Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Building A Fortress (Major, Minor and Medium)

Recently, I have been constructing small cardboard skyscrapers to be included in Pop Culture Palimpsest at The Figge Art Museum this coming summer.  In addition to fabricating these cardboard buildings, I also have the hankerin' for a few castle/keep/fortress style structures.  I have had the front half of a 3' tall tower lying around the studio for several years now, and it seems like this would be the perfect time to finish the tower.  Realistically, how often do I need a 3 foot tall tower for something?

So the first step is to roll a sheet of cardboard into a semi-cylinder that has roughly the same circumference as the pre-existing half-tower.  I use duct tape to hold the curve/bow of the cardboard while I mark where I want to put in some windows/archer slits and then carefully cut them out with an X-ACTO knife.

Then I make a 'window box' that fit into the freshly cut opening.  Two top pieces, two side pieces, and a back piece.

It almost looks like a little coffin.

Once I have cut the hole out, I insert the 'window box'.

Then, with the magic of duct tape, I tape it into place.

And a couple of strips on the backside as well.  Once the structure is complete, the fabric and paint on the outside, plus the spray foam on the inside, will hold everything into place.  Therefore, duct tape's tendency to lose its stickiness over time won't be a factor.

The top half of the backside of the tower.

In addition to a window hole, the bottom half of the backside of the tower is also getting am arched doorway.

An image of using duct tape to 'hold the bow' of the cardboard (plus the back of both the 'window box' and the 'door box'.)

A window slit with ceramic brickwork and a new, currently unpainted, back.

Might as well make a smaller/Minor tower while I'm at it.

This little/Minor tower will show up again in a future post/sculpture.  Now, back to the big guy (Major).

I filled the inside with spray foam in order to strengthen the whole structure, and lock the sticks/stilts into place.  Once the foam hardened, I covered the bottom with fabric.  In this case the remnants of some blue jeans who desperately needed to be taken out of their misery.  Then I primed the whole thing with paint to stiffen the surface.

Once it was primed, I went over the whole thing with black paint.  Once the black was dry, I applied a light dusting of light gray in order to bring out the texture of the bricks, the fabric, and the cement.

Another before and after.

A couple shots showing the texture around one of the 'windows' in the tower.

I've also been working on a canvas (painted construction) that could benefit from the presence of a Medium-sized tower.  Here are some of the initial steps of the process in order to make this tower/fortress take shape.

After I establish the size and location of the windows and doorway, I add a strip of cardboard in order for those openings to have some depth.

For grins, why not add some stairs?

Actually, the stairs and the crenelations on the top of the tower were quite involved/time-consuming.  So that may be a counter-argument to the 'why not?'.

Then I pinch in the underside of the top of the tower so all of the cardboard flaps overlap.  I tape them in place and then start securing the top to the tower.

It is noticeably easier to fabricate the windows when you remember to coat the window frame with fabric before adding the back.  I took this one out-of-sequence, and now I have to spend extra time cutting and gluing with more precision than I normally exhibit.

Preparing a couple buttress flaps for the top/crown of the tower.  *Please note, I don't recall any of my art history teachers using the term 'buttress flap', so that may not be a 100% accurate term.

Covering the stairs before I attach them to the tower.

I attached the stairs to the tower and added some more ceramic bricks to its surface.  Then I attached the Medium tower to this canvas (along with the silhouette of a cowboy head).  You may recognize the piece as Quest(Shun).  It is also going to be in Pop Culture Palimpsest this coming summer.

I am working on several sculptures for Pop Culture Palimpsest.  Both the Major and Minor towers are going to be utilized.  The Minor tower is going to be used as a torch.  The large/Major tower is going to find itself transmogrified into a windmill.

With any luck, next time we'll take a look at the frame for Mystaphorical Parfait....

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