In the past few years, I have noticed these amazing images of wild little dolls. I always loved the diverse dollies, from Marilyn Monroe to Manson to Madonna to the Crocodile Hunter. Sean Tataryn is the father of these little darlings. His website is a whole other world, full of creative little masterpieces, including a huge series of celebrities and original characters. This talented young man has lived all over Canada and the US, and acted in movies like The Boys of St Vincent, Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Leather Jacket Love Story.
Now he spends most of his time with his dog, bringing to life magic little beings that are making huge waves all over the world. And they really are out of this world!
Michael Venus: So, what are you up to and when did you start the world of Myumees?
Sean Tataryn: Well, I started making them when I was a kid, around 10 or so. At that time they were called Bubble Babies. [Later,] I remember wondering why there were no Madonna dolls, with all the different looks she’d had, and so I began making my Madonna Myumees. My idea was never to make perfect, Barbie-type things. I wanted them to have their own character, their own kind of style.
MV: Why do you feel the need to make these dolls? What’s the inspiration behind them?
ST: I dunno. I started making them like doodling. A friend recommended that I display them publicly, so I displayed a couple of them and the reaction was pretty intense for me.
I didn’t know how people would react to them. I wasn’t sure if they would be insulted because they would see their favorite stars and maybe think I was being blasphemous or whatever.
The intent wasn’t to insult the star. Mine [are] more like childlike versions of them-not [like] Spitting Image who likes to highlight the warts and the wrinkles. I really wanted them to look like they’re from the same planet.
They are pretty moron-proof, too. You can drop them and they don’t break. I want to make sure people can really enjoy them.
MV: When did they really take off?
ST: Well, after making them for a while, I got really frustrated because I thought, “What’s the point? Nobody’s seeing them.”
My Granville Mall Optical display (on Granville and Robson, which I will be doing again in April) was so good, I wanted more people to see them. As an artist, when you work really hard you want people to see your stuff.
So my website had its one year anniversary in April, so it’s almost two years now! It’s nice and it’s the first site that I have created. I thought if I’m going to do it, it has to be like an amusement park.
MV: What is the average timeframe when creating one of your little angels?
ST: Depends on the one I’m doing. The Wonder Woman and Superman took a long time because I have to capture, in their face, who they are. Slightly exaggerated Madonnas I can do in my sleep. I’ve done, like, 100 of them. It depends on the outfit, the make-up, the hair and costumes. I do it all myself.
MV: The hair always rocks; you have it really down perfect.
ST: Here, check out Wonder Woman. She’s just been added.
MV: She is great! I’m such a huge Wonder Woman fan. She was my ultimate hero growing up. I brought my Wonder Woman doll everywhere, the one with the lashes and everything!
ST: Did you? The Linda Carter?
MV: Linda Carter, gotta love her! I find all gay men especially love Wonder Woman and they love their Madonna!
ST: I have seen Madonna live a few times and you look around and you see everybody. She really appeals to everyone! I have the only line of Madonna dolls in the world!
MV: Have any of your dolls been seen by their superstar original counterpart?
ST: Yes. Marilyn Manson has seen his and loved them. I am assuming more have as well. They have egos and they want to see what their fans are up to. I leave my (promotional) stuff everywhere: in restaurant menus, bathroom stalls, cabs, everywhere! I want everyone to see my work.
Let’s face it, a lot of artists don’t make enough money for their work, so it’s great to at least let it be seen!
MV: Wow, really? So you don’t make money off them? Is this for the art of it all?
ST: I would like to have them manufactured. These are sort of the prototypes. After getting e-mails from all over the world wanting the dolls, I hate saying, “No, they are too hard to make.”
MV: So you are Canadian but have lived in a lot of places. Fill us in.
ST: I was born in Regina. I lived in Moosejaw, which I’m glad for because I like being from a small place and having that ingrained in you, instead a being born in Los Angeles, or Dallas, or New York. You really get the perspective of both worlds.
MV: Who really inspires you?
ST: It changes sometimes. I usually stay current. I’m 30, I’m an old man (laughs); it’s harder to stay in touch. I don’t know what’s popular right now.
MV: Well, you did do Kylie! Is there anyone you won’t do?
ST: I’m not a huge fan of Britney Spears, but I like her a lot more now than I used to. When she first came I was so against doing her, but I want to do everybody!