Arizona’s Jill Penney (scroll way down that page) is a pop surrealist doll artist who makes polymer clay dolls that are part punk, part comic book, part anime, slightly deviant…what’s being called low-brow art.
The style has roots in tatoos and graffiti and is wildly popular on the west coast. When a pop surrealist gallery opened up in our midwest town with Penney’s dolls, I went to see what I could learn.
The craftsmanship in Penney’s dolls is impressive and her aesthetic fits perfectly in this gallery of like-minded artists. Her sassy waif-like dolls beg to be played with but their pricetags place them well beyond toy status. The blending of toys and art takes a bit of getting used to. Several serious young collectors were comparing their pricey acquisitions. The buzz reminded me of the early days of outsider art. It’s nice to see fine polymer clay art in the middle of this growing genre.