Artist's clever play on perception with giant Barbie and dead fly sculptures

Scottish artist Michael John Hunter, who specialises in sculpture and photography, has released his most ambitious body of work to date, As I grow, as I lose, inspired not least in part by his experience of living with a condition affecting his vision.

Via Creative Boom submission. All images courtesy of the photographer

Via Creative Boom submission. All images courtesy of the photographer

A culmination of five years of self-funded work, Hunter’s series centres around a 20-foot scale sculpture of a child’s doll (which you will recognise as Barbie), made of polystyrene and fibreglass that took six months to create. The sculpture was then photographed in deserted locales using various traditional optics and lenses.

The resulting images challenge our perception. They play with perspective and scale between the doll and its surroundings as much as they evoke feelings of familiarity and unease. When the images are printed, the doll in the photographs is reproduced on a 1:1 scale, causing us to continually accept and reject what we see before us as a faithful depiction of reality.

Hunter, who studied at Edinburgh Art School, and now lives in London, said: "The series is about the loss of imagination we all experience as we grow older – and how confronting that loss opens us up to the understanding that our shared reality is subjective.

"Just as children alter their reality with imagination, with this doll as a symbol of childhood, I want to challenge the viewer's ideas of what is real and what is an illusion. I want them to open their minds and be more childlike again."

One of the major personal creative drives for Hunter was a diagnosis of a rare condition called VS Aeropsia, which affects his vision and general visual perception of the world around him. He added: "Having VS Aeropsia is something that really pushed me to make work. Because my own perception was changing all the time, I wanted to challenge an audience into seeing something different.

"I like the fact the people just assume they know what they are looking at. I like that people walk by it. But they always come back once they are informed, which for me it means I’m doing it right."

To find out more about the work of Michael John Hunter, visit


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