Every artist needs a muse. Blythe has been the muse for many an artist, including Allison Katzman, the originator of Blythe, Gina Garan, the television producer responsible for the reinvention and rebranding of Blythe, and in the last post, we looked at the painter, Margaret Keane as well as the hugely popular and gothic-style film director, animator and artist, Tim Burton.
Each of these immense creatives has found Blythe a source of inspiration and a vehicle for their designs. Inspiration is an elusive thing for many to grasp and the great value of a Blythe Doll is to use her as art, to showcase your style, but also to bring out inspiration. Blythes create more art: they become the fountain of new images, new narratives and poetic expression.
Part of getting creative is in getting back to childhood so that we are free to play without boundaries, and experiment and find discovery through trial and error. Blythe Dolls allow us to do that. Blythe Dolls encapsulate childhood. But Blythes are not as appealing to children as they are adults. Fort adults, they are a way to transcend time.
Again, creativity is all about this idea of going back in time. The original idea of a muse comes from “The Muses”, who were nine Greek goddesses from whom all inspiration in art, science, music and poetry was said to be derived, making them the guardians of Greek learning and culture. The Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. This point is important because, in many ways, all creative inspiration is the bringing together of the old and the new to make something original.
Blythe is this idea personified. Blythe Dolls were forgotten for decades before they were rediscovered and recast after bringing inspiration to Gina Garan. Blythe was given a new lease of life and this enabled many more to be inspired. Secondly, Blythe is a muse for the vintage and the nostalgic, for new looks to be created out of old styles.
These days, Greek mythology still provides creative inspiration, but modern psychologists now only claim that inspiration only comes from within us. This is true. The rare moments of genuinely unique ideas certainly come from deep in our soul and often deep in our memories.
Blythe’s look also resonates deep in our soul as an otherworldly spirit of “the uncanny”. The uncanny was a concept originally defined by Sigmund Freud in an essay explaining the visceral idea of creepiness in the human psyche. In science fiction films and in the field of robotics and toy design we see a related phenomenon called the “Uncanny Valley”. This is an emotional response triggered inside of us when a human-like creation, particularly the face of that creation, is a bit too lifelike and gives the observer a feeling of uneasiness and an urge to withdraw. It seems for some children of a certain age, the likeability of a Blythe Doll definitely occupies the trough section of this uncanny valley, while adults are invariably drawn to them.
All of this makes Blythe Dolls powerful muses. The create a powerful reaction within us and we’re always drawn to them. This makes them the perfect prop and canvas with which to make a statement. As such, Blythe Dolls give you the chance to create great poems and songs, to shoot animation and make amazing photography. For it is through the arts and in particular, through drama and storytelling, that we are at our most human.
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ Carl Jung
Blythe’s unique look was envisioned by the toy designer and Arts Institute of Chicago alumna, Allison Katzman’s early 1970s creations while working as a toy designer for Marvin Glass and Associates. Allison passed away recently at the age of 95 at her home in Seattle. Her dolls were ahead of their time, being not so...
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