The grand moments that surround and include us, we call Destiny, and the small personal insignificant things, merely “coincidence”. But it’s indeed Destiny that I should be drinking this espresso, in this shop, in this chair, in this sunshine, at this moment; and otherwise, the events of the World are only coincidental.
Get ready. Now I reveal the Futurist Gothic finish for this piece, gold vinyl wrap of my dreams. 3M 1080 Car Wrap. This stuff is great, used to wrap cars instead of painting them now, comes in a lot of colors and finishes. Applying it has a knack, so I’ll record something.
The material is paper-backed sticky vinyl, and can be warmed to stretch and conform to complex surfaces. You can learn a lot about using it on a popular video streaming site, but that will be about wrapping cars. I’m going to cut it into triangles mostly, and apply it like trencadis tile. I’ll make paper templates to fit the large flat tail piece and head piece. Not waste any material.
Remove the backing from half the material, and arrange on the piece. Then remove the rest and apply pressure with squeegee to smooth.
Using gentle heat to smooth the creases.
I’m using a slightly different texture of wrap, “brushed metal” to create a highlight on the large flat sections.
So there, done at last and ready to deliver to the show I’m invited to. About six months from the conception. Everything about the materials of this piece were new to me, a big experiment in a process used somewhat to make movie props and parade floats, but especially Fallas sculptures. The finished work is only about 25 lbs. A way to work at larger scale without out the weight, cost and labor of traditional materials like plaster or fiberglass; a way to realize extravagant designs without too much commitment of $, time and effort. Definitely enjoying this freedom these materials permit.
Surface-finish work begins. Patching with papier-mâché clay, sand, and then paint with appropriate primer for plastic foam (polystyrene). Then, overcoat with a high quality acrylic paint. All this helps strengthens the surface a bit, so it’s not so fragile to dents and nicks as the bare foam is. Getting somewhere like people think of real sculpture.
Sometimes you need to turn your brain off, and just sculpt. And so must you quit the narration and simply post photos. I’m so far behind on updates that I’m going to speed-post the rest, which is too bad, because I’m working with a new materials and techniques that are worth documenting. Oh well.
Applying extruded polystyrene foam to the dis-assembled plywood armature-core, Cut patterns for legs, glue up, notch interlocking, re-assemble, start carving away with a very sharp 12” kitchen knife, take outside and lightly sand – September.
Cut sides for body n’ head, make a clever template to help fit the sides and legs joining, glue-up, reinforce legs to base by-the-way.
Heads and Tails, more foam-on-ply, dis-assemble/re-assemble, clever templates used to measure foam for more filled-out the body shape, claps and glue.
Carve body and face with a very sharp kitchen knife (sadly, no video), the fun part, glue up parts for a rounder butt and head.
All Together Now, done carving, take outside to sand evenly – November low-angle sunlight ideal for shadows, foam-form finished.
That was three month’s of weekends’ work, excluding Tango dancing, some trips, vacation up north, visit my old Dad, Thanksgiving, &c. I say I’m 3/4 finished now. All the surface to do next.
I make fewer measurements, and use sharper tools; Less power tools, less machine tools, less design tools. Sharper hand tools, and working by Eye, and not from plans; with less accuracy and with more details. Plans reduce precision to generalities. The eye creates detail wherever it wanders; produces variation and adornment and complexity. Is why, when you close your eyes, you see patterns and images, instead of simply darkness.
I will take a sketch and build directly to the model and then directly to the full scale. No intermediate designs, templates or tools. Free-Hand, by hand.
I’m not going to scan a sketch, scale it, grid it out in Illustrator, build a model, photograph and adjust for front-side-and-top views, enlarge to a template, print out a 1:1 pattern, cut materials, and build at full scale, No, but I have done that sometimes.
Napkin sketch, and notebook draft drawing.
Foam-core cutouts, and flat-model hot-glued, eyeball’d from sketches, about 35”
Using plywood from around the place, freehand with chalk the sized-up patterns. Trying for an 8 foot tall finished work, so, roughly multiply by 2.67 from the model.
Notch-and-slot together, skipping some steps, and this is just the armature for a sculpture to be built-out upon it. Nice by itself, if it were done in steel maybe. Can still come apart for the work to come still.
Just the work of a weekend.