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War Dolls

 

2016 MFA
Art Direction: Kelly Holohan
Photography: Elena Dimi

Before women had the right to enlist in the military, many cross-dressed as men in order to serve. War Dolls celebrates the bravery of historic female soldiers through the art of paper dolls. This unique set includes four famous women whose service dates range from The Napoleonic Wars to World War II. Each doll is packaged in a colorful service record that contains the soldier’s personal and military garments, allowing for the visual expression of both identities.

The service records and corresponding uniforms are collaged with ephemera from each woman’s time of service. Research into international military ephemera from across history informed the unique and colorful branding of the packages.

The dolls (shown below) include Joan of Arc, Nadezhka Durova, Cathay Williams, and Dorothy Lawrence.

Each record includes an envelope which contains the soldier’s military uniform and personal clothes. All outfits are historically accurate, referencing either the standard uniform of their time or known photographs of each woman.

A biography of each woman highlights how and why she enlisted, how her identity was discovered, and her life post-military service. While every biography lists their given name, an individual Military ID card in the record displays the fake name each woman used to enlist. For some soldiers, it was as simple as switching their first and last names. These names are also compared as large painted letters across the inside of the record.

Although my current home is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I’ve had the pleasure of working with people locally and internationally, including Landor Associates in Hamburg, Germany, and House9 Design, in Montreal, Canada.

As a visual designer, I’m concerned with impacting markets and social groups in a positive way through thoughtful research and cultural perspective. My academic work and educational background reflects my appreciation for perspective. As a student, I studied visual anthropology and German while actively working towards a degree in Graphic Design at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, USA.

My personal interests in the field involve the relationship between people and materials produced for them, exploring object culture through reinterpreting artifacts. I’m drawn to the differences between commercial goods and the meaning embodied in their forms, designing things typically discarded and reimagining those materials when they aren’t.

Freelance Inquiries

Hey there! Send me an email at laura.a.sutphen@gmail.com.

Services

branding, illustration, print design, website design, research, copywriting

Freelance Inquiries

Hey there! Send me an email at laura.a.sutphen@gmail.com.

Services

branding, illustration, print design, website design, research, copywriting