Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Studio Visit with Joshua David McKenney + Pidgin

Yesterday I attended a studio visit with Joshua David McKenney: artist, designer and now creator of “Pidgin” his modern take on the classic European doll. We sat down in his home and studio, cracked open a bottle of Lambrusco Rosé, and dreamt aloud;  we spoke about art and design, doll-making, illustration, creative transition, Mel Odom, Antonio Lopez, Jane Forth, food, and Olive Oil.
As an Illustrator, I spend much of my time alone in the studio, but occasionally I manage to get out and roam the neighbourhoods, stumbling upon goodies that feed my eyes and spirit. I’ve read many artists’ biographies and interviews in which they discuss their creative re-engagment with whatever discipline is their focus (when I use the term artists, it encapsulates all kinds of artful things, such as writing, music, illustration, hair, fashion, etc.). For me, it’s the stories of others, seeing and hearing about their processes, not only in reference to making whatever (art) piece they are making, but also the lead up and arrival to that aforementioned work. It felt kind of like a denouement seeing Joshua again after several years, and meeting Pidgin for the first time. I remember reading about both successes and failures while he was making this doll -- melted faces especially (the head, arms and legs are porcelain and so they have to be fired in a kiln) and so, I related to it much the same as any other individual who is close to whatever it is that s/he is making – and that thing which is being made carries within it all of the artist’s greatest hopes and intentions. Seeing Pidgin manifest in front of me was incredibly surreal, and inspiring. You can meet Pidgin at

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