NORWICH – Recently retired Norwich resident, Linda Kays Biviano, has decided to focus her efforts on her long-time passion of “artist character” creation. Part of this focus will be sharing her talent with the public in a series of classes at The Artists' Palette.
Kays-Biviano began getting into the realm of art doll making back in 1990 when she began teaching herself how to sculpt. In 1991, she attended a show in California and participated in a resin and mold making class. This allowed Kays-Biviano to expand from one-of-a-kind creations into longer runs. With this skill, said Kays-Biviano, “I can cast the original and make limited edition runs.”
Soon after this class, Kays-Biviano started production casting for artists all over the world. She said, “I was one of the first people that started silicone casting for doll artists all over the world in places like Japan and the Netherlands.” But production casting took up much of her time, and she decided to that she would rather spend time on her own creations – do shows and sell on the internet.
“I do custom characters along with whatever pops into my head,” said Kays-Biviano. “I can pursue whatever creative notion I have.”
“I have a lot of fun,” said Kays-Biviano. “I never get bored because I am always doing something different.”
With the help of her partner, Margret Kreiner, Kays-Biviano works on her creations in a studio located behind her house in the City of Norwich. She describes the upstairs of her studio – with vacuum pumps and pressure pots – as looking a bit like a laboratory. She constructs characters that range in size from miniatures to life size; and, she creates characters from Santa Clauses to gnomes, from faeries to elves, and from real celebrities to Steampunk characters. Kays-Biviano sews all of the costumes for her characters.
Her newest venture, Steampunk, Kays-Biviano said, “is a mixture of the mechanical age and the victorian age.” Steampunk characters are quite often dressed in leather and are accessorized with elements of the industrial age such as gears, pulleys, and other mechanical contraptions. “Now that I am into Steampunk,” said Kays-Biviano, “I buy a lot of junk.”
Kays-Biviano's creation are scattered all over the world. The Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, N.Y. Owns six life sized Santa Claus creations of Kays-Biviano's that they display each year at Christmas time. She made two sets of the three Wise Men that were sent to Puerto Rican malls for display. She sent a traditional Santa Claus – of the red and white variety – to Vietnam.
Kays-Biviano once made a life sized replica of David Letterman and gave it to the show in an attempt to drum up publicity. A friend of Kays-Biviano had connections with the agent of Billy Ray Cyrus. “The agent contacted me to make a Willie Nelson character,” said Kays-Biviano. She made Willie. Cyrus bought the character. On one occasion, Kays-Biviano saw her Willie Nelson character on television in the company of both Billy Ray Cyrus and his not-yet famous daughter Miley Cyrus.