Tales from a Citrus Swamp…

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Or: the History of the Bog Orange

First, an admission: I have a habit of drawing faces on things. Some might call it an annoying habit, as it sometimes takes the form of drawing faces on unattended items belonging to others, which usually entails their food. Take the following picture as a small example:
One of the main places that this could happen was at work. Coworkers tended to leave things unattended near me all the time, and if these items had any kind of a surface that would lend itself to having a face, it usually got one. This would include Coffee to-go cups, paper bags from fast food or convenient stores, tampons (true story….I got one of my many “talkings to” for that) and fruits.
Oranges tended to be one of my favorite items, I suppose due to their having a rounded, lumpy head-like shapes that in many ways mimicked the drawings that I already do.
A few years ago I drew one of these (what has since become known as “Mort” faces) on the unattended orange of my co-worker Sam, who worked with me in the basement of the art store. He dug it so much that he put it on his shelf of items on his desk, refusing to peel it and eat it. I’m guessing that the original idea was to throw it away eventually, when it would start to rot….but that never happened. Instead, the orange slowly shrunk down and mummified in the dry Colorado air in this basement. The peel became a rock solid skin, and you could feel that the insides had basically dehydrated to nothingness, leaving the orange hollow and petrified.
Sam brought a bag of oranges in to work one day, specifically for me to draw on. using sharpies and paint markers, I created near a dozen more….and we put them away on a shelf, and watched over the next several months as they too shrunk and mummified.A few other coworkers and several friends, it turned out, loved these little guys and I ended up giving most of them away as gifts.DSC00470
Not long after that, I found myself looking through the oranges in a produce store, trying to pick several of the best candidates for the next batch. This group I took home to my studio and put aside, deciding to draw the faces AFTER the mummifying. While I’m sure there is a much quicker way to desiccate an orange or, for that matter, a group of oranges, I don’t know it. Plus, there is something satisfying in watching them slowly shrink and tan over the weeks and months.
While this was happening I had started to take up sculpting little creatures out of clay and resin (more on that in a later post), and eventually (you can see where this is headed) I wondered if it possible to sculpt on the dried orange husks themselves….
…..and as you can see from the previous photo, it turns out that it is!
So, along with the other projects that I was sculpting, I included these new, what became known as “Bog Oranges”, as each orange became ready. Pictured below is the entire first set.
At the time of this blog post, I’ll be adding each of these little creatures individually on my Etsy Store.

The Walking Onion…

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dear god, its been a while! And that’s all I’ll say on that matter! This post isn’t about where I’ve been, but rather, what I’ve been doing. In this case, about my newest build for the latest Denver Zombie Crawl.
The last two years I had gone to the event as one of my drawings, a zombie character that I named Mort. Last year I decided to retire him, due to the impracticality of the costume not having arms, as well as the fact that the head piece was actually starting to show signs of falling apart.


I decided to create a whole new zombie for this year’s Zombie Crawl.

First, like the last build, I started by doing several layers of mache’ over a large rubber kick ball. After several layers, I was able to smash it down and reshape it into more of an oval/egg shape. Then I used more newspaper to build up the chin and mouth area…



After several layers of more mache’ over the built up area, I cut out the area for my head to fit in, and pulled out the deflated ball….


Next, I cut out the mouth through both layers. I would later clean up all the cut out areas with a few layers of mache’ around the edges.


The mouth itself was built out of a leftover piece of oval shaped mache’ from a previous project. The teeth and gums were sculpted onto it out of a polymer clay…


….and glued over the mouth after the perfect placement was determined. This would be the predominant area that I would eventually see out of while wearing the head.


First test fitting. At this point I had already cut out the eye sockets and added detail around them with more polymer clay. Also, I created a fracture at the very top of the head, detailed around the edges with polymer clay, and filled with a soft styrofoam from a craft store.
For the inside of the head, I made a place that cradled my forehead as well as a place for my chin. Not only did this help hide my face from being easily seen through the openings, but it made the head fit more stable, like a mask.


Next, I finished up the details around the eyes and skull fracture, and added some around the open mouth. The inside of the head was painted with a black primer, and the parts wear my face and head would fit were sealed with a few layers of clear acrylic.


I had been mulling over the idea of making hands, and finally committed to them at the last second. I made them by cutting out the back of the hands from a mailing tube and gluing on some velcro straps. The fingers were made from wooden dowels and wire; shaped, and then fixed in place with polymer knuckles. The whole hands were covered with a few layers of mache’ after baking.


The finished sculpts, ready for painting. (stuffed the head and skull fracture with paper)



After a few layers of white primer, all the pieces were painted in a variety of colors of acrylic. Being colorblind, I was kinda hoping for the best.


….and finished!! Several layers of paint, glazing and dry-brushing. I also painted the styrofoam in the fracture black….


….before adding the finishing touches of flowers.


At the last second (the day of the Denver Zombie Crawl) I decided to make some quick business cards to give out….for promotion, yes, but mainly to ask folks who take photos with me to send me a copy via email.


And here’s the finished look moments before the Zombie Crawl. I named this guy “Vincent”, for obvious reasons.


Like I started this post, it HAS been a while! Thanks to those of you who have stuck with me here, and I hope to share some new stuff with you soon!

Usurping with Coffee Stains…

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It might take me a while, but I eventually do make good on my threats…of course speaking about finishing a new website, finally!


So, Welcome to the new/redesigned website!

Even though it’s been a long time in the works, this being it’s first week finds it with a few things that are still needed, namely: a more complete gallery and a working storefront…..as well as dancing monkeys. I will be adding to the galleries over the next few weeks as I scan or photograph current works – and I hope to have a working storefront in the same amount of time, after I figure out the correct way to appease the Finance Gods (not sure if I’m supposed to sacrifice a money stuffed virgin chicken on the Full Moon or the New Moon….and I don’t know how to check a chickens hymen).
Basically, what I’m saying is: Please stop by! I hope that you like my work, and if you do, check back often for updates.

Con Paredes Para Honrar a los Muertos...

Monday, October 1, 2012

I have four new drawings that will be part of Studio 12's Dia De Los Muertos show. Opening Night is this Friday, October 5th, from 4pm til 9pm. This was a juried show, so I don't have a list of the artists that will have work displayed, but that shouldn't deter you from swinging in and getting so Day of the Dead spirit saturating your bones.

Studio 12 Gallery is proud to be part of the Art District on Santa Fe

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