Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Doppelgänger" - 2012

This piece was inspired by my 2006 piece, "Suspicion". As in "Suspicion", the two men look at each other alternately as if wondering about their life's paths, and how if the choices they've made were the right ones. It could be looked at from the "grass is always greener" perspective. By making the figure's faces as identical as possible, I further convey the idea of "other self".

The piece measures 30 1/2" x 26" x 8". This piece is sold.

A link to the movie is below....

The final shot of "Doppelgänger". This piece is larger than it looks here.

Before I added the fence, I took the following shot to show to a friend. You can see the head is turned on the man on the left.

Here I'm roughing out the legs and torsos. A rod will run up each leg, through the torso and up to the neck.

Almost finished with the carving. I like how their long legs came out. Also, if you haven't noticed, their bodies are mirror images of each other.

The hands, carved from basswood.

The shoes of the man in the suit.

The two figures, ready to be painted, are 21" tall, larger than any figures I've ever made. I designed the figures to each have one hand in their pocket. Their positions are flipped in this picture.

Making the pants for the suit. I'm getting better at this.....these were the right size the first time. Sometimes I have to remake the clothes if they're too small. It's easy enough to make baggy clothes, but my challenge is to make clothes that fit "just right".

After all the clothes are made, I dip them in my special aging liquid - water with a little raw umber acrylic paint. The clothes dry while I move onto painting the figures.

Just before I start painting....

The figures after they have been painted and aged. The man in shorts will hold a book in his hand......

...and the man in the suit will carry a attaché case.

The two heads are almost identical. I made a mold of one face to make the other face.

The bottom of their feet - showing the holes for the rods that control the heads.

The base in the process of staining. After this I will paint it, age it, and finish it with a application of paste wax.

The final images of each figure holding their appropriate prop. I made the "fence" from 2 aluminum tubes and a piece of scrap metal my wife found somewhere.

The mechanism - 2 cams and 2 levers. This was shot before I glued the top of the base on; I had to do all this work with the top off so I had clear access. BTW the cams are yet to be cut.

The mechanism from the back - one cam and lever for each head.

The movie..... watch full screen. 

Thanks for looking!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Boxcar Fair in exhibition in Milwaukee.......

If you happen to be in Milwaukee over the next 2 weeks, I have the complete Fortune Teller's tent scene, including the 2 figures, from our Boxcar Fair video in this exhibition - 

Role Playback:

Role Playback: A second look at creative music video production

November 15th – December 14th

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Tybee on CNN......

 A great piece about Little Tybee! They highlight their musical and artistic approach - and my artwork sneaks into the conversation.

Their new album will be coming out in early 2013 and will feature the tune "Boxcar Fair", among other great works! Check them out on YouTube and iTunes....... and here -

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Mixed Signals" - 2012

This was my last piece for my 2012 show at Obsolete.  Years ago, I created a figure called "Misguided"  and I've always wanted to make a kinetic version of it. 

This piece started out with the background first. Having multitudes of fabric scraps in my studio, I started by sewing together this set of samples that someone gave me - they are all very satiny, almost silk-like, fabric pieces. I sewed them all together and then aged them down with a watery wash of raw umber paint. I had an old typesetter's drawer sitting around, so I decided to pin the fabric up on this while it dried.  The piece sat around a few months while I was working on other pieces, but I always knew it would become another creation for my show. 

This piece measures 17" x 28" x 12", and is sold.

Here is the final shot of "Mixed Signals".  She raises the flag, twice straight out and once straight up. 

A closer shot of the figure. You'll notice I made her dress out of the same fabric I used for the background.                                                         

A shot of her head, showing her curls.

Another view of her head.

In the middle of carving her hands.

Her purposely elongated body.

Her back, showing the internal mechanism.

A detail shot of her flag, (can you tell I used the zigzag setting on my sewing machine? First time....)

Here I'm figuring out her outfit. It sort of evolved as I worked on it - first it was a dress, then it turned into a skirt.

I found this hinged card file box that was perfect for this piece - and the hinge made it easier to work on the mechanism.

The mechanism - the cam is yet to be cut. And the whole thing is upside down; I often work on the mechanisms this way.

The cam that controls her arm, cut and finished.

A quick movie.....

Thanks for looking!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Undercurrent" - 2012

Another piece for my Obsolete show which opens on September 8th, 2012. And runs until October 13th.

This piece consist of a figure and a bird/plane with movable wings. The figures pulls down on the rope about 6", and because of the way the 4 pulleys are rigged, he makes the bird/plane move about 18" up and down. The wings move with the motion because they are perfectly balanced. It's was hard to get them in the same shot because the bird/plane could be rigged anywhere. And see the movie below.....

The base with figure. The base is an old telephone box. The base and figure measures 11" x 22" x 8".

The figure about to yank down on the line. 

My drawing, and the body of the figure in progress.

In the middle of carving his hand. I discovered this clamp thingy about 2 years ago - it's the best way to securely hold my hands while carving.

Here I'm testing out the arm and it's mechanism. He really only pulls with his left arm, the other arm just holds the slack.

The body before paint. You can see the brass tube that the line goes through.

The body before final assembly. (For some reason, the legs are switched in this shot.)

Here you can see the line which turns the wheel that enables the figure to pull down on the rope. In this picture the line is a 30 lb.polyester fishing line. Later, I replaced it with a miniature high-tech stainless steel cable. I added a removable brass cover to conceal all of this, and then stitched his shirt closed.

His carved hand. The arms and hands are really doing the work in this piece - instead of appearing to - as in many of my other pieces.

His head - he is looking up at the bird/plane, of course.

Building the wings. I tried to make these as light as possible to reduce the amount of weight the figure had to lift. Balsa wood and tissue paper seemed to fit the bill.

The bird/plane, (I didn't want to specify which one it was). As it rises and falls, the wings gently move up and down. The wingspan is 32".

A closer shot showing the counterbalances. The wings are as close to perfectly balanced as is humanly possible.

The mechanism, which has to be pretty heavy duty - the arm has a lot of weight to pull because of the reverse mechanical advantage (disadvantage?) of the way the pulleys are rigged.

The movie..... watch full screen.

Thanks for looking!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Steadfast" 2012

After seeing how well Tête-à-Tête came out, my wife suggested I do a similar piece - a couple on a teeter-totter. It took a while to figure out the mechanisms, which is basically there to keep the figures upright. The see-saw motion is pretty straightforward, but getting the figures to move correctly was a challenge.

Click on images for a larger view. The movie is at the bottom of this post......

The final shot of Steadfast.  It measures 30" x 21" x 6 1/2". 

The female figure. The handlebars, and the rest of the mechanism, keep the figures upright as they move.

The male figure. To get the legs to move realistically, I added a small amount of lead to the shoes. I also added a tiny rare earth magnet to make sure the shoes didn't move around when they hit the floor. The floor is metal by the way.

A detail shot of the center piece. I know I could have done a simple wood or metal center piece but I really wanted to make something fancier. I really like how it came out - light and airy.

The two bodies in-progress - much carving lies ahead.

The hands, carved and ready to be added to the arms. The girl's hands are slightly smaller than the guy's.

The arms finished. All the arms had to be exactly the same length, and all the pivot points the same. The girl's arms are on the left.

The bodies in progress.

The man's body. I made the bodies and all of the mechanical parts before I made the heads.

The female figure testing out the mechanism. One of the last things I did was to carve the torsos.

The center piece before adding the screen, and before antiquing and painting.

Working out the mechanism and final position of the figures.

The bodies before painting.

The arms and legs in the process of being painted. Because they're part of the mechanism, they all had to be the same size.

All painted, antiqued, and ready to be dressed.

The bodies, all dressed and ready for assembly.

The lady's head. I love how these heads came out.

The man's head.

The floor in-progress. I attached pieces of sheet metal with many small nails.

The metal after the antiquing solution was applied. I love this color - though much of the blue color went away when I applied the wax finish.

The mechanism - simple, straightforward, and made to last.

 The movie..... (watch full screen)

Thanks for looking!