It’s just a few days before the massive My Little Pony art show opens at Toy Art Gallery, but Ana Bagayan is still holding on to the large pony that she has customized for the event. She painted her pony in Easter egg colored acrylics, because the oils she normally uses wouldn’t work well on the plastic figure, and added lace and buttons to create the perfect baby outfit. She was able to use oil on the eyes, though, and painted a galaxy inside the pony’s orbs.
“I’m just drawing my ideal figures,” says Bagayan about her work and this pony is no different. She goes for “anything that has big eyes, a symmetrical face, round features.” Earlier in her career, she used a Blythe doll as a model. Now, she relies on a frighteningly realistic baby doll that she found at K-Mart for reference.
The pony represents a transitional period Bagayan is experiencing in her work. The piece is nostalgic and pop culture-centric in a way often associated with pop surrealism. For a long time, that’s the art movement with which Bagayan was frequently identified. She’s moving away from that, though, and the stars in the pony’s eyes represent what’s to come.
Bagayan calls her new style “future realism,” which she partially defines as “interpreting your version of the future based on existence outside of Earth or outside of physical existence.” She uses the word future because it’s easy for people to identify with it. Technically, she could be depicting present day life on other worlds.
“It seems very specific, but it’s very wide open.”
The transition started when Bagayan was working on her last solo show, “There Is Time to Kill Today,” which ran at Thinkspace in Culver City earlier this year. She saw a documentary called The Experiencers, where people describe encounters with aliens.
“I have no proof of anything,” says Bagayan, but she likes to think about what might be lurking in space. “It’s fun to create the types of civilizations that could exist and the type of world they would be living in.”
Her first series focused on “hybrids,” mixed human/alien characters. Some of the features, like the seemingly boneless nose, were inspired in part by an image of an alien her husband had described to her. She shows the hybrids going through various stages of development, beginning in the womb. A charcoal alien fetus is based on an actual sonogram she saw. “I thought it looked like an alien,” she says.