Super Mega Big Lebowski Dolls

Growing up, I was obsessed with Broadway shows and would draw every character, down to members of the chorus, from the performances I loved. How I never managed to do the same with nesting dolls is beyond me, since I do have a drawer filled with loose dolls that can easily be cobbled together to reflect an entire cast from “Hair” or “Assassins” or “Sweeney Todd” or “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I did have in mind to paint every little critter from “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” but it would be one of those projects that will take forever and a day to knock out.

And then I got a request to paint the entire cast of “The Big Lebowski.” We’re talking the core cast, the secondary cast, the extras, and even a couple of inanimate objects featured prominently in the film. How can I pass this up? I am beyond thrilled to bring this to life!

Set Number One:

This one features The Dude, Jackie Treehorn, Woo the Thug, Francis Donnelly the funeral home director, Younger Cop, Lebowski’s Chauffeur, and Bunny Lebowski’s severed toe with the green nail polish.

Set Number Two:

Here we’ve got Walter, Bunny, Liam (Jesus’ lackey), Dafino, Nihilist’s girlfriend, and porn actress Asia Carrera who appeared in the film as herself playing “Sherry” in “Logjammin’.”

Set Number Three:

Donny with his In-N-Out Burger, Nihilist #1 with the marmot, Marty the Landlord, Malibu Sheriff, Tony the Chauffeur, and the cashier girl in the opening scene.

Set Number Four:

Maude in her “painting harness,” Nihilist #2, Knox Harrington, Maude’s thugs, Saddam Hussein, and the doctor tending to The Dude.

Set Number Five

This is one of my favorite sets because of the wheelchair on Jeffery Lebowski. It also featured Brandt, Little Larry Sellers, Impound Lot Cop, the cabbie who hauled The Dude out of his taxi, and the Older Cop we came out to interview him.

Set Number Six:

The Stranger, Nihilist #3, Smokey, one of the showgirls in the dream sequence, coffee shop waitress, and Gary the Bartender.

Set Number Seven:

This one features Jesus Quintana, The Autobahn Group, Blonde Treehorn Thug upon discovering that The Dude wasn’t, in fact, the Jeffery Lebowski they were after, the Corvette owner who came out to beat up The Dude and Walt after they destroyed his Corvette, Pilar, Larry Sellers’ housekeeper, and the Stacks Pancake House waitress.

Set Number Eight:

This one was a lot of fun to make because it features Arthur Sellers in an iron lung, Dream Sequence Dude, the bowling pro who played an extra in the movie, the REAL Jeffery “The Dude” Lebowski, and the coffee can filled with Donny’s ashes.

Last but not least…


It’s a bit daunting seeing all these dolls out on display like this, but I’ve had about four months to work on it. Thank you, Mitch! This was a blast!

Key and Peele

I discovered Key and Peele during one of my marathon painting jags and needed something funny to get me through. They certainly did that!

It was hard narrowing down all my favorite characters to just twelve, and even harder trying to find time to paint them and hopefully do it justice. It took over a month to crank these guys out. Now I’m looking forward to finding time to work on another twelve!

Obama and Luther, the Anger Translator

I can easily do the entire set featuring these college football guys.

Do you believe these guys are “prepared for terries?”

Mr. Garvey, the inner city public school teacher subbing at a nice suburban school. What could go wrong?

I’m sure there’s a little bit of Wendell in all of us, especially our desires to make over-the-top music videos.

And of course, my favorite valets. They remind me of the clerk at the post office. We hold up the line talking about movies ALL THE TIME. We spent 20 minutes discussing “Wonder Woman” until his mother/boss gently pointed out we’re getting side eyes from increasingly angry-looking customers.

Who Are You?

It’s no secret among my friends and family that I prefer music played in a continuous loop on classic rock radio. Back when people used to own CDs, my collection had been referred to as the-kind-of-albums-usually-owned-by-44-year-old-single-men-still-living-in-their-mother’s-basement. It’s true. I’d bring dates home and distracted them with cake or miscellaneous art work lying around, just so they didn’t wander over to my CD tower and discover that a majority of them bore the distinctive Roger Dean covers.

I love The Who. This would be my 900th set and I hope I did it justice. If I can’t paint the boys who had gotten me through high school and most of college with their “sound,” I should just give up the babushka game and go into actuarial science.

It turned out all right, I think.

This is the first time I didn’t place the drummer (Keith Moon) at the end of the lineup so I got to put in some details on the drum kit.

Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle.

I usually listen to stand up comedies or “watch” TV and movies while painting. But for this set? It’s The Who albums all the way through, including the original Broadway cast recording of “Tommy.” I treated my friend to the show for her birthday and in turn, she treated me to it for mine. Afterwards we went again because we were theater nerds and also back then we could also get orchestra seats for $50, which was affordable for high schoolers with no substance abuse issues. I believe my friend saw the show on her own 4 more times. I would’ve gone with her, but, unlike her, I did have to watch my pennies since I was an art student whose classmates tend to have a bit of sticky fingers syndrome due to the high cost of art supplies and had to carefully split my allowance between Broadway shows and replacing my stolen T-square or Rapidographs.

Batman: Heroes Vs. Villains

Talk about a blast from the past! When I was given a choice between painting all the different actors who’d played Batman or just the characters from the old Batman TV show, I immediately went for the latter. Are you kidding me? I was obsessed with the old Batman reruns when I was a kid. I remember rushing home each day from school just so I could watch a show which I hadn’t, during my formative years, regarded as campy at all. It was all kinds of illicit too because, as a latchkey kid, I was entrusted with the responsibility of doing my homework and practicing the piano in my parents’ absence. Instead, my afternoons were filled with a mixture of cartoons such as “He-Man” and “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers” (yes, I realize they’re all very male-centric. I had an older brother and one TV set. Choices were limited in such circumstances), followed by some great live action shows such as “Batman” and later “Wonder Woman.” This might explain why my grades were poor and that my piano playing didn’t amount to much, but if I had to do it all over again, I’d choose TV over good grades any day!

The “Heroes” set features: Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and of course, Alfred.

Let’s not forget the Villains, which is: Penguin, Joker, The Riddler, and of course, Catwoman. Meowr!

Marie Got Married

Years ago, I happened to come across a fashion blog and gave it a read even though at the time, my idea of high fashion was making sure I have pants on when I leave my house. The blog caught my attention not only because the author was fashionable in a relatable way but she was hilarious as hell. I thought it would be fun to paint her as a nesting doll in her various duds and, even though I was well-aware of the fact that I would probably come across as someone with stalking issues, I took a chance and emailed her with my strange request. Come on, I had to! This girl owned a hat shaped like a pair of lips smoking a cigarette. And she owned a corn suit, for crying out loud.

She said yes and I devoted a week (this was back in the day when I actually had to take a week to paint a set of dolls) painting her in various outfits and had an absolute blast. Thanks to her, I was introduced to her BFF, who runs the most delightful little store in LA called the Pygmy Hippo Shoppe and thus history was made because I got to create so many sets of dolls I would not have done otherwise if it weren’t for these two gorgeous gals. And of course, when Marie got married, my first thought was to make her a set of wedding dolls.

Marie, her man, and her doggie.

From what I gathered, there was pizza at the wedding.

Aren’t they fabulous? Congratulations, Marie and Jimmy! May your marriage be long and full of laughter and joy!

Rosemary’s Baby

This is one of my all-time favorite horror movies: Rosemary’s Baby. It was filmed so that it’s basically a moving picture version of the novel by Ira Levin.

This set features Rosemary, Guy Woodhouse, and their creepy witchy neighbors Roman and Minnie Castevet. I pop this movie on whenever I feel a little homesick because I used to work across the street from The Dakota.

Girl Power

There’s one good thing I like about the newer Disney princesses. They’re misfits and strong-willed, they kick butts, and they get things done. After being snottily told by my downstairs neighbor that I was weird, I feel like I have a few things in common with some of these princesses. If I’m not weird, I wouldn’t be who I am, would I?

This collection of Disney Princesses is for a little girl turning four. I sincerely hope she will see beyond the pretty outfits and gleaming castles and learn to be just as fierce and independent as these ladies!

The Goonies

How’s this for a 80’s nostalgia? The Goonies!

This set features Sloth, Chunk, Data, Mouth, and Mikey. Boy, painting this set brought me back. My childhood was all about biking all around town and getting into all sorts of trouble. Even though I grew up in Flushing Queens, there’s the Fresh Meadows Park nearby that kind of gives the illusion of being in the wild if you ignore the traffic noise and the diesel fumes while you’re pretending to hunt of prehistoric animals or treasures in there. It was as good a childhood as one could get growing up in New York City. Years later, when I was teaching kindergarten in Manhattan, I was shocked and sadden to find that one of my favorite kids didn’t know what a forest was. Luckily in second grade they’re taken on field trips to Alley Pond Park, which was also near where I grew up so I was mollified.

Manos: The Hands of Fate (Revisited)

I have so many projects sitting on the back burner that it’s threatening to topple over. Fortunately, there are always people out there somehow psychically linked to what I have in mind giving me a little push.

That said, one of those projects is to create a larger version of Manos: Hands of Fate, one of the most horrifically awful movies ever made. I’ve made the first one in a smaller size as a joke because I’d enjoyed watching the MST3K version so much. It was also a movie I showed to someone on a first date, which explains why I didn’t usually get a second date. In any case, the Manos sets were not something I can whip up in a day because of all the components that goes into it, namely the creation of the Master’s robe, so I never really gave the larger size a go.

Then I got a lovely email from one of the actresses from the movie: Jackey Neyman Jones, daughter of Tom Neyman, who played the Master. I knew from other Manos fans that she is making a sequel to Manos and also that her father had only recently passed away, which had upset me to a degree only a true Manos fan can understand. In short, I found her so delightful that I thought this was a sign, that I need to finally buckle down and create a large Manos set and she would be the first to receive it. Just to give me another kick in the pants, Jackey had sent me a copy of her book: “Growing Up with Manos” all the way to Australia!

Thanks, Jackey! I can’t wait to see the sequel!