starting with “Barbie Dolls That Kill” today and continuing from there. You can buy signed prints of Mariel’s work (here), for ongoing updates be sure to check in at Mariel’s website, and like the Mariel Clayton Photography fanpage.
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