BEHIND THE DOLLS Joe MacPhale was born in late November 1959, in the town of Santurce, Puerto Rico. His grandparents in the town of Bayamon raised Joe. "I vividly remember my first drawing at the age of 5. Someone gave me a blue tempera jar and a wooden stirring stick with a piece of cream-colored paper, so I drew my first stick man! I think that was the beginning of a wonderful discovery of the magic of imagination"
When he was in elementary school, He was always thinking of the fantasy world and nature, as most children do. He also remember getting into a lot of trouble in school because he would disappear from regular classes just too always be found at the side of his art teacher, soaking up like a sponge all the knowledge she possessed. Then the first man landed on the Moon. Joe proceeded to make a collage of the man walking on the moon and his first abstract plaster sculpture. He recalled "We entered the pieces into competition and to my amazement, I took first prize" Later he find out he would not get the first place trophy on the man in the moon, due to the judges thinking that his work was too good to be executed by a child of such a young age. They were under the assumption that his teacher had helped him on it. "I was devastated and never entered a competition again"
Joe's grandfather was an industrial sewing machine mechanic and his grandmother a sewing professional at the factory. By the early age of eleven, he was an avid pattern maker and sewing machine mechanic. Always immersed in the world of fantasy, Joe kept creating drawings, sculptures and costumes based on the fantasy world (his fantasy world that is). In 1973, at the age of 14 he took a correspondence course on animation, and with the help of one of my neighbors, he learned how to make ceramic molds and how to cast porcelain. Therefore, at the age of 16, he produced his first porcelain doll from scratch to the finished product. Then he went thru all the hard years in school. Yes, he said hard because he was different, and not very well accepted by the rest of the student body.
At the age of 18, he moved to Orlando, Florida with the purpose of joining Walt Disney World. In 1980, Joe became an ice skater for the holidays show, at Lake Buena Vista. He worked at Disney in different positions for the next 25 years.
In the mid 90’s Joe opened his own little business in porcelain doll making and Scottish attire. Then he decided to go back into competition but this time in a different medium. Joe became a bagpiper, and he performed for an attraction known as Rosie O’Gradies. He not only became a piper for them but also the only professional Kilt maker in the State of Florida. So armed with his bagpipes he began to go to all the highland games to compete as a solo piper, earning him a gold medal. Joe moved up through different levels of bagpipes. He joined the Orange County Sherriff’s department, and was able to go to Scotland to represent them at the 2001 pipe band and world championship competition.
After the terrorist attack on 9/11 Joe lost his doll making and Scottish attire business. Therefore, for the next few years he continued to work at Walt Disney World, where he became the master designer for a jewelry company called Metals of Art. In 2004, Joe met his partner and left Disney to pursue a carrier as a Mobile Test Tech Driver for the same company his partner was working. Both of them spent the time working all over the USA. One night Joe remembers telling his partner that he could sculpt like Giuseppe Armani. His partner laughed in disbelieves, and Joe decided to prove that he really was a good sculptor. He armed himself with all the sculpting tools, but once again Joe went a step further, and decided that if he was going to create dolls again and go back as a professional doll maker he would do it by coming out with a piece that will transport everyone that looks at it into his wonderful magical world.
Meanwhile, he and his partner had to work in different states. In Joe's mind, the gears were turning creating the masterpiece while both of them stayed in different hotels at different cities. Communication through the internet with his partner proved to be a great support in producing the best piece of electronic engineering and beautiful magical automata sculpture, the fairy doll Shaylee. Joe described the sculpture as follow." She is in her own environment, which features tiny hand-sculpted flowers, a mist that covers the forest floor, tiny fireflies and magical music playing in the background, with a full moon and the Aurora Borealis. Shaylee is in the center of this magical world floating suspended in mid air with her outstretched arm holding her lighted wand"
During this time and through several phone conversations Joe proceeded to talk with Elizabeth Dye, who was the Membership Chairperson of The Professional Doll Makers’ Art Guild. With her help in 2007, Joe was able to attend his first big exhibition, IDEX, where he was able to display his biggest creation, Shaylee to rave reviews.Now Joe's partner believes him when he tells him, "I can sculpt like Giuseppe Armani!" In 2008, the new company Ancient Whispers LLC was born. Now after 50 years of creating art and doll making, he have mastered the art of silicone mold making and resin casting.
"For the last 11 years, we had offer seminars for artists interested in mold making and casting as well as sculpting lessons. We are currently providing videos, and internet classes. We are working on new dolls and limited editions"
Joe MacPhale is a proud recipient of two consecutives years (2011, 2012) of the DOTY (Industry choice and People’s choice) award winner, and 2012 PDMAG Artist Choice award. Recently Joe has also won the 2016 Diamond award of excellence, the prestigious 2017 PDMAG inovator & trendsetter award and in 2016 attained a new member status in the prestigious NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists) organization. David and Joe have seven dealers, and they are international for the first time with a dealer in France! Joe has been featured in six magazine covers and have a patent pending for the new blinking mechanism that bring his dolls alive!
Joe MacPhale is immersing in his fantasy world where he have a way to incorporate all of the various forms of art he have learned throughout the years!