Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back On The Case Part V: High Noon On The Streets Of Reason

Basically, by not having developed an acceptable 'Mr. Doodsworth' drawing/character, I was not willing to forge ahead with High Noon On The Streets Of Reason back in 2012.

Sometimes the right image/idea just doesn't manifest in my mind and I have learned (the hard way) to accept that I need to do a little more living/growing before I am ready to tackle that image/idea.  I have tried in the past to force ideas and images into works with nearly uniformly disastrous results.  Better to stop now before someone gets hurt.....

The underlying image for High Noon On The Streets Of Reason is an old piece that I have had around since 2005 (originally entitled, Elemental: Green and Orange with Purple Stitch).  In fact, the image you see below is old enough to have come from a slide......Ooooda-Lolly!

Anyway, I performed a canvas-endectomy and remove the 'Purple Stitch' portion (which has been attached to a totally separate canvas which is currently languishing in an 'in-progress' pile in my studio) and added a different passage of imagery.

I even have the outline for for the Doodsworth figure, just not a satisfactory image of Mr. Doodsworth himself.  So without an image I could get behind, the piece stayed in Limbo.

Another sticking point preventing progress was coming up with the concept of the frame.  I wanted a blend of the Wild West (which was fairly straightforward) and something more modern.  Tic-Toc. Tic-Toc. Tic-Toc. -nothing was forthcoming......

However, one of Heidi Hernandez's EX-CH-AN-GE pieces for Merican-Tastic!, Invaded Spaces, opened the conceptual door to complete the frame.

I had basically covered the piece with a series of people/bodies and some of the 'characters'/aliens from the classic late 1970s arcade game, Space Invaders.  *Side note: A sizable portion of my quarter-based childhood income as an 8 and 9-year old kid went towards protecting the planet from invading aliens.  I have since moved on to protecting us from an cheeseburger-based apocalypse (no need to thank me).

As sample of the bodies/space invaders/targets motif developed for Invaded Spaces being re-used for High Noon on The Streets Of Reason.  This is the bottom frame before anything has been carved or the outer edge has even been cut/shaped.

During the new flutter of activity on drawing out the frame, I was able to develop/render an acceptable Mr. Doodsworth.

Underwhelming, eh?  I said acceptable, not Earth-shattering.

Actually, that simple 'Doodsworth figure' illustrates a reoccurring frustration in art-making.  I would say that it is something akin to 'writer's block'.  Sometimes the lack of the right turn-of-phrase, or in the case of visual art, the proper image/color/texture/whatever can stop all forward progress.  Typically, I circumvent this mental morass by working on several pieces/ideas concurrently.  One of the benefits to this approach is if one piece/idea becomes troublesome, I hop over to another piece.

Time to start carving.

Letters/text.  Not my favorite to carve....

The left side of the frame has been carved.

Laying down a base color for the figures.

Some more carving on the frames.

It occurs to me that I still need to develop a 'Mr. 6-Gun Baddie' character......hmmmm.  Less than 2 months until 'Merican-Tastic! II: The Son of Tastic!' opens.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Back On The Case Part IV: Squishy Rumba

For Merican-Tastic! I had started working on over 20 pieces. Paint a little here. Carve a little there.  Basically pushing their progress forward in erratic increments as time, materials, and inspiration dictated.  As the opening date for the show drew near, it became time to determine which ones were 'finishable', most compelling, and worked best with what I saw coming out of Heidi Hernandez's studio.

Squishy Rumba was one of those pieces that I cut from the roster back in early May of 2012 so I could focus more on other works.

Here are a few shots of the early stages.

After several months of sitting idle, it is time to re-engage Squishy Rumba!

Slappin' down some line work.

I decided to add primarily muted colors/earth tones so the more colorful background would still push forward and because I want to paint those pesky negative shapes brighter colors as well.  If all of the colors are bright and garish, the effect is more like a thumb in the eye than something pleasing to look at.

Now for the brighter colors.

Even though the piece may or may not be complete, I am satisfied with the 'anthropomorphic bag of fries guy', therefore I have taken a detail shot of him and have begun using it for early publicity opportunities for Merican-Tastic! II: The Son of Tastic!.

I'm hesitant to push the canvas any further until I have the frame drawn, carved and at least partially painted. Time to work on the frame.

Here are a few images of laying down the line work for the carved frame.

I started carving parts of the frame before I had the whole thing laid out.  I left areas I was sure about un-carved until I had the imagery/ideas a little more solidified in my head.  Bottom line: It's hard to un-carve something you just carved.

Several hours of sketching/brain-storming later, and I have 90% of the frame ready to be carved.  All I have to do is finish laying out the line work.

I decided that the right-hand frame is going to need an extra 'bit of frame', so I pinned a chunk of wood on with a couple of dowel rods and some wood glue.

Let the carving begin.....

Squishy Rumba not, lest ye be Squishy Rumba-ed.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Figge Gig: Part III

Now the gallery is littered with components of various pieces.  Time to start assembling/constructing.

Here are the foam ribs for Ophidia.

Ophidia is a series of ribs and 'skin' sections which are held in place with wooden skewers.

The beginnings of Vestibule before the arches are joined.

Terry Rathje right before he joins the two halves of the arches together.

The view.

Terry, Monica, and Vinicius Lima assembling the wooden rings that make up Skep.  As a point of interest, one time, Terry took Skep to a show in Portugal in 3 suitcases.

Lift with the knees!

Ahhh, Biscit-arific!

The start of the arch for Vestibule.

By the end of Wednesday, we still had several pieces to assemble/construct, and the largest piece, Lagrima, found itself on the chopping block.  We had less than two days complete everything in time for the opening reception on Friday night.

Below is the configuration of the show before Lagrima got 'voted off the island'.....

A few shots of general mayhem.

48 hours before the show opens, and we still have a lot of green stained lumber on the ground and not in the piece (not a good place to be).  So late Thursday afternoon Terry Rathje and I buckled down on creating Vestibule.

'Action shots' of Terry Rathje 'buckling down'......grrr serious.

Order from the chaos.

A quick detour.....

Now fortunately, we had two things working in our favor.  1) Monica has a sweet tooth and practically insisted that we get some chocolate, and 2) just a few weeks ago, a candy store named Chocolate Manor, opened up two blocks away from the museum.

They have all kinds of chocolates, killer cupcakes, and gelato.

For those keeping score, I now have a place that sells gourmet chocolates and gelato one block away from my studio.

Mmmmm, gelato......anyway, back to work!

As mentioned earlier, midway through Wednesday, the decision was made to remove a large piece which would not be able to be completed for at least another week.

This change required us to rearrange several other pieces.  Ophidia is now in the center and Skep moved to the corner.  Here is a look at the new configuration of the show.

A big thanks to Robin Hill for taking these next few images from her extenda-roost lifty-deal.  A bird's eye view of the show.

The top of Terry's and my collaborative piece, Vestibule.

A quick picture of Terry standing next to Inspiration House just a few minutes before we declared the show 'done'.

Terry, Monica and I standing inside one of the arches for Vestibule.

...and remember kids, the material you are working with is 'space'.