“Kuki”, the lord of the dolls

The lack of financial resources to continue with his studies led Antonio de la Cruz to feel a passion for art and animated characters that attract children through the screen.

Antonio is known as “The lord of the dolls.” He learned to draw empirically and has spent around 40 years dedicating himself to illustrating different characters.

“I learned to draw and paint by myself. I was 19 years old when I started with the dolls, I was a fan of them, so I decided to do it and cut it with a key, “said Kuki and added that it was difficult to get the figures correctly with that tool, but that he did not stop because he liked it. .

Also, he said that on one occasion they were going to grant him a ‘Modern School’ scholarship but at that time they took the school away. So, he continued working on his own.

“Kuki” over time was adapting to the new times and acquiring new tools such as the electric jig machine, which makes it easier for him to make a dozen figures during a week.

He usually takes his time to make and design his figures. The man explained that it all depends, since the light usually goes out sometimes and he cuts his creations with an electric machine, but that can vary. In one day I could make one to two dolls.

From his family he is the only one who dedicates himself to this art. “I have only been a follower of the dolls since I was little,” he commented.

Her first job was in a hotel, but when she discovered she had talent, she has been “independent” ever since. He also said that he does not make a single doll for himself or to leave it at home, but that, by staying in that business, he always goes out to the streets to sell them.

“For me it is an immense joy to do this, I am attentive to the characters that appear in the cinema to be able to sell the dolls that children like ”, he expressed excited about what he causes in the little ones with his work.

He also stated that since his time, where they sold the “paquitos” where characters such as Pedro Flintstones, Tom and Jerry and other fashionable children’s programs at that time were sold, until today, he has always dedicated himself to his current vocation.

Art is very important to him. According to what he said, through it he expresses a lot of joy and above all tranquility, because when he works he requires a lot of concentration.

Despite having problems with his vision, he tries to focus and do his work slowly.

The price of the characters

The price of the dolls is 24 inches / 2 feet at RD $ 450 pesos, but sometimes they are sold for RD $ 500 since there are people who leave the remaining fifty pesos.

Until now, he has only dedicated himself to this and since he got married his job as a salesman is that he has maintained it. He also said that he used to sell these figures to the “Prin” store, located in La Mella, for the price of RD $ 5 pesos.

The nickname that he has adopted, “the lord of the dolls” and that they recognize him in the streets for his work, moves him. “It is a great joy that they call me “the lord of the dolls” because the children tell me “look at the man who paints the dolls, the one who paints Spider-Man …“That is why they know me more, not by my name but by” the painter of the dolls “” he expressed.

And not only are the children who love his work, but there are also parents who recognize him and value what he does.

Although he feels more than happy about the things he does and he likes the work he does, no matter how much he wants, he cannot have a place for himself due to the low income he currently has, because “things are difficult.” Kuki explained that this is not that it leaves much to him to have his own premises, but if he did, he would live much better and maybe his life would change for the better.

For the day of kings he said not to be prepared since he has few dolls and is short of material. The materials used are quarter (1/4) plywood, positive acrylic paint, brushes and sandpaper.

Although he does not sign his art, he said people recognize him for the time he has been selling on the streets.