Launched: Custom Toy Portrait
Date: August 2009
LaunchHER says: A unique idea that we know brings happiness to her clients. When you do what you love and love what you do- how can you go wrong?
The HER behind it: Jennifer Maher
In HER words:
For a painter, stuffed animals are a quirky and forgiving subject matter. For the child who recieves a painting of a much-loved toy, the portrait can represent afirmation of the significance of her relationship with it. For an adult, a portrait of a childhood plaything can be a fun and personal addition to an art collection.
We tend to anthropomorphize stuffed animals in both design and love. When painting a toy portrait, I try to evoke the human creativity behind the toy as well as its importance to the child (or adult) who loves it. Finding the spark of wisdom or humor in the expression or the attitude of the posture is one of the great pleasures of my process.
The Custom Toy Portrait website has become an archive not only of images but also the wonderful stories behind each toy. When commssioning a toy portrait, a parent or relative will often share hilarious and touching tales of passionate friendship. The creativity that a child displays in developing a toy’s persona is astounding. The toy can be the subject of the child’s own projected emotions, and so it becomes a translator and friend to the parents as well! In fact, in many cases a portrait gift for a child has as much or more significance for the parent.
Toys have been a favorite subject of my painting throughout many disparate artistic phases. I’ve always maintained a collection of stuffed animals that I consider to be either unique, extra cute, or just beautifully designed. When I was preparing for the birth of my daughter, I wasn’t sure if I would share “my” toys with her, but of course I could not resist. Now almost two, she imbues them with funny personalities and, of course, purpose. When not working from commissions, I turn to Sonja’s stuffed friends. I love to look of recognition on her face when a painting begins to take shape and she smiles and shouts its name! My hope is that my toy portraits preserve and honor toys for children and art-loving adults alike.