Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bay Whatch

This piece was inspired by the Flemish mannerist style and the work of NJ artist Jay Adler. Mannerism encompasses a lot if different styles from the 15th century ranging from true realism to foreshadowed figures that look quite odd in certain positions. The flems contorted figures in an extreme way which broke away from the traditional realism of the times. They were innovators during a time when people were set in their ways especially in the arts. This is the type of of art I enjoy. Thought provoking wildness that breaks rules..

(Why am I not a graffiti artist?)

The artwork of Jay Adler is a great example of this. He is known in the art world as a surf artist. He paints images of surfers, beautiful waves, and scenery. This subject matter rarely diverts from this ideal, but a recent painting tells a different story. He continued to corrupt the Vitruvian Man's attributes by stylizing body parts like a funny caricature while entertaining the idea if love. His painting is of two figures; a man and a women. They are holding each other as their limbs stretch further and further around each other as if to get the strongest and tightest hold possible.. A bond.. Physical and chemical.

My creation is drawn in a very similar style but my subject is very different. I drew a basic outline and pushed the limits of each attribute to form an interesting fluid shape for each body part. I made the mistake of outlining my sketch with microns before I was completely satisfied with an idea which came back to bit me in the you know what. Near her nipples, you can see a harsh outline of a layer of hair I wanted to omit from the drawing but instead, I accidentally outlined. Unfortunately, color pencils could not hide this and I knew this before attempting to. I was positive that I didn't want this area accented and I just decided to leave it as is. I'm hoping to apply paint, oil markers, or an opaque medium to conceal these lines later but for now, and before I ruin it any further, I will leave it be.
A couple days later...
So I tried using a razor blade to shave off the areas with the unwanted marker and it lessened the blow a bit. I also used Sharpie poster paint markers to conceal the lines even more but the glossy texture created by the colored pencils negated much of this attempt. For what it is, I think it's hidden pretty well and it's not so much of an eye sore now, although it still bothers me.. A lot. Overall, it was a fun little project that distracted me from some mandate portion of my life so thanks Art.
Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's For the Birdz

20" kidrobot Mega Munny entitled, It's For the Birdz

After winning the nationwide munny contest for AB I received an email from the marketing department asking me if it would be okay to obtain usage rights on my design to be published on "how to demonstrations" and ads regarding these sculptures. I was ecstatic and agreed. The gentleman also asked if I would be interested in designing a 20" Munny which AB would pay me to do and of course I agreed to this also. He went on to say that there are two other "world renown artists" creating 20" munnies which will be given away as prizes near the end of November to which mine will accompany and be "raffled" as well.  That sounds awesome!

I stared at this sculpture for a long while before I could actually cut, paint, design, or even touch him for that matter.  He seemed extremely monumental compared to the small 7" munny which scared and excited me simultaneously.  I decided to start at his base by cutting away areas of his stomach.  My original 2-D design, located near the bottom of this post, called for a blunt opening with a painted surface much like wood paneling or veneer mouldings.  As I started transferring my 2-D design to this 3-D sculpture, things began to change.  I decided to make the positive space resemble a picked white fence to contradict the visual and emotional feel of an urban area.  As I cut away areas, with an utility knife, I noticed that the upper portion of the chest took the form of a human rib cage which birthed my idea to make it all about the birds.

The bird cage lead me to believe that I would eventually put bars inside the opening and fill it with candy that people cannot get in honor of Halloween.  At this point, I was going to title my work, " No Treats for Tricks!"  Unfortunately this did not happen.  I could not figure out a way to fabricate the bars strong enough to survive a UPS man's hands all the way to Texas, and I did not want to buy a bird cage just for the small elevating door.. boo.  Oh well..  moving on.

The first pictures below were taken after my first session with the munny.  I spent about seven hours completely dedicated and involved with thinking, cutting, and painting that I never documented each process.  I adapted the bricks idea from my smaller munny mentioned above and I decided to make him an entire building in honor of the ten year anniversary of 911. RIP  The bricks were painted using a one-point perspective to convey depth and the idea of a possible explosion or erosion.  This hole would eventually be the perfect place for my bird's nest's candy dish!?            

After painting all those bricks, I decided to compliment my building idea by painting the top of his head blue like a sky.  After coming home from work the next day and staring at it, again; it began to look like an egg breaking through the top of the building.  I liked this idea.  I researched online and found a Photoshop image of a Windows-default desktop screen saver that an artist layered broken glass over.  It looked awesome!  Painting the cracks was difficult.  It did not look anything like my intention.. broken glass or a damaged egg.  I'll get back to that..

Rolling with the building idea, I decided to make physical windows in munny's back.  I went to Michaels, knowing that Aaron Brothers does not sell Shrinky Dinks, to buy the some.  I grabbed the only kind they had and continued shopping around the craft aisles to gather some ideas. I stumbled upon a small fake bird which would work out pretty nicely.  It was a dollar or two so it couldn't hurt.  I also found a small bird house, some twigs bound together like a nest, and a box of sculpey (<-- also a good time).  Later that same day, my girl friend, our friend Shane, and I went to Bates Nut Farm to pumpkin pick.  While searching for the most righteous pumpkin, I decided to nab some hay and use that for the nesting material within my munny.  I asked the clerk to charge me a few dollars for some hay but she allowed me to take as much as I wanted which was nice.  A nice pumpkin and a plastic bag full of hay ended the day.

That night, I was super excited.  I didn't know whether to build a nest or make a window.  I did both.  I got started on the the Shrinky Dinks first. It turns out that "Bright White" is opaque and not ideal for a window.  It did not occur to me at the time, but the name now said it all.  My girlfriend and I still had fun experiencing the material although we did not use it properly.  Don't try this at home kids but we used a heat gun to shrink the plastic instead of a toaster or oven.  Its way faster and doable anywhere.  The downsides are it blows around, you'll need a suitable surface that can withstand heat, and you'll need tough fingers.. She made rings while I made a small munny I traced from the 7" Munny Comic-book.  Frustrated, I called around looking for the "Crystal Clear" but I could not find this product anywhere.  I had to order online and wait :(

Now that my project had a subject and an inhabitant, my ideas started taking over.  I needed a drill.  My boss was cool enough to let me borrow some materials from work.  He lent me a heat gun, embossing powders, alcohol inks, a small piece of acrylic, and chalk inks, almost all of which I am unfamiliar.  Oh, and a cordless drill.  I planned on drilling a large hole, on the top of his head, to create a Rose Window, a traditional circular window found in Gothic churches, out of a broken scrap pieces of acrylic. I planned on using the alcohol inks to create colorful stained glass while using the embossing powder to mimic the lead used around each pane of glass.  It was going to be a lot of work.  I thought that buying a drill bit while not even owning a drill was a little much.. and pricey too.  I returned the drill to work the next day and went to Home Depot to investigate...

 ... And that's that.  I scurried home excited to drill everything!  The bird house was sitting next to munny as I walked in with the drill and it spoke.  I am very glad it did too.  Munny's head is unlike the rest of his body and unlike that of the smaller versions.  I drilled and drilled and drilled but nothing was happening.  It was beginning to second guess the drill.  The bit had piecered through his vinyl exoskeleton but would not penetrate his insides.  Foam.. I could not drill any further because the foam would not compact.  I was so disappointed but very happy I did not drill the enormous hole I planned on the top of his head.  I bored out the hole and smoothed it out with my fingers until I unexpectedly broke through into a hollow pocket in the middle of his head.  It worked out.  

I headed back to Home Depot to buy a 1/4 wooden dowel needed to build the birdhouse perch you see on the bottom right photo.  I left the dowel nice and long so it would pierce through the foam on the other side of munny's head and rest comfortably inside, adding to it's support.  I eventually painted bricks inside the hole, on the foam, but it looked bad.  The foam made the paint look as if it were done improperly so I sprayed some silver spray paint inside his dome to dust the entire inside.  

The Shrinky Dinks have arrived!!  I obtained $40 worth of crystal clear so hopefully you will see more of this product in other pieces I do in the future. First, I cut 5" x 7" rectangles.  I used a utility knife to create scratches and breaks in the plastic to resemble broken glass.  I used alcohol inks to transparently weather both sides of the windows by direct application prior to or post shrinking.  I actually recorded a video of this so I will add that soon.  They really do shrink somewhere around three times its original size.  I layered two pieces together to create two window panes, allowing me to illustrate different broken layers shown in the photo on the right.  Here is where the alcohol inks came in handy by transparently dying the 'glass' yellow to look dirty, old, and gross.  I really like the effect they achieved.

After I had shrunken my windows, I used the heat gun to soften the vinyl.  Cutting into a warm munny is like cutting into butter and it made the process a lot easier than the cutting of his chest.  After I had all six windows cut, I painted each from a viewer's perspective.  The painted bricks, in the jams within the middle windows, create straight lines while the lines within the windows on either side conform to fake angles to create more depth.  After painting each accordingly, I adhered them to munny using a hot glue gun.  The windows in his back were not too much trouble. I just made the window a little larger than the hole, like a rabbit to a frame, and painted over the excess from the inside.

The single window in his arm, on the other hand- no pun intended, was pretty annoying. I repeated the painting process for the window jam, filled the hand with hay, and tried to position the window into place. It was impossible. I was just getting hot glue burns and a foggy window.  Twenty minutes later, I ended up drilling a small hole on the inside of munny's bicep, just large enough to accommodate a paintbrush handle to apply the needed pressure to secure the glazing.  It wasn't worth it only because the hay is barely visible, my finger hurts, and it was super frustrating.  I did like the idea though.    

Tags. Munny took the shape of a plain and boring building uninterrupted by the rattles of skilled craftsmen.  I am no graffiti artist but I really do appreciate the art form.  It is amazing what some people can do with a spray can and a set of caps.  I never tagged illegally but I did have a very large window in my backyard that my buddy Steve and I used to hit up.  I enjoy spray painting but it's just so messy.  This was a relatively clean water-based expression.  I develpoed small tags and characters to enhance my idea of an urban building. I wrote things like, "Adult Human" to poke fun on kidrobot .  Other words: R.Senal, Sick, Tweet, Graphiti, Memo, etc.  I started running out of ideas and transplanted older drawings and art I have completed in the past such as my self portrait pumpkin carving, stick figure guy, etc. It was a cool paint down memory lane.  That's a lie.  It was a cool
'drawing' down memory lane.

I used a product that I was unfamiliar with which is always fun, frustrating, and most of all "out of the box.".  The tags and graf art were all created by chalk inks.  They are non-toxic, food safe, and most importantly acid-free felt tip marker that produce super vibrant colors to attract the eyes.  The pigment seems to jump off of any surface you put them.. and they go on anything!  This is why places like Starbucks or Trader Joe's use these markers for their signage.  They are very similar to poster markers since they are water-based and can be used on a variety of non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastic, or metal.  In the back of  my mind, I was very weary of what would happen to this medium during the varnishing process but I chugged along and pretended to forget about it.

Right before I varnished, I gave munny earrings like I did for the 7" munny.  This time I used scrap wooden dowels spray painted silver and sculpey to form a gauged hole in his ear.  I guess munny needs attention too.

After using the white chalk ink marker to touch up the mourter between the bricks, I varnished the entire project in matte acrylic spray; minus the bird n hay. I also taped off the body and head to gloss the blue area (cracked egg/cracked sky/cracked glass.. "lightning"<--fighting word)

Munny Goes Electric?
I totally forgot that I had incorporated a light in my original design.  Anyway, I checked Home Depot during my last trip for a motion activated, battery powered light that I could fit inside munny for the candy dish idea.  As people tried to corral the candy through the jail cell style bars, which were never added) a LED light work turn on to startle them.  I gave up until the last minute. After I finished him, took pictures, and put him in the box to ship I noticed a ceramic turtle on my girlfriend's sister's headboard that seconds as a night light.  It has been under my nose the whole time.  This version was a 7W bulb that did get hot to the touch.  I was worried about the foam in munny's head starting a fire so I went to Home Depot again to ask some questions.  I found the same wire set up but replaced the 7W bulb with a 0.25W LED that stays cool no matter how long you run it.  I tested the bulb when I got home for an hour to make sure.

All in all, it took about thirty-five hours, $100.00 in materials, and a lot of hard work.  If I was working on it or not, I was still thinking about it no matter where I was, what I was doing, or who I was with.  I used a ton of materials and needed particular equipment to achieve my result.  Here is a list of such items. 

Tools: Heat gun, drill, utility knife, glue gun, and paintbrushes.  Materials: Chalk ink, alcohol inks, alcohol solution, acrylic paint, irridescent medium, sculpey, matte and gloss acrylic varnish, silver spray paint, hay, light bulb, wire, glue sticks, Shrinky Dinks, Copic Markers, wooden dowel, and miniature bird.

I really did have a wonderful time with this guy and I'm extremely sad to see him go.  I just hope whoever wins him takes good care of him,  Thanks for reading this monumental entry.  This post took nearing as long as the sculpture did to complete.  I'm tired.  

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