Friday, November 28, 2014

"Wasted & Wounded" - 2014

I know I seem to say this a lot but...... I've had this idea for a while - at least 5 years. Maybe that's how long some ideas need to steep. I think this idea, of doing a drunken figure with a swaying unsteady motion, came after seeing Keith Newstead's piece here. I love how the 2 women on the right move. After asking Keith how he obtained the motion, I knew it would work well for a figure who, after a rough night out drinking, may not be so steady on his feet. Thanks Keith!

The final shot. 
The piece measures 13" x 27" x 7". Besides the figure, the lamp post and base were also made from scratch.

A closer shot showing some detail in his clothing.


I've never done a figure with an injury before. I've done a few with bandages, but never attempted contusions. I'm pretty happy with the results - and the effect. (Note - I had a similar look a few weeks back, but mine was caused by a bad cold, not a blow to the eye.)


Here's where I started. I had to figure out the shoe, leg and torso before carving anything. The two precision bearings in the left shoe hold an 1/8" rod in place, which holds the figure up.

The piece is powered by a 6 RPM motor that slowly spins the metal rod inside the body. The rod goes up through one leg, into his chest, and up into his head. Here I'm experimenting with the amount of bend I need to have on the rod. I made a wooden head to stand in for the polymer clay head I would later sculpt.

The torso and two legs carved. Here you can see the bent rod that goes inside. It's fairly simple but very effective. Also, the left leg is held on to the torso by 3 springs - they allow movement in all directions.

Here I'm working out the position of the right hand on the lamp post. I made the lamp post from a broom handle, a block of wood, and various found objects.

The blank for the left hand. I drilled the hole first to make sure it was the right size for the bottle.

His arms. There's not a lot of movement in his arms, but it's there.

The figure all carved, sculpted, and finalized. I made his neck out of basswood because it needed to stand up to the motion of the spinning rod. His head is held on with a spring that enables his head to pivot in all directions.

The left shoe is the most essential part of the figure. It has the two bearings in it - which holds the rod that holds up the figure - and will be securely attached to the base. The right shoe is attached to the base, but does not function to hold up the figure.

All painted, aged, and ready to be assembled. I had to attach the left shoe to the base first and build up the figure from there.


Some detail shots.......



I like this image - shot during the making of the movie.


The movie.......

Again, thanks for looking!

tom

PS A friend of a friend recently emailed me after seeing the movie on YouTube. I was touched by her comment, and her impression of the piece - "You captured the depth of suffering that is the human condition, and in such a compassionate way.  The man is so vulnerable and damaged yet somehow so pure and innocent. The piece is magnificent."
Thanks Audrey, I appreciate your nice note.



Friday, October 17, 2014

Announcing my New Calendar for 2015!

Yes, it's true. I've been wanting to create a calendar with images of my artwork for a few years now, and this year I finally had time to put one together. I think it looks really nice, and all the images came out great. It's interesting to see the images printed out like this, you get a whole different feel for the pieces - as opposed to looking at the images on a computer screen or on a phone. I also went around my studio, taking pictures of interesting textures, to be used for the backgrounds of the date grids.

Below are some images, and the calendars can be purchased here.

They are $30. each, with free shipping to the US. I will ship worldwide and have calculated shipping (minus the $3.40, what they cost to ship in the US) from most other destinations. If your country is not on the 'ship to' list, please let me know and I will figure out the cost, and add it to the list.

They measure 8 1/2" x 22" when open or hanging on the wall. They're digitally printed on heavy paper stock (in the USA) and have a hole for hanging.

Limited Edition of 100.

Order one (or more) today!!!






Thanks for looking!

tom


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Best Laid Plans" - 2014

This piece was created for the "Small Indignities" show at Red Truck Gallery. The show opened September 13th and closed October 5th, (sorry for the late post), and was curated by Alix Sloan of Sloan Fine Art and Noah Antieau of Red Truck. It included works by Jessicka Addams, Dan Barry, Ian Berry, Jana Brike, Bryan Cunningham, Jason D’Aquino, Camille Rose Garcia, Bosko Hrnjak, Marion Peck, Ransom & Mitchell, Chris Roberts-Antieau, Mark Ryden, Mike Stilkey, Ben Venom, Casey Weldon and John Whipple. And the opening was really fun........

This piece is currently available through Red Truck Gallery and is $6850.


Here's the final shot. The piece measures 25" x 24" x 6.5" and can sit on a table or hang on your wall. The figure yanks on the string, trying to free his kite from it's entanglement. The tree bends slightly as he pulls the line.

A side view. The background is painted on top of a layer of decoupaged handwritten notes from the 1920's. The tree is a branch I found while cleaning up around the neighborhood.

I chose a limited color palette, and love the way it all came together.

Our hero. Love the way he came out too...... and I want that jacket!

A closer shot.

The handmade kite, (which may or may not be interpreted to be a political statement - you decide).

How it all started...............

I always start with a simple drawing and first make the torso and the legs. Here I have the two legs finished; one will have a line through it which will move the arms.

The hands are finished; now to figure out the other arm.
These 4 pivot points were more challenging than I expected. All the axles have to be parallel, (or at least that's my assumption.)

I often have to stand up and take the position of my figure. I look at my arm positions and how the elbows and the shoulders move. And then I make an educated guess when I go back to designing and building.

I think this might work - fingers crossed.

His body is finished, and now I'm ready to make his clothes, and paint him.

Checking out the size of the tree...

His body complete.

All painted and aged - ready to be dressed/assembled.

This shows the super-simple mechanism inside his chest. I used a small brass hinge for the pivot at his shoulder.

This shows one of the covers - this protects the mechanism.

Working on the background and it's frame. I did the decoupage layer, then painted in top of it. Then I added the frame, painted the frame, and aged and distressed everything.

The base in progress....

The kite - in-progress........

The back of the finished kite.

The mechanism in the base. You can see one of the two keyholes, used for hanging the piece.

My signature............

Thanks for looking!!!

tom

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Lucas & Thomas" - A Commission of Two Brothers

This is a recent commission from a couple that have an 8 year old that loves airplanes, and a 7 year old who loves to steal cookies. Well they like to do other things too - typical boy things - but we decided to focus on these two aspects of their personalities, because, frankly, I thought they would translate into interesting mechanical pieces. The clients wanted the pieces to be hand-cranked, which I like to do from time to time.

Here's how them came together...........

This is the beginning of Lucas's body; he will be "flying" an airplane.

Lucas's body on the left and Thomas's body on the right. A line coming up through the legs will control all the motion.

Here I'm working out Thomas's arm that will reach onto the cookie jar and pull out a cookie. Getting the angle right was a bit of a challenge.

Here I'm figuring out the arm and hand that holds the cookie jar. This arm doesn't move.

I carved the arm and the inner surface of the hand - now on to the rest of the hand.... 

Their two heads - more caricatures than realistic representations.

 The two bodies, all carved and ready for paint. The 4 'doors' protect the mechanisms on the inside.

 All painted, aged, and ready to be assembled.....

Another view.

I'm checking the mechanisms here before adding the head, and the covers that protect the mechanism.

Thomas, all dressed. Putting him together was a bit of a puzzle - final assembly of my figures usually is.

Making the bases. Of course I wanted the bases to be similar, so I had to build them from scratch.

 I carved each of their names in the top and stained both boxes down. I like to see darker wood when I sand through the paint.

Here they are all painted, aged, sanded, and waxed.

Making the mechanisms. I used a couple of gears to gear down the cranks. This prevents the pieces from being wound too fast.

 "Lucas" 10.5" x 15.5" x 8"
 

A closer shot.

 His head turns and looks at the plane as he glides it back and forth.

Head shot.

The plane, the plane - purchased off of eBay.

 The mechanism underneath - simple, precise, and made to last.


 "Thomas" 10.5" x 15" x 8"

He turns his head from side to side as if to see if the coast is clear - and then steals one more cookie.

I love this shot - it shows a lot of his personality.

 His head.

 The mechanism - one cam, lever, and line to move his head - and one set to move his arm.

 The two boys side by side.

I sometimes wonder at all the tools it takes to make my work. And sometimes I take pictures of my tabletop.

Again, thanks for looking!

tom