In many cases, when I start a piece with a simple idea, it blossoms. It becomes something entirely different that inspires me to push the envelope. I can only achieve this when I don’t limit myself. With this piece, I started with a simple sketch. When I draw something I plan to sculpt or assemble, I try not to think too hard about what I am sketching. I just hold onto a thought, idea, or a feeling and let it flow. In many cases half a drawing will suffice. I like perfect symmetry and will flip it in Photoshop.
I usually do a few sketches and gravitate to making whatever feels right to make. Originally this was going to be a base for my Shiva figure, but after I established the size and was well underway, my wife, Erica, pointed out that most people won’t have a shelf or area large enough to fit my 18″x 24″ base, not to mention the materials would cost more than the Shiva figure. I don’t admit this enough, but, she was right. Then I thought, well, I could stop here and start over, but I was really starting to get into the piece. Sorry, Chris, I will be doing the base next.
I love organic shapes and free-flowing forms, but the idea that kept me focused on this particular sculpture was the revelation I had on making it translucent. For years, I have been creating pieces with PVC tubing, resin parts and lights, which are fun, free-form model-building exercises of patience. My fingers were constantly caked with glue and I was getting headaches from the fumes. I knew for my next art piece, I wanted to put aside the glue and the thousands of parts I constantly dig through and DIVE INTO SOME FUCKING CLAY! The wonderful thing about clay is that I have so much more freedom to make the shapes and things I see in my mind. The trick is how to convey my vision in the proper material without it looking like every other sculpted piece I’ve made or seen. This is when I started thinking about vacuum form. I fell in love with vacuum forming in 1995 at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh when I threw together a crotch piece for a creature I made using a dinner plate and some tubing. Since then I have done countless masks, chest pieces, and a myriad of other parts on this odd machine of heat and suck. Vacuum form can also look cheap, but if done correctly, in the right thickness, it can be very nice and durable. So I coughed up the dough (OUCH) to get my own machine. I haven’t fired her up yet but I hope to do this tonight! I’ve already molded and cast the piece (pictured two photos above). This will be my vacuum form buck. Notice how there are minimal undercuts. Now I’m in the process of sculpting an under piece that will be seen through the vacuum form. I only have half of it completed so far. The image is flipped.
I have a LOT of work to do to get to where I want it to be, but you can see my mock up Photoshoped image of the two combined below. I can’t wait to see how this turns out, especially with a good paint job and internal lights.