For the better part of 2014, I was working on a larger than life sized grizzly bear head, mounted on an architectural keystone. The keystone had scroll elements, known as a corbell, and acanthus leaves on the sides and under the bear’s jaw. Above the bear head is a rosette, with some basic wreath work that blends into the hair, and ogee moulding overhanging the front of the face and going back into the wall. I’ve included some progress photos showing the carving in its unfinished form, and the preliminary model in clay. Done for Barre Sculpture Studios as one of three keystones. The measurements are approximately 4 x 4 x 3ft.
Here are some working photos of a 1ft miniature of Princess Zahara, a character out of the Spider Stories comic book series created by John and Charles Agbaje. Their recent kickstarter campaign to create a 11 minute pilot animation of the comic was a complete success! Great job guys! More progress photos to come.
After looking around Wat Salak Phet I started asking the people still working there painting the sculptures, when the sculptor was coming back, and if I could help when he does. Everyone said he left in a hurry for another job, and no one really knows when/if he is coming back. Too bad, I really wanted to know more about the process. Although I can deduce a little bit about how the sculpture is made, that still tells me nothing about what kind of cement mixture he is using, or about any kind of prep work you need to do to the surface before applying the ornaments. I don’t even know how long you leave the cement in the plaster mold before the cement completely adheres to it! I’m sure there is plenty of steps I am missing, and the only way to know is to see it done.
When I was asking around about the sculptor I had photos of my work with me, and the head monk of the temple came over to take a look. He was impressed and said I could make a sculpture for the temple if I wanted to, and they would provide the supplies! Since Koh Chang means ‘elephant island’ I suggested making an elephant. The monk showed me a patch of grass where I could make a large sculpture, which was nice, but I didn’t want to get in over my head.
First I needed some clay so I could make a few quick studies, or maquettes. I asked one of the painters, Phoom, who spoke english, if he knew where I could get clay. He said yes, and that I could come back the next day to go with him to pick up some clay. The next day, he took me to a ditch further down the road and sure enough, there was clay there with rocks and roots and all! I could tell it was nice white clay, and it was going to take some work, but it was free–and I can go back for more any time I like.
So it took a full week just to dry out the clay, crush it up, take out the big rocks and roots, and let it sit in water for a night. There were still too many little rocks in the clay, so I had to filter it a second time with a finer screen. Now I have a pretty good amount of clay, but it is still slip (clay in liquid form).
I managed to dry enough in the sun to make a maquette. Here it is:
Here I am working on the maquette, with the head monk, Pa Ahjahn.
and it took another two weeks before I could get a ride to the mainland to buy some plaster for a plaster table for drying out wet clay. Now I have the plaster table, and some old plaster molds I found in the inner temple courtyard but they still need to dry out before proper use.
The lack of readily usable clay doesn’t prevent me from getting started on the larger elephant model. The temple has plenty of extra steel rod lying around, and there is a workshop down the road with a welding machine. The workshop I went to is used mainly for boat repair.
Plenty of space to weld an elephant armature! First time I’ve welded without gloves, and in flip flops!
Next, I applied drywall plaster to the armature. Now all I have to do is wedge out a lot of clay…
I think I told myself that the model was done three times. The third time was after these photos were taken, so it looks even a little different still. At this point in the process I am making the silicone mold, and it is covered in silicone. Unfortunately, my main man Nicky Luv is off partying in Portugal, so I have no photos of one of the mold crucial parts of this whole thing. I’ll get a shot of the mold, but for now, here what done–and then finished looks like.
Excellent Photography by Nick Simpson <—check out his new Photos of the canals in Berlin frozen over!
Since Last week I have developed the model a bit further, and I’m really going after the shape of the car, and trying to make it recognizable to your average car enthusiast. The car is also tilted towards the front because of the damage there. Here are some more current photos.
I have until February 14th to finish modeling, at which point I will be making a mold. The finished piece will be two copies made of Forton MG, that will then be painted. The opening for Hajnal Nemth’s exhibition will be on March 11th in Budapest, Hungary at the Kiscelli Museum for Contemporary Art . The exhibition will be in an old cathedral which is a part of the museum. The space is huge, and I am really excited to see the entire exhibition in March.
Once again, all photography done by Nick Luv.
In December I came back to Berlin. There were Christmas Markets lining the streets, and the smell of Glühwein in the air. After Christmas I went to England to stay with my girlfriend for New Years. Hopefully I will have some pictures of that trip soon. When I came back to Berlin on the 7th of January, I had already received an e-mail asking if I could do some clay modeling/mold making work for an artist Hajnal Nemeth . For her upcoming exhibition, she will be using a crashed car for an installation. Flyers for the exhibition will be released soon, showing photos of the car that I am modeling.
As you can see, the car is pretty beat up. As far as modeling goes, you pretty much have to start with the basic shape and punch the dents in after. It has really given me an appreciation for all the work that goes into making cars. After all, all cars start as clay models in the concept stage. Here are some photos of my work so far.
All Photography is done by my good buddy and Neighbor, Nick Simpson. Take a look at his new photos that he has done with his pinhole camera, in addition to kindly taking picture for me.