Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Overwhelmed" - Found Object Automaton - 2015

This summer I had a feeling that I wanted to do another complex found object sculpture similar to "Departure". I have collections of many small things, all waiting to be all organized into various sculptures - at least that's how I see it.

Our hero turns his head from side to side as he waves his arms about. "Overwhelmed" can be seen as a metaphor for how our lives get crazy sometimes.

The piece measures 10" x 14" x 10".

This was one of the most complicated puzzles I've ever completed - but I liked the challenge. And it's interesting to me how a piece like this comes together. Sometimes I add a piece, and right away it's perfect for the spot, then sometimes it's quite a conundrum as what piece to add next, and where.

My idea was to give the impression that the figure is standing in the middle of a giant pile of stuff - unable to escape. 
I need to sit down and count the number of things in this pile - it seems like there are a million.

Hidden in the pile are elements of previous pieces. For instance, the small candy jar was left over from "Computation". The globe is a nod to "Wanderlust", and the red chair is reminiscent of "Departure".

The seldom-seen back, which is relatively plain.
Someday, if this piece ever needs to be "serviced", the back section - starting at the 3rd wooden box and going up - can be removed by taking out 2 screws. This way one can access the back of the figure - if ever it needs it.

His expression of 
desperation came out well I think. His head is sculpted from polymer clay.

In-progress pics.....


Planning and drawing. Lots of things needed to be figured out before starting a piece. That's how it always is.

Some simple basswood hands. I say simple because the fingers are straight, and not curled up. Hands can be very challenging to carve, but these were actually fun to make.

Yes, I make mistakes. I added the hands to the arms and I felt they were a bit too short. So I broke them apart, and extended them by about a half inch. Long arms are better than short ones, don't you think?

Initially I was going to build the piece on a base - where I usually hide the mechanisms - but then I realized I could hide it inside the pile of stuff. I like this idea.... a lot.
(And that head is just a stand-in for the real head I will sculpt later.)

The arms will raise up and down by pulling on the levers. And the head will turn side to side. I used hinges for the pivots at the shoulders again - they work well.

Ready for paint. I also made covers for the front and back of the torso. (This pic actually shows the back - oops.)      

The back - before putting on the cover and sewing him up.

The mechanism in-progress. One cam and lever (shown) for the arms, and one for turning the head. I worked all this out before I began with any of the found objects.

Starting off, I built the box, figured out the figure and the mechanism, and then began covering the box with "stuff". Since I wanted to "hide" the box, I cut away portions of the "add-ons" except where the man's body would be. As you can see, I drew his figure on the box so I knew where to add on each piece without destroying the illusion.

Adding a piece at a time. And each box or tin had to be "filled" with wood to insure I had a solid place to add on the next piece. Most pieces were glued to the original box. 

I worked on top of that piece of wood so the bottom of the piece would be nice and flat.

Another view. To hide the "seam", and to hide any visible part of the box, I painted around where the objects and the box intersected.

 Using smaller pieces, I started to fill in as many of the "holes" as possible.

The mechanism, (seen here without the cam), was built in this almost-too-small space. The big lever controls the hands, and the small one (with the bearing) turns the head. The spring keeps the bearing riding against the cam.

The cam inserted into the mechanism. It was a challenge to build this in this small space - also, it doesn't help that I have overly large hands.

The bottom showing the original box where the mechanism is hidden - and how the other boxes were cut away.

The movie.... (watch full screen).

Thanks for looking!