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Bobbles and More Interview
by Sandi (CAT) Kilpatrick - September 23, 2006

Michael Baroto is the ultimate artist.  He has found the missing link between Bobbles and true artistry.  Michael's creations, Bobble Stars, are the high echelon in the Bobble World today.  The combination Michael has created are truly a joy to behold.  Bobbles And More is honored that Michael has consented to an interview and to talk with everyone about his creations, dreams and aspirations. 

CAT:  Michael, first of all thank you so very much for doing this interview.  I know my readers will enjoy meeting you and reading about Bobble Stars. 

Thank you, CAT itís my pleasure. 

CAT:  Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got started with Bobble Dreams.

Well, I have been creating puppets and special costume characters for about thirty-five years now for the entertainment industry and currently reside in Burbank, CA. And yes, I started at four. J Iím smiling now because itís still very much a continual process for me, and a very evolutionary one. However, back in the mid 90ís, I spent three years creating a line of Classic Hollywood Movie Star caricatures. At the time, this work was specifically geared to the doll collector market and I debuted the first two of those Hollywood Stars at the NYC Toy Fair in 1997. Well, call it timing or what have you but my techniques and artistry went pretty much unnoticed. Then in September 2005, I realized I had a growing catalog that needed an outlet. But it wasnít until I made an impromptu visit to the Hollywood Wax Museum that the bobble dream and idea hit me.  

CAT:  How do you get your inspirations? 

I try to stay very much aware of who I am and my surroundings. And by that I mean from the inside out. I like to read and explore new things. I like classic movies and Fine Art and nature. I can stand in awe looking at the beauty I see in a rose. Itís all a journey of discovery. Nowadays inspiration just comes. Sometimes I am amazed as the ideas flow but I have learned not to judge them and to get busy with either writing them down or creating.   

CAT:  From conception to completion which Bobble Star took the longest to create?

Thatís an excellent question CAT because there is always some sort of growth and development happening. I would say the first of anything always takes the longest. The first Bobble-Star I created was WC Fields but I donít recall him taking that long. I had the caricature head from my 1930ís Movie Star Collection and I knew the scale I wanted but I needed to create a uniform look for the series. In particular I had a vision in my mind's eye of just how I wanted these figures to present themselves. I soon realized it was much more about the way the bobbles wanted to present themselves to me. Your readers might find it interesting to know this was also true when created the box design. Sometimes it more or less matters on the types of materials you use to employ your technique and in that case the process is what it is you canít rush it. I can tell you that it takes me about three to four weeks from master model to finished proof. 

CAT:  Out of all your creations do you have a favorite and if so why is that particular one the apple of your eye? 

I have to say my Edith Piaf still holds a special place for me. She was created back in the 1970ís when I was in the process of developing my cast rubber technique. There were twelve dolls in that original collection. All of them had hand blown glass eyes except for Edith. I created her portrait with her eyes shut and when I finished her I realized that the work had a power to it that did not rely on the glass eyes for effect.  

CAT:  Is your wonderful talent natural or was it enhanced by schooling?

I believe my talent was a gift at birth. I feel very blessed in a way. My family members recognized my skills first, and then schoolteachers who were very instrumental in guiding me onto further study. This happened at such an early age. I canít remember when I was not attempting to create something.  

CAT:  What preparation do you go thru before actual work begins? 

LotsÖbut itís the part I truly love. I love research. Reading biographies for example about the people I create leaves a lasting impression on me. At the start I donít know what I might find or what that impression will be. It could be a little known fact, a favorite color or even an event that was taking place in their lives; just something that takes hold and allows me to reinforce the design. If not their literature it may be music. Music is my second love. I was going to say second nature. I can connect to a piece of music, a tone or a phrase and be inspired that way. When I feel like I am ready, I prepare a preliminary sketch as kind of a road map that reflect backs to me my understanding of shape, form, and subject matter.

CAT:  Can you take us thru a typical Michael Baroto creative day? 

I guess I am very disciplined in that respect. Most of the time I find the completion of a successful project and meeting deadlines is about organization. I use lists to help me stay organized and to multitask projects at various stages. Itís really about taking the right steps and using ones time efficiently. In the morning for example I like to handle all of my correspondence. This usually takes me until noon. Once done, I can Ďgetí creative.  I do break for lunch and dinner though there have been times when I will make a concerted effort work through in order to push a project to completion. Since I handle every aspect of my business myself I find work sometimes tips over into personal time like weekends but I do try to keep Sundays free.  

CAT:  You have many achievements and credits.  Please tell us about them. 

You know as funny as this sounds, I sometimes forget about them unless I take the time to look back. I always seem to be absorbed in the moment or planning the next phase of something. I started winning awards when I was a child. Initially these were certificates for outstanding achievement in art. Eventually these honors led to contests and larger prizes. When I was younger I didnít think too much about them. Certainly, not prior to creating the work, it should always be about the work. I try to tell young people this now. In retrospect, I am humbled by it all. 

CAT:  What was the most difficult piece to create and why?   

This question gave me pause. I have to say more or less that some pieces are just more challenging than difficult. I think that is a better word. I find the art of caricature is a subjective one. And for me, a latent ability I am truly awestruck by. Some of the more challenging caricatures to create were of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe. I believe the more famous and wide spread the fan base the more diverse peoples impressions are. So to lock in on a clear vision that the majority of people can identify with and still be true to my own artistic expression is the ultimate goal.  

CAT:  Please tell everyone where they can view Bobble Stars online. 

I would love to CAT. Your readers can view my Bobble-Stars Collection online at: I do hope these catch on with people. In many ways I have committed myself to finding a new and interesting way to interpret the design, form, fabric and texture of these figures in the commercial bobble world and marketplace. Not so much to duplicate life, but to stylistically go beyond whatís been done and in a greater sense to push my abilities as far as they will go.  

CAT:  What new and exciting creations are you working on/planning that you can share with us? 

Recently, I chose the story ĎAmahl and the Night Visitorsí as the perfect vehicle for my Nativity entry into my Puppet Parts Catalog. I have a deep passion and connection to this story and I am looking forward to creating the work. Once complete I am hoping to return my focus to the Bobble-Star line where I will continue to finish the master models in my collection depicting such stars as Judy Garland from ĎMeet Me in St. Louisí, Greta Garbo from ĎRomanceí, John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn. The possibilities are endless. And yes, I am open to commissions so please feel free to contact me in that regard. I imagine the Bobble-Star Collection will grow with or without commissions until I am inspired to yet again reach for a higher star. 

CAT:  If there is anything you would like to share with my readers that hasn't been asked please feel free to do so.

I contacted CAT on a hunch while searching the net for bobbles. I had this art and wanted to know what, if any, reaction or feedback the public thought. It was that same kind of intuitive feeling I get when I sit down to create my work. In the process I met a wonderful human being. And found this wonderful opportunity to share a bit of myself with you right now. I am very grateful to you and to them for allowing me to do so. And the fact that my work might inspire someone else or bring him or her joy makes it worthwhile. God Bless and Continued Success. 

CAT:  Michael, thank you, once again, for taking the time out of what I know for a fact a very hectic schedule for you to do this interview.  I'm sure everyone who sees Bobble Stars will be as awed and excited over them as I am.  CAT