Strange Babies

Appropriate for Halloween, highly realistic (and sometimes disturbing) creatures dubbed ‘Okie Babies’ make a lasting impression.

Artist Julia Lane creates lifelike dolls that range from adorable to horrible. Photo by Josh New

Her creations are highly realistic, but they’re not your average baby dolls because Julia Lane, the genius behind Okie Babies, has a different perspective in mind.

Lane’s dolls feature fangs, wonky eyes, repulsive teeth, horns atop their heads or even a sickly glow.

“I have always loved dolls, babies and anything strange,” the Muskogee resident says. “I stumbled across this art form one day while browsing online and was completely amazed at the detail and realism of it.”

Lane says she first made human-like dolls to grasp how to achieve realism, but then quickly moved to making fun little creatures that “come from both my imagination and things in fairy tales. I get my inspiration from everything – emotions, dreams, world affairs, movies, my kids, memories, other artists, tales, colors, friends, family, fans and even my supplies.”

Artist Julia Lane creates lifelike dolls that range from adorable to horrible. Photo by Josh New

Some dolls resemble vampires, zombies or ghouls, with a recent creation looking as if he would be at home in the movie Avatar. Regardless, each looks as if it were alive.

The foundations of Lane’s creations are blank vinyl kits, some sculpted by other artists and some created using 3-D scans of real babies. She says she uses a range of paints and media to make her dolls look alive; she primarily uses a heat-set, oil-based paint to create depths of complexions.

A single doll can have up to 40 layers of paint, Lane says. Each layer has to be cured in a specialized oven for 10-20 minutes to make sure it doesn’t distort the shape of the hands, feet or head.

“Often, I either burn into the vinyl to reshape it or sculpt extra bits and pieces before I even start painting,” Lane says. “I’ve adhered discarded flesh, teeth and bone of ethically sourced animal remains in quite a few of my creations. The fantasy creatures I make give me a wide range of artistic leeway and continue to challenge me in new ways every time.”

These extra bits and pieces often induce strong reactions to her dolls, especially when she posts photos of them on social media.

“I’m sure there are neutral reactions to my work, but it seems that people only care to go above and beyond with their comments if they feel very strongly,” Lane says. “Sometimes my work even shocks me, so I’m not terribly surprised over the reactions. I am, however, honored and sometimes humbled by them.

“People have taught me not to care so much about their reactions because, no matter what is done, someone will either love or hate it. I’d rather be true to myself than worry with all that.”

Lane says it can take 40 to 60 hours to complete every detail on a single doll.

“Each individual hair and every vein are meticulously placed in order to achieve the final result,” she says. “I make as many babies as my time, imagination, fingers and mental well-being will allow me to, and I am elated to do it.”

The price of one of Lane’s creations can vary from $300 to $1,200 due to supplies, time spent on the creation and outsourced services. Find her work at facebook.com/okiebabies11.

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