Early Puppets

2001, ©Marsian De Lellis
2001, ©Marsian De Lellis

From 1999-2000, I created an early collection of puppets and dolls while I was studying at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This early body of puppetry work marked a shift in focus from creating performative dolls that existed as sculptural objects or in photographs to kinetic puppets and performing objects with fully fleshed out storylines for performances. 

I first used these puppets in the performance Puppet Runway, which was covered in The Chicago Sun Times. I created Puppet Runway in 2001 at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago under the mentorship of puppet artist, Blair Thomas. In 2003, I restaged Puppet Runway at Perishable Theatre in Providence. Later in 2006, I developed a second performance piece with one of the puppets in Rango Tango which was choreographed by marionettist, Phillip Huber at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. I subsequently performed Rango Tango at the Revolving Museum in Lowell, MA.

The puppets themselves were exhibited at Gallery 2 as part of the Undergraduate Exhibition for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago which was picked up in The Chicago Journal.

This collection of early puppets also exists in the form of visual art photographs  that I first began exhibiting in 2002 in Seattle at The Harm Reduction Art Room, followed by an exhibition at Tealuxe in Providence. In my installation, Finnochio: The Holiday Classic at the Dirt Palace in Olneyville, RI, I also featured photos of the puppets in Gepetto’s workshop. In 2004, I donated one of the photographs to the Sunny Side Up Brunch silent auction in Boston to support the Friends of the Governor’s Commission on LGBT Youth.


Chicago Sun Times, June 23, 2000
Chicago Sun Times, June 23, 2000

Project History

Performance – Puppet Runway

Exhibitions of the Puppets

Photography Exhibitions of the Puppets

Performance – Rango Tango