Here are a couple of projects that I have been working on over the past couple of months, Both of them have an overall concept of assemblage, incorporating found mechanical, or industrial looking objects and each with the intent for submission to juried publications.
The first one is titled Yokai, (Yōkai are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons from Japanese folklore. The word ‘Yōkai‘ is made up of the kanji for “bewitching”; “attractive”; “calamity;” and “spectre”; “apparition”; “mystery”; “suspicious”). I started with idea of a spider. I had done a spider sculpture a few years ago and wanted to explore that idea a little more.
I found an object that had the shape that I was looking for and added another small piece to complete the body along with copper wire to form the armature for the legs.
I’ve always been a fan of Terry Gilliam films and wanted to give this piece a crazy supernatural vibe, so I sculpted a face based on the creepy baby mask from Brazil. I sculpted it separately over a piece of dense foam out of Cosclay. Cosclay is a brand of polymer clay that, when baked, becomes firm yet somewhat flexible. Most other polymer clays become hard and delicate and potentially brittle.
This gave face the appearance of a mask. The leg armatures were positioned and sculpted using Magic Sculpt epoxy clay which cures over time and becomes extremely hard and durable. For paint, I started with acrylic and acrylic inks. The face was then detailed with oil paint. I masked over the glass part of the body to keep it unchanged.
It was at this point that I wanted to give this piece a name. A google search lead me to japanese folklore, although I couldn’t find a specific spider demon, this fits the general catagory of a Yokai.
The final element was the addition of hair. I decided to try using real human hair, in fact, it is my own hair. A couple of iterations later, the hair ended up being adhered and coated with acrylic matte medium and trimmed at the bottom. This was submitted to the Beautiful Bizzare art prize competition.
The second piece, CatBot, was done for the Art Order submission to the book project, “When Robots Dream,” and grew from the resin cast of a cat head that I had done last fall.
The idea behind this was to create an interpretation of a companion robot with the artificial intelligence to think that it is a cat but disappointingly falls short of the physical appearance and ability of a real cat, thus, the CatBot realizes this and is terminally sad and frustrated.
This slowly grew piece by piece. Starting with the blank head, which the original head was the cap from a decorative collectable Jim Beam decanter, parts came together to assemble the vertical section of the CatBot. The main section of the upper body is a plastic part salvaged from a vaccuum cleaner with various metal washers and fittings with the head given the ability to tilt and swivel.
Much of the body is also parts from the vaccuum cleaner, cut and modified to fit with pieces of wood for mounting support. The front wheels are trucks from a small childs skateboard and the rear wheels are modified from a toy baby carriage. Other plastic bits of pvc pipe, vacuformed plastic, and a chrome plated end from a heat gun help to finish the details. I was able to build this with the ability to roll around. After a coat of black primer, brushed accents of bronze enamel, and a dusting of hammered aluminum spray paint, it started to look like one unified object. More brushed accents of burnt and raw sienna oil paint and a thin wash of paynes gray finished the paint scheme, topped off with a stenciled number nine in faded reds.