Hal Payne

Master Doll Artist

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Hal Payne began his adventure into the world of art on a sunny, Saturday afternoon in a little park in El Paso, Texas, at the age of six. While waiting for his first dentist appointment, his mother calmed the nerves of her anxious boy by drawing the people and foliage of the park using stick figures and lollipop trees! Hal was quick to realize, even at that tender age, that reality is whatever the artist wills it to be.

Throughout his school years, Hal gained confidence and recognition through his artistic endeavors. After a four year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, where he served as an electrician, movie projectionist, and shipboard cartoonist, he returned to El Paso to work as a visual merchandiser for a leading department store. It was at this time that he began formal training in drawing and painting at the Art Academy of El Paso, later competing his training at the University of Texas in El Paso.

Moving to Los Angeles, his skills as a merchandising artist were easily identified and he soon began teaching visual merchandising for several chain stores. Much in demand, he was offered opportunities with Disney and Mattel. However, no corporate position could fill his artistic needs. His hands-on experience with building visual environments had wetted his appetite for what was to come: a life long love affair with sculpture.

He began working in bronze (a media many of his admirers hope he will someday return to), but soon, wood emerged as his material of choice. Early successes at the Beckman Gift Shows in Los Angeles encouraged his much loved series of children riding carousel animals. The press and buying public quickly voted their enthusiastic support. It did not take long for the doll world to take notice.

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After experimenting with different methods of creating joints, making wigs, and in short, learning every facet of the doll-making craft, he introduced his first dolls at the New York Toy Fair in 1986. Since that time, the adulation of the doll community has never ceased. Now working in many media, including wood, porcelain and terra cotta, Hal was instrumental in introducing resin as a medium in the art of doll making.

Hal Payne's work has become synonymous with action. Whatever the subject, Hal's art is always on the move. The true reason for Hal's success, however, is not that he has chosen charming, active subject matter. Rather, it is his ability to breathe life into his creations -- and most importantly -- it is his inability to be anyone other than himself. Thus, his work emerges as completely original and totally unique. It is for this reason that his one-of-a-kind dolls grace the collections of the world's elite collectors.

Today, Hal's creations continue to set the benchmark for originality and excellence in craftmanship, while he aspires to new horizons of individuality, integrity and invention. For example, while his latest creation could hardly be considerd a "doll," it refects the realism of his prior work in the medium of bronze. THE MINER combines history and art to show the hard rock mining legacy of Idaho's Silver Valley. This sculpture was commissioned as a limited edition of 25 by the Sprag Pole Museum in Murray, Idaho.

Native American Dolls
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Surreal Sculptures
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Flights of Fantasy
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Hal lives with his family in
historic Wallace Idaho

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Greg Marsh is Marsh Scientific Services ©1998-2010, Greg Marsh, Ph.D., Marsh Scientific Services
last update on Saturday, June 12, 2010