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Is modding respectful to the original art?

Aug 29, 2010

    1. Not sure if it has been discussed before but this question came to me as I was a reading a thread on whether to sand an Unoa Lusis/Sist's eyebrows off or not. I admire Gentaro Araki for creating lovely works of art like Lusis and I also like those eyebrow he sculpted on her. When I get a Lusis (waiting for next year's sale) I would want to keep the eyebrows intact myself.

      Now my question is since most BJD owners regard BJD as an artwork and not just a toy, and that we respect the artists who create sculpts. Is it respectful to the artists' original idea if we mod/alter a sculpt to suit ourselves (sometimes even beyond recognition) even though we paid a large sum of money for the doll?
    2. I'm pretty sure it has been discussed already, but I can't find the thread.

      It is not disrespectful, as BJD's are made to be costumized. Except for the original mold that artist made, the casts are not really art. You make them art yourself, by modding and faceupping etc.
      They are made and sold with the idea that you can change them however you want.
    3. I used to think about this too when I first heard of people modding dolls.
      But I have been modding my dolls for sometime now.

      Sure they are art pieces for some but I have since started to find bjds more and more commercial.
      Somehow the longer I am in the hobby, I start to think that the artist's work ends right after the molding and casting of the doll.
      We still admire their work but to me, bjds are starting to become modes of self expression.
      That is when all the customising and modding is unevitable.
      Maybe in our quest to have a doll of our exact wish we might have disrespected the artist a little(depends on the artist's own feellings about this) but its just part and parcel of such a flexible hobby.

      What I'd like to know is if an artist will feel that her art is disrespected. (Homg will Sarina hate me if she knew i modded her pretty yaoyue into a boy >.<)
    4. Unoas are sold new in pieces, unpainted, and are meant to be assembled and customized by the buyer, unlike art dolls that are probably expected to be kept in mint condition. If bjd artists want their dolls to be left intact, they should create a different sort of doll. I think they probably enjoy seeing the different looks other people dream up for their creation. I think I would.
    5. I don't think modification is disrespectful to the original art or artist. In fact, I've had artist-run doll companies agree to sell me optional parts for modification projects with the stipulation that I show them the results! In my experience, the artists that produce these dolls are excited to see all the different interpretations of their sculpt(s) that people come up with, and that includes modifications!
    6. Whenever the chance comes again to get El-b, I know that when I do all the sanding he'll be needing, those eyebrows are coming off!

      Honestly, I really think it depends on the artist individually whether they like or dislike their doll's being modded. Most, like Kiyokatari said, are open to it. Others, certainly not! It's just like hybrids, some companies artists get a bit possessive, because to them, it's about what they've created not being good enough.

      (As a note, the only company I've heard this attitude from explicitly is DollMore, who has gone way out of their way to have a ton of various head sculpts, sizes, and bodies for as many tastes as they can appeal to.)
    7. I would think that modding and face-ups would add to the art of the doll, not take away from it. I'm having a faceplate modded and face-upped(?) by someone, and so I see it more as a collaboration of the original artist and the person doing the customizations. I respect all artists in the making of a doll, as I wouldn't have my dream dolls if it wasn't for them. It may not be the original anymore, but then again I'm not having all of the features taken away, either. Besides, I think mods are original themselves.
    8. As someone who customizes My Little Ponies, there's always that moment that I feel a bit guilty because I need to remove the eyes and "cutie mark" made by the original artist. The guilt is REALLY bad when I think someone might want to COLLECT the pony.

      If I were to buy a doll set with the clothes, faceup and wig, I would feel like I bought that doll as an art piece rather than an item to be modded. But if I buy a doll body and head with nothing else then it's a semi-blank canvas.

      Also, I'm of the mind set of "I paid for it, it's mine now I'll do what I want."
    9. Volks started out with other products meant for customization before they came up with the Super Dollfie - and sells you many products to do customization on them. They really were designed to be customized, and I think the artists who design them are quite happy to see what owners do with them.

      That said, I wouldn't want to customize a One-Off or other one of a kind doll. I wouldn't feel right doing that.
    10. As long as you are respectful (don't go around saying things like "Sculpted on eyebrows? What was this artist thinking? Now I have to put in a lot of work to turn the doll into something decent.") I don't think it is disrespectful to mod something that is made for customisation.
    11. It's not disrespectful -- these dolls are made with the intent that the owner will customize them. It's their actual purpose. I know they're expensive dolls, but they aren't typical keep on the shelf, keep as mint as possible type items. They're very kit like in nature, so modding is to be expected. If you look around at what different companies sell, many sell customizing supplies right along with their dolls.

      While they are art of a sort, they aren't like a painting or sculpture which aren't made to be changed later. Part of the artistry comes from their original makers, but part of it comes from the owners too. It's the owner that finishes the doll -- they're very much blank canvases.
    12. If you go to the makers website and they sell dolls as blank basic "customizable" items then that is obviously what they expect you to do with them. I don't know if there are any BJD artists who sell only finished, clothed dolls, but if they do, then maybe they would consider it disrespectful, but I can't think of any companies who do that off the top of my head. The artist has created these dolls with further customization by the owner in mind, almost seems disrespectful not to!
    13. One of the biggest parts of this hobby is customizing your own doll in your own way. Even certain LEs (e.g. Soom's MDs) can come blank so that you can paint them however you like. I think that some sculptors may not like modding done, but there are a lot of others who are quite interested in what you do with their work after it comes home to you.
    14. Is modding disrespectful to the original artist? Maybe because they may have and idea for the doll and you destroyed that, but is it disrespectful to original art aka the doll? no, not at all. It's a customizable doll, therefore people are going to do that. Very few companies are interested in making dolls that aren't normal humans. Some of the zombie mods are insane and so adorable. I'm not sure how the original artist would accept the, but overall that's really not the point. As linakauno said, if they didn't want the doll to be customized, they should have made a different kind of doll.
    15. I have done some minor mods, and on a level I do feel a little guilty and think that it might be a little disrespectful to the original artist but I try to keep the integrity of the original design intact. But I guess in the end it would depend on the artist's own feelings on the matter. But I'd like to think that the artists create these sculptures for us to enjoy, should we choose to modify their original to our own aesthetic tastes.

      I think when mods go as far as changing the identity of a doll, to make it look so unlike the original to a point where the modder could have sculpted their own design, I would think mods have gone too far. The original artist didnt put countless time and effort into sculpting a beautiful face only for it to be completed changed and used as a base for someone else's artistic endeavors, however beautiful it may be. Although I doubt much anyone would raise a brow to this unless the modder considered casting their "resculpt." Which I find rather disappointing.

      *sigh* but you bought it so I guess you have every right to do with it as you like.......
      Probably boils down to how the modder perceives the perspective of the original artist.
    16. I think it's almost expected, considering you're supposed to do some of the work in creating the character yourself.
      And maybe these dolls are not just toys, but they are still toys; still things. They are not solely a work of art, but because they are a thing that we spend money on, we can do what we like with them, as long as it doesn't infringe the rights of the artist.

      I believe that, even though the artists who create these dolls obviously love to sculpt these dolls passionately, they are made to make money. If they weren't, there wouldn't be so many companies with so many different dolls that you can order indefinitely. They are made to be mass produced as much as possible.
      I think the artist might feel a bit bad if someone were to buy a doll for the specific purpose of destroying it, but I don't think they care at all if anyone alters what they've purchased.
      These dolls are supposedly meant to inspire creativity after all.
    17. I think dolls are like seeds- you buy them in a state where they are not "done", not reaching full potential. Care of the owner helps them flourish into something to be marvelled at. The initial state is curious, but the finished result is what's truely interesting.

      In regards to most dolls, anyway. So in responce; I do not beleive it disrespectful to mod a doll, be it on a faceup/clotheing level, or getting into the resin itself.
    18. This is a customizing hobby. Not an art gallery.

      Why do we keep going over and over this?
    19. Hi, I think thats a very good answer! From what I have read and understood so far, this is how many artists feel about it. Every doll is unique although it's the same sculpt! That's one thing that is so amazing about bjd's.

    20. As both an artist myself and someone who has modded the living daylights out of
      some of my dolls and floating heads, I believe that respect towards the artist
      has nothing to do with the act of modifying one&#8217;s doll. If I didn&#8217;t have any respect
      for the artist (or the doll/sculpt) I wouldn&#8217;t have purchased his/her work in the first place.
      That is not to say that I would customize or modify any type of art I acquire,
      but these are &#8220;customizable dolls,&#8221; not one of a kind museum quality art dolls.

      - Enzyme