Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"The Bachelors & The Bowery Bums" - 2015

This piece is a bit of a departure for me - or at least a new way to configure my characters. I love the dynamic interplay and narrative of group shots, and this non-kinetic piece has a lot of implied action and exchange - a snapshot of a scene, if you will. The title is from an early Tom Waits' song.

The piece measures 19.5" x 12.5" x 4.5", and can hang on a wall or sit of a shelf or table. 
It's currently available (from me) for $2450.


There's a small window on top of the case which allows light to fall on the background and illuminate the scene. All the characters here seem to be thinking, "what am I doing here?' Of course, the narrative is always up to your interpretation. 


Here you see the window or "skylight". The case is made from scratch - hand painted, sanded, and finished with a hand-rubbed coat of paste wax.

         The Heads




   


In-progress pics...

Here I'm in the middle of sculpting the heads, and making sure they are all about the same size. They are sculpted from my special mix of polymer clay.

After sculpting, they are baked, and lightly sanded where needed. Here you can see their personalities really start to emerge.

During the painting process, I had to make sure they were all looking in the right direction - or at least not staring into the back of someone's head. This is the initial configuration of the group - and as you can see, it changed a bit.

The 7 heads - all painted, aged, and polished.

Each figure has their own "body" and shirt that compliments their character. I mounted all the figures to a board so I could position them into the shadowbox as a group. This is the 3rd and final configuration. Certain figures were better in certain positions - I had to make sure everyone was in their best spot.

The main background element is actually a piece of half-dried-up paint that came out of one of my paint cans. I love the texture the paint picked up from the can - and it reminded me of corrugated metal. Later, I added the "stickers" to reinforce that urban distressed feel.

A few weeks before starting this piece, I glued up some scraps of luan plywood, in a sort of jigsaw puzzle panel. I love using recycled scraps in my artwork - the distressed texture adds so much interest to a piece. Here are a few strips I cut from that panel, that were fashioned into the frame of this piece.

Here I'm fitting the group into the case. I'm figuring out how high they need to sit in the frame. You can see how the frame turned out - this is just before painting the case.

I was really happy about how this 'first' piece came out, and look forward to making more group pieces.

 Thanks again for looking!

tom

Saturday, May 30, 2015

My piece, "Our House, Our Home" in Hambidge Auction Tonight!

I thought I would post a few detail pictures of my piece that's in the Hambidge auction tonight - for those out of town bidders. You don't need to physically be at the auction, all the bidding is done through mobile devices - smart phones and tablets. The website image is a little small, so here are some larger images. You can register for the auction here. And it all ends tonight at 10:00 pm, Atlanta time. The Hambidge Center is an amazing arts organization doing great work. Please help support them, Thanks. 

A quick link to my piece ---> here.

The piece measures 26" x 14.5" x 3" and incorporates two polymer clay heads. The "house" was created by using scraps of wood from my wood shop. After assembling, I painted, aged and sanded the whole thing. A coat of paste was was added to finish it off. The piece is designed to hang on the wall.

A view of the lady's side.


And a view from the man's.

The piece in-progress. I really had fun creating this piece - and usually my piece are not a lot of fun to make. They normally involve lots of planning, engineering, and educated guesses. With this piece I could work more spontaneously, responding to the piece as it progressed. And I really like how it came out.

The two heads.

Thanks for looking - and thanks for bidding!

tom

Friday, May 1, 2015

"Computation" - 2015

This piece was a commission from the people who do my taxes. In April 2014 we talked about how fun it would be to have a mechanical artwork of a CPA endlessly working away in their offices. I started the piece in December '14, and got back to it in March of this year. My client had lots of ideas about how the piece should look, and things to be included. I tried it get all the details in. They really loved it and I was happy with how the piece came out, and how it operated. Basically, he types numbers into his calculator and turns his head to check each number. After he enters 3 sequence, he turns his head to see the final figure - and he shakes his head in disapproval. See the movie at the bottom of this post......

The piece measures 18" x 16" x 12", and is operated by the crank out front. The piece was hard to capture in one photo, so I shot it from many angles.


In their office, they oftentimes have their shoes off, (I guess it helps with their calculations), so I had to portray the guy with his shoes off.

I love this shot.

Also, sitting around their offices, are many jars of candy. Those had to be included too.





In progress images....

Where I always start. To control his head movement, a rod will run up through his body.





Fitting him into his chair. The two marks on the paper indicate where is feet fall.

Polymer clay head.

Two hands, carved from basswood.


I made his desk out of an old box I had in my studio. The box had "Hot Palches" written on it and seemed to be a ballot box or maybe a cashbox. Not sure what hot palches means.
You're looking at the bottom of the desk here.

I used the part I cut away for the drawer fronts.

Fitting him into his new desk. And you can see the base in-progress.

I was really happy with the way his expression turned out.


I took this shot right before I placed him behind his desk.

Drawer details. And his shoes, and one of his socks.

Parts of the mechanism - the cams have yet to be cut/made.

The final shape of the cam that turns his head. You can see the cam that operates his hands just behind.

The cams in place.


The movie.... watch full screen, or go to YouTube.

Thanks for looking!

tom