Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Carving

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I'm so tired that I can barely see straight, but I wanted to share some photos of what I've been working on. I spent the weekend carving a six foot tall Art Deco figure out of styrofoam.

The theater bought a glorious new computer-drive router table, and we debuted it on this project. The machine did a beautiful job of carving our the basic shapes of our artwork, but it also rather flattened the image. See how the figures arms and legs don't seem to have any muscles? When technology doesn't do the job, we rely on the work of the artist.




This picture was taken on Friday, when my intern Mike and I glued the three big slices of this project together. You can see the seam of the two largest pieces of foam, running diagonally through the figure's torso. Mike demonstrates how huge this project is. (He's six foot five.)



This was how far I got on Saturday. I've started work on fixing the drapery, and have built up the thickness of the figure with paper clay. This work is really slow-going. I have to carve slowly, because the entire figure is only about three inches thick. I mustn't carve too aggressively, or I'll bust through the foam.



Carving in bas (or low) relief is really tricky, and I'd never done a human figure this way. You have to get the point across, in terms of anatomy, without actually carving dimensionally. Go look at the portraits on coins, to get an idea of what I mean.

Also, carving styrofoam just sucks. The foam wants to fall to pieces. It's a really hateful material. (Did I mention that I worked in this all weekend, and was at work today for seventeen hours? I can barely put sentences together. I'm so tired.)

I see a lot of flaws with the finished sculpture. I never really "got" the foreshortening on left foot, which looks strangely small compared to the right foot. His hairdo is pretty goofy looking. The Art Deco sculpture that we were replicating hangs on the outside of Berkeley High School, but all the photos we took were shot standing underneath the artwork. I had to make up what his face looked like straight-on, because I only had photos of it seen from below. As a result, his chin is a bit weird.

Oh well.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with it. I just hope that everyone else can live with it, because it would be a nightmare to alter.

6 comments:

Fluffy Cow said...

Hang on while I pick my jaw up off the floor...

That's amazing!!!

Pica said...

It's gorgeous! Wow! But I can imagine what a horrid material styrofoam must be...

Martha said...

Wow that's amazing!

John and Diane said...

A wonderful piece and I had no idea you could make anything like that with styrofoam!
-D

Anonymous said...

If it were only more substantial in the "dude" department, I would say "Great Job!"

He looks a bit emasculated, so just glue something else on down there, ok?

Since it is made in styrofoam, I say glue on an extra grande super large cup from Starbucks and bequeath the guy an embarassingly large, highly innapropriate codpeice, eh?

It may not be politically correct, but it would give peolple something more to notice!

Annalisa

Gothknits said...

Beautiful!

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