Happy Delusions hosts first Altered Barbie Art Show

Mary Clymer, Happy Delusions shop owner, poses for her first ever
Mary Clymer, Happy Delusions shop owner, poses for her first ever 'Altered Barbie Art Show.' The opening reception was on May 4.
— image credit: Tracey Compton, Renton Reporter

A good-size crowd gathered Friday night for Renton shop Happy Delusions first "Altered Barbie Art Show."

The exhibit, featuring artist's take on the popular icon, runs now through May 30 at the crafter's store located at 924 South Third Street in Renton. Happy Delusions' owner, Mary Clymer, has been thinking about hosting such a show for the last year and a half.

She got the idea after an artist held a show at the shop with a lot of used doll parts. Clymer found it a bit creepy at first, but was intrigued to explore the concept further.

She discovered a huge show in San Francisco and decided to send out her own call for artists for a show in Renton.

"The more I looked at it I thought just how much you can do with Barbie and said, 'what a great idea,'" Clymer said.

She has 42 artist represented in the show from Renton, Seattle, Burien, Puyallup, Everett and other parts of Washington.

Clymer also received two pieces from an artist in Berkeley, Calif. Clymer grew up playing with the doll and finds Barbie's appearance in all sorts of mediums interesting.

"I just find it fascinating how people take something that reminds us of being a little girl and brings it more in the realm of more of a punk adult fashion," she said.

Seattle resident Christine Askarian had never been to Renton before she discovered the call for artists for the show on

This was also her first time participating in a show like this.

"I decided to make a mermaid thinking that I'd use some natural resources like driftwood and seashells and kind of put it together," Askarian said.

Attendees at Friday's event ate cupcakes, pink lemonade and champagne jello shots and cookies.

There was a special life-sized Happy Delusions Barbie box that served as a photo booth. Partygoers posed inside like real life-sized Barbies.

Members from the group Pinups Against Cancer were scheduled to arrive in a Barbie Dream Hurst owned by a woman in Seattle.

The pinups were to come dressed like Barbie and had created their interpretation of the doll for the event.

All of the art work is for sale. For more information, call the shop at 425-255-6078.

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