|"I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past."
— Stanislaw Lem, Solaris
Missed Thursday's entry - I'll get it up on Friday...
Sculpture and Me.
Since childhood, I've had a good spatial sense and excellent manual
dexterity. I have expressed this combination in various ways
through the years, and sculpture seems to come naturally to me.
(I have had no formal art training, aside from a watercolor class in
I take great pleasure in sculpting, but even so it usually takes some
pressing outside event to get me going - usually a holiday or birthday
which calls for me to present a gift to someone I care about. *
Here are two examples, both of which I made for my friend Michael
Levine; each was done with different material. To the right is a custom
made Pez dispenser featuring The Tick, a parody of comic-book
superheroes. I started with a standard Batman Pez dispenser, cut the
old head off at the hinge, then built up the Tick's head using green
epoxy putty. This type of putty is non toxic and comes in a ribbon with
yellow and blue sides. You tear off a piece and knead it, and when it
turns a uniform green it has been mixed correctly. The putty dries
quickly, in between 30-40 minutes, so a certain amount of haste is
required. Fortunately, you can easily carve the putty or add more to
make corrections (I got the Tick's chin badly wrong on the first
attempt). I used my fingers for the broad surfaces and a dental plaque
scraping tool for details. The putty sticks to metal surfaces and
fingers unless they're wet; I generally use saliva (ick). The
antennae were made by sticking a paper clip through the top of his
head, then stacking small rings of putty thereon.
To answer the obvious logistical question - yes, you can get a piece of
Pez candy out from under his enormous chin.
When I presented this to Mike, I wrapped it in an ordinary Pez wrapper,
acting as if I hadn't bothered to get him anything but a token gift...
When he opened it and realized it was unique, his face went rapidly
from a sour expression to utter joy, which is the main reason I play
cruel tricks like this on my friends. They never seem to learn...
"Arthur! I'm growing a huge brick-shaped
|To the left is a
freestanding sculpture about 6" high, representing a character named
Mr. Spook from a comic called Tales of the Beanworld. (The oval
objects at his feet are called Mystery Pods and are not the Beans of
the title.) I used polymer clay to make this piece. Polymer clay
comes in many colors and can be baked hard in an ordinary oven, giving
it two large advantages over epoxy putty, but I like the texture and
resilience of epoxy putty, not to mention the thrill of trying to
finish the piece before the drying deadline...
I started in this case with a metal plate that came from one end of a
can of frozen condensed orange juice, which served as a form for the base. I filled the base with
white clay, as I had the most of this on hand. I used wires to
form the basic armature, and bulked out the torso with aluminum foil (a
great trick for saving clay.) The grass is two different shade of green
clay, roughened with a dental tool. I had a hard time keeping the white
portion of his face clear of black smudges; due to this and a bit of
carbonizing when I baked it, I touched up the white area with acrylic
When done, both pieces were sprayed with several coats of acrylic matte
finish. In the case of this piece, it was done in exceeding
haste, as I had just finished sculpting it as Mike arrived at the
house... I had to stall him while I finished it. (I keep meaning
to stop procrastinating, but I never get around to doing so.)
||To the left is the initial
stage of a project I did for my mother. I took pictures at several
points as I sculpted it, so I'm going to go over it in some detail in
the next entry...
you're a friend or relative of mine, and you haven't gotten a sculpture
from me, it's not because I care less about you or meant to slight you
- I tend to do this sort of thing only once in a great while and
according to strange circumstance. If it bothers you, let me know and
I'll do what I can to make up for it.