Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Killing It

When I came in for lunch today, my hot girlfriend (read: wife) asked me how it was going in the studio. "I'm killing it", I said. She asked what I meant, and I basically defined it against the dithering I was doing yesterday. "Killing it" means making decisions, not minor adjustments.

This probably doesn't look like much, but trust me, it's come a long way. Probably the most important thing I did was follow the advice I'm always giving my students - working the whole piece without getting caught up in the details.

I'm feeling a bit shy about posting these early pics, but what the hell. You start a process blog, you gotta show the process.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Progress and a portrait

More photos of new work very early on in the process. I've got two things rolling at the minute - a smaller piece I'm thinking of as "Thicket", which is made out of Castilene...

...and a maquette of the new large figure that might be called "Your Roots", but which I'm thinking of as the Madonna Of The Sword. A link to an earlier post with the reference image can be found here.

Nice to have two things cooking. In my experience, working in bas-relief means moving very quickly from form to detail, which means that the process is slow almost from the beginning. Having two things gives me a nice chance to change focus, and to come back with a new perspective.

On a technical note, In the recent heat we've had, I've noticed that it's better to work the maquette in the morning, when the Sculpey is still a little hard and easier to blend, and then move to the Castilene in the afternoon, when it's a little softer and easier to carve. There's something satisfyingly old school about scheduling your day around your materials.

Finally, here's a shot I happened to snap of myself on my way out of the studio. Still got that Hapsburg lip, but I thought the light was nice.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Possible Titles

Permanent Wave
Fratricide For Girls
Tant Pis

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Almost Getting Started (Dang Kids)

The problem with being an artist with 3 children is that you have 3 children, and sometimes they all decide to get sick on a studio day. I still managed to sneak in an hour or two here and there, but it certainly wasn't the productive day I had in mind.

I've surprised myself by starting this round of intensive studio time (thank you Stockton and National Sculpture Society) by making a maquette of the large figure. Probably makes sense - everything else I think I know what I'm doing. The big figure remains a bit unresolved. Good idea to get that started now, and give it some time to develop.

Something I would normally yell at my students about - I need to get the face finished before I really invest in the body. It's too hard to work the proportion of the body if the face isn't right, particularly in an instance like this, where the whole thing hinges on the expression. I'm not there yet (1 x 1 inches of supersculpey is not necessarily the place to capture facial subtleties), but I'm close enough that I can move forward. VERY excited to be working again.

Is there anything better than drinking a few beers in the studio on a hot night in May? There is not.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Watch This Space!

Finally getting started making some new stuff in the studio. Got about six projects in my head, and two started. I don't have any pictures yet (a little rusty), but I will soon.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Things I wish I had Made, For 1000

I'm clearly late to the party here (I first say this in the NYTimes magazine), but these clocks by Stefan Strumbel are amazing. This isn't the best one (I like the ones in color better), but this was the largest image I could find. You can find many more here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So many ideas...

...so little time.

I've taken the week off after the final show of the semester, but the truth is that I'm itching to get back in the studio. After a very successful, very busy, season, I've got a little money to spend, and some ideas to put into motion.

Some possible new relief elements:

Bear trap
Egyptian with an AK-47
Sartorialist fashionista
Perp walk
John Henry
Many, many small items.

Then I've got the larger figure, which i

Monday, May 16, 2011


Composing "Paved"

I fooled around with this post for too long, so it's a bit behind the times. Still, it's a good record of what goes into the creation of one of the framed reliefs.

Here's the initial Photoshop mock-up. By now I've learned that the piece is inevitably going to change a great deal when it meets the real world, so I'm when I'm working digitally I'm not trying to make a finished piece, so find a starting place, and get a sense of which pieces I need to make.

That said, I was sticking pretty close to the plan until I decided it wasn't really working.

So I ended up basically starting over. All those black spots are places where I've blacked out a hole I've made in the paper that I'll need to ignore when it comes time to drill out the template.

Still, I wasn't quite happy with it, so I started fooling around with the borders, cutting the ladies off at the top and making the whole thing a bit more claustrophobic. Then I decided that some of the "paving" pieces were too large, which led me to decide that many of the individual pieces needed to be fragmented, which necessitated an entire reconstruction of the lower section.

Compare the image above with the image below, with some details below.

A dance teacher once told me that things happen quickly on stage, so if you're composing a dance, and you've got a step you like, repeat it. The audience won't think it's a failure of imagination, they'll be grateful that they got to see that cool step again.

On a similar note, I was quite happy with this moment, where the skeleton intersects with Mad Meg in a negative space silhouette, so I decided to repeat it. Twice. Which led to a re-imagining of the top section, with skeletons floating all through the space.

The final object was changing right up to the last day. See the post above to see the piece in it's final incarnation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dexter Jones Award

I am pleased to report that I have recently been awarded the National Competition For Figurative Sculpture Dexter Jones Award. My thanks to the jurors, and the guardian angel who encouraged me to apply.

The award was for Ad Infinitum, which makes me happy, because it's the only piece that didn't sell out of the NYC show, but which I happen to love. Nice to see all your babies get recognized.

In other news, I've just installed my show as part of the Abington Solo Series. I've got a long post brewing on the evolution of the new piece in the show, but at this point I'll just say that the show looks great, and that I'm hugely relieved to have the last show of the semester behind me. Finally time to take a break, recharge, and make some new stuff.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I thought I had snuck one by the mold gremlins using my old mold making material and polycoat for a mold release, but those gremlins don't miss. Stuck like a sonofabitch. Fortunately the original came out, so at least I don't have to re-make my tiny .357.