By Kirsten Howard.

Nesting dolls (or matryoshka dolls as you may know them) are elegantly created and painted with intricate designs and colors on each, from the largest of the set down to the most diminutive in the collection. The first of these popular dolls were designed by folk crafts painter Sergey Malyutin in Russia in 1890, and since then, artists have set about dressing the dolls in variations ranging from holiday wear to the traditional clothing of other cultures.

But now, San Francisco-based illustrator Andy Stattmiller has decided to push nesting dolls in a slightly different direction with his own unique twist on the wooden keepsakes.

Stattmiller’s collections are painted with acrylic on wood—just as traditional matryoshka dolls tend to be—however, these particular ones have evolved into more familiar territory, adopting the guises of heroes such as Iron Man, Archie, Star Wars, "The Dude" Lebowski and even Forrest Gump. The dolls range from the largest standing at about 7 inches down to the smallest at 0.75 inches, and pack inside each other as normal to make a cool little set.

Sadly, the dolls are specially commissioned, though they are often seen at art galleries and occasionally auctioned on eBay for particular charitable causes.

But, despite their lack of general availability, they’re wonderful to look at.


Photos Courtesy Andy Stattmiller.

This post originally appeared on our UK site.