According to Noel, it all began by a sheer accident: “One summer day in 2001, I was perusing eBay and stumbled upon a 15-inch fashion doll that my wife had been collecting. However, I noticed that this fashion doll’s face was significantly different from my wife’s dolls’ faces. I quickly realized from the description that the doll’s face paint had been removed and had been repainted intricately and meticulously to look more lifelike and realistic. I was blown away, having never thought this was even remotely possible. The repaint was in no way a representation of any particular actual celebrity or person but this did not diminish my amazement. Having drawn human portraits all my adult life, this presented a huge inspiration for me to attempt to create one myself.”
The fashion doll that was used for the repaint is a doll called Gene, produced by Ashton Drake Galleries. It quickly came to Noel that he could use this doll’s face to create the essence of different celebrity dolls by projecting each celebrity’s features onto the doll by way of repaint. The Gene doll’s facial structure was not based on any particular celebrity, but that did not stop the artist from using the doll’s face as a three-dimensional canvas wherein he could paint the features of different celebrities to channel the essence of each celebrity.