Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Wonder Cabinet" - 2015

So as I was thinking about my final piece for the group show at Kai Lin Art, (which opened February 13th, 2015) - I wanted to create a piece filled with found objects. I had only a couple of weeks to get this last piece done, and I was feeling the pressure. Whenever I start a kinetic piece, I never know exactly how long it will take to complete. I have a rough idea, but never really know because a kinetic piece always requires a lot of trial and error work. I may get halfway through, and get stuck. Now whenever I'm stuck,  I usually just work through it by putting more time, (i.e. days), into it. With the deadline of the opening looming,  I was reluctant to start a complicated kinetic piece. My wife suggested I do a non-kinetic piece, (she's so smart), which eliminates the stop and restart pace of a kinetic one.

So I started with an old wine crate a friend gave me. I though it would be a good idea to make a piece that hangs on the wall, but could also sit on a table or shelf, and this box was perfect. As I gathered specific pieces from my collection of found objects, I began to think about the character I wanted to create. I began to think about wunderkammers, and of the way people, starting in the 16th century, would assembled collections of curiosities. As explorers began to sail around the world, they would inevitably bring back all types of curiosities. Learned men would collect these rare artifacts to show off their worldliness to others. I love all types of collections like these.

So I began assembling the cabinet with many choice artifacts. I actually assembled the cabinet and it was all done before I even started the figure. I normally start with the figure, but I was having so much fun with the cabinet, I wanted to get it done first.

Here are some shots of my "Wonder Cabinet". (I didn't take as many in-progress shot as I usually do, but there are a couple.) The cabinet measures 13" x 19 1/2" x 7", and is available from me for $3950.


A closer shot. I added the fabric to the walls to stand in for wallpaper. (This piece turned out to be very photogenic.) 


I really like how the figure came out. His crystal ball is actually a clear marble I set aside for this piece. As I thought about what the figure could be doing in the scene, it hit me - he could be gazing at a crystal ball!


Since one would naturally close one eye while gazing through a crystal ball, I had to make him doing this. I think it's a nice effect.


In-progress shots....

This picture is taken right before I glued the wooden column into the cabinet. The wires for the lamp run up behind it. Since the lights run on 12 volts, I had to hide a transformer somewhere in the scene. I decided to make the orange box in the corner the hiding place, with a removable cover to access the transformer. The cover is held on by magnets.

His hands, carved from basswood. His right hand had to be a very specific size, because it has to hold the marble - they couldn't be too big or too small.

His body ready to be assembled. I added cuffs to his shirt later.

A shot with just the chandelier light on. I like the ambiance.

One last shot - as he gazes into his crystal ball..........

Thanks for looking!

tom

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