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. 


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