Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tête-à-Tête - 2010

This was the last piece I created for my show at Obsolete. I finished it at about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon - 4 days before my opening. I overnighted it to LA and saw it set up in the gallery, (after my wife and I flew out), the next day. I was sad not to spend more time enjoying this piece, I really love the way it turned out.

Again, click on any image to see it larger.........

"Tete" 28" x 16" x 6 1/2"
The mechanism for this piece is mostly in the base of the woman. However, the piece does not operate unless the 2 bases are at the proper distance from each other. The woman does not pull unless the man is pulling back. There is only a spring in the base of the man, which makes him pull on the rope.

My drawing of Tete. You can see I originally had the figures bent over, but after I tied a piece of rope to a column in my studio and pulled on it, I realized the figures should not be bent over, their bodies should be straight; so I changed my drawing.

Basswood pieces ready to be carved.

The joint at the man's ankle. I debated whether to have their bodies pivot at the waist, but opted for the ankle after doing a test in the studio with the rope.

The box I cut in half to make the matching bases.

I made this rig to determine where the arms and the hands needed to be in relation to the bodies. The brass rod stands in for the rope.

The woman's body, which shows how she rests on her back foot when she is at "full pull."

Here I'm determining how the hand joins the arm.
The hand was carved first, with the hole where the rope goes through determining where the fingers would be. Also the hole for the rope had to be in line with the corresponding hands on the other figure. So the hands where put in place first......

...then the rough cut arm was put in place and the wrist joint was finalized using the 'trial and error' method. Once I had the joint right I could then carve the arm down close to where it needed to be.

I then glued the hand to the arm and smoothed out where they join.

The 4 hands and arms that literally took all day to make.

The finished figures, ready for paint.

The clothes ready for final assembly.

The figures assembled. Their other shoes are glued and nailed to the bases.

The woman's head.

The man's head.

The woman's arms.

The woman pulling.

The man's hands.

The man, seen from the front.

The man pulling.

The mechanism, inside the woman's base - one cam and one follower.

The cam that controls the movement.

I will try to post a movie soon........

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Adroit" 2010 9" x 18" x 8"

This is the second to last piece I finished for my show. It's a figure that pulls on a string to operate a marionette. It was purchased the afternoon before my opening by Maura Tierney. No, I wasn't there, so I didn't get to meet her.

BTW - the opening was great, the pieces looked incredible in the space. The crowd was the perfect size, very appreciative and everyone had a good time. I sold 2 more pieces that night. I will try to post some pics from that night.

Now on to "Adroit"......................................

As always, click on the pictures to see them larger.

Here I'm working out the position of the arms and how the strings run from the controller to the marionette. The figure's right arm moves up and down and pulls a string that runs through her hand.

The box that I refurbished for the base. Not sure if this box contained a phone or maybe a wind-up motor of some kind.

The figure's head.

The marionette was made from found objects. It took all afternoon to gather just the right pieces. And of course everything had to be aged down. She is about 3 1/2" high.

The marionette assemble. Her torso is the base to a light bulb, her head is an old doll part, one leg is off an old Barbie and rest are odds and ends. Making this was almost like making jewelry.

The Marionette in place, with strings attached.

Adroit ready for final assembly. You can see how the arm operates here.

Adroit completed.

The lower half of the figure is a foundry pattern, used to cast a very large drill bit I suppose.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Undaunted" the Movie.....

The video of my work that will play in the front window of Obsolete in Venice.
It features 7 of the 14 pieces that will be in my show here. Enjoy!

Note The video used to be on Vimeo but it's now on YouTube. Updated 5/4/11

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Fearnought" 2010 - New piece....

One more piece for my show at Obsolete --- Click on any images to see it larger.
I wanted to do another piece involving lights, and since I had this great old gauge case, I decided to do a figure operating a searchlight.
I started stripping everything out of the metal case, which I think is made of nickel(?). The tower for the searchlight was made mostly of Erector Set parts with a few odds and ends thrown in. For the top, I chose to use the doll furniture table you see below, (I also have the matching chair - they are both great old hand-made pieces). I cut down the table a bit and added the metal parts with nails.

Here is the tower in progress. I mounted it to a board which was later cut down to size.

The tower with the searchlight in place.

Detail of the light.
I hand-cut all the mirror pieces and glued them to a metal cone I fabricated out of a piece of sheet metal. The support bracket was made out of an old handle of some kind. It took a while to bend into the shape right - it was harder than I expected.

The searchlight completed.

This is one of my favorite details.
I couldn't find a good piece for this area after searching through my collection of junk, twice. So I decided to stop thinking so darn practical. I stumbled upon this lion's head and since it already had 2 holes in it, I decided it would be perfect for the wire egress. It is perfect.

My carving stand as it usually looks while I'm working. It's 51 inches high and it keeps me from bending over to work.

The arms carved and assembled - ready to be painted. I made ball joints at the shoulders to allow for maximum movement.

Arms after painting and aging.

Here I'm working out how the figure relates to the "push bar" that moves the searchlight. (Actually it's the light that moves the figure. Don't tell anyone.)
In the picture the figure is standing on a block. I scrapped this idea and lowered the bar to eliminate the block.

My drawings for the mechanism. I was trying to maximize the sweep of the light, (almost 180 degrees) but also work with the figure, which had it's own limitations. I often use this method to work out the movements.

The mechanical parts complete.The silver bar is the "push bar" that the figure holds on to.

How the mechanism fits together, all wired and ready for the bottom cover.

The figure's head.

A peek at the final piece. I will post better pictures, and movies, once the show opens on Nov. 13th.
Stay tuned.........

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Crescendo" Construction Continued...

Continuing with my piano piece..... I painted the head and gave him a bit of a 5 o'clock shadow.

Here's his body ready for final assembly. I assembled the arms and legs as I dressed him - sometimes it's like solving a puzzle, I have to do it in the right order.

Half dressed. I sewed the sleeves on last. BTW - The fabric for his jacket came from an old pair of my favorite shorts - yes, really.

I wanted to something different for the floor this time. In the past I've done nice finished wood floors - this time I wanted it to be darker with more texture, like in an old dive somewhere.
I nailed all the planks down and took my propane torch and burnt it down about a 1/16" to 1/8". Here it is after I burned it.

After it cooled I "sanded" it down with a Scotchbrite pad. This brought out a lot of texture, with high and low spots. Also because I burned away some of the wood, the nail heads were a little raised. This was exactly the look I was going for.

After a coat of sanding sealer it got a lot darker - very rich!

I picked out of my stash, potential pieces to be used for the embellishment of the piano. You will see, some of the pieces made the cut and some didn't.

The 3 horns that go on top of the case.

I painted the case red but left some parts black and added the "nameplate".

The case after painting, aging and finishing. I also glued the keyboard in and decoupaged the inside.

The "inner workings" of the "piano".
At this point I'm trying to get away from the idea that this is just a piano. Now I'm thinking it's some sort of fantastical, musical piece of wonderment. And who really knows how it works?
I like how these workings could be their own little sculpture. One sad thing is you don't see a lot of this because of the front window.

The workings assembled.

This shows how I had to place the piano and the"chair" in their exact place according to my drawing. I actually put the drawing on the base to locate the feet of the piano, etc. I had to be dead-on because of where the mechanism were located below. No guessing here.

Detail of the area below the keys. I put pipes in behind the board.

The mechanisms finished and ready for assembly.

The 3 cams, one for the head and 2 for the arms.

Everything is assembled and wired underneath.

A sneak peek of the finished product. I will post better images when my show opens on November 13th. (I can't give away the surprise now, can I?)