Next week a new show installs at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Entitled, Stirrings, the show will feature new work by HGA member artists. For my contribution to the show I thought about the first few anthropomorphic pieces I created. Though I had sculpted animal inspired art dolls before, this was a whole new direction. High Fashion, was one of the first of these creatures, and she has remained one of my personal favorites. Dare to Clash recalls her predecessor. This giraffe is displaying her own unique style.
Perhaps she is over doing it just a bit with the animal prints, but her purple flats are on point. She also seems quite happy with her visor and large hoop earrings. They show off her long slender neck.
“Dare” stands a little over 13 inches high. She has bright glass bead eyes capped off with long black lashes. Her custom footwear is hand sewn from faux leather.
This piece really a represents a labor of love. I fully recall how labor intensive adding all of the giraffe spots to High Fashion was. Now I added leopard spots, and tiger and zebra stripes to mix! Needless to say, she took quite some time.
Dare to ￼Clash will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting Tuesday, February 22nd. Come and check her out along with all new the “Stirrings”.
I don’t know about all artists, but I prefer to get in a groove in the studio. I encounter periods where my sculpture seems to flow from one to the next, and though each is unique, there is a connection between them. With luck, these periods precede an upcoming featured artist show, and the result is a cohesive body of new and exciting work in the show.
There are also times where the work comes in from widely varying directions. The last few weeks have been one of these periods. In fact, I would go as far as saying that I didn’t have much of anything to do with the origin of my last few creations. I have instead worked on a couple of commissions, and made a couple of not-for-sale original versions of existing characters.
High Fashion Giraffe Offspring
My anthropomorphic giraffe sculpture from my last feature show, High Fashion, was purchased last year. The owner asked me to create an offspring to accompany her. The finished version sports a pink hair bow, and vintage beaded ID bracelet. The image here is a work-in-progress photo. She will be off to join mom her new home shortly. This commission was fun. It allowed me to revisit a piece I truly love (High Fashion is currently featured on my gallery bio-cards) but look at it in a different way.
This was not the case with another recent commission. One I almost declined. With the exception of my puffin and polar bear ornaments, I prefer to not recreate any of my designs. Though, I will revisit an idea or theme and take a new look at it, I prefer not to simply reproduce something I have already made. To me it lessens the original. I had someone contact me and ask if I make them a new version of a piece that had a red dot (sold) in the gallery. Try as I might with questions about different colors and numbers of items in the piece… The customer was undeterred, and wanted one exactly like the piece they were unavailable to purchase. I’m not exactly sure why, but I did create the piece. In the end it made someone happy, so I guess that’s a positive.
A Real Sculpture Departure
In a real departure for me, I spent a little time making a couple of anime characters. These two pieces were not to be sold, but rather helping out with a club project. Fans might recognize my versions as a needle felted Totoro, and a hand sewn stuffed Pikachu with needle felted embellishments. They were an enjoyable diversion and challenge, as I was going for a definitely handmade while still true to known character aesthetic.
Before anyone asks… Sorry, but no. This was a one time, and not for sale thing.
Back To The drawing Board
Now I guess it is time to take out the sketch book, and see were the next flow of work all take me. At least I hope so.
This week is the last Friday of the month. A new featured artist show, Construction, is going live online for HGA. But, Three Narratives isn’t really going anywhere. My anthropomorphic art dolls will remain available both within the gallery featured sales pages, and here on my Available for Purchase page.
At the Gallery
Those same anthropomorphic art dolls are now at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts awaiting our controlled reopening. As you can imagine, a space where patrons linger, converse, and touch objects is rife with contact concerns. The HGA owner artists are carefully considering all the angles we can think of to safely start to welcome visitors back. The current plan is to offer private appointments one weekday, and open a few hours with precautions on Saturdays. Details on both options are still being finalized. I will share all that information with you here, as soon as I can.
Not Just Anthropomorphic Art Dolls.
Even with the move towards careful reopening, we are building and refining HGA’s online sales offerings. As you might imagine, something that required building on the fly has experienced a hiccup or two. The experience of the past few months has taught us that we need to develop this side of our gallery further. Keep checking in with me here. I will continue to share new developments. In the mean time, take a second look at our special Art Under $100 show. This show features pieces donated by the HGA member artists, and all proceeds go to maintaining the gallery.
In my last post, I detailed how this newest body of anthropomorphic figures grew out of the creation of a single white rabbit. This was an additional nod to Alice in Wonderland, an inspiration I’ve returned to a number of times. The first idea that appeared in my sketchbook was the slightly absurd image of a giraffe wearing two pairs of cloven hoof pumps.
Dressing a Giraffe
I have to say that giraffe morphology is quite unique. I poured over reference images online, and then worked and reworked her form. There is a balance between realistic and illustration that I’m trying to strike. I don’t want my animal figures to look like stuffed animal toys, but I also don’t desire them to be hyperrealistic either.
I also find a balance is needed in imbuing each with their anthropomorphic elements of human attire. This seems driven by each individual piece. High Fashion really only needed a few items to relay her idea. Additionally, I didn’t want to detract from the bold body conscious animal print jumpsuit she’s modeling. Especially, when it took what seemed like a lifetime to form and add each one of her brown patches and spots. Her shoes were also a labour of love to attain the oxymoronic effect of high end pumps made for the foot of a giraffe.
What Else Would an Anthropomorphic Polar Bear Do?
Nell Chandler, Michele Yellin and I decided on the title Three Narratives for our feature show. It seems appropriate for my figures to not only appear pulled from a story, but perhaps have their own tales. Last winter I created a number of polar bear ornaments for the holiday season at the gallery. This larger version, Climate Report, appears to have quite a bit more to say than his diminutive brethren. If a polar bear were a reporter, one can imagine that the news would revolve around the elements of everyday polar bear life. Any changes and impacts to that life would be noteworthy. My intrepid reporter is busy doing just that work. He is stylized more like he stepped out of a black and white film than a children’s book. After all, he is dealing with non-fiction issues.
Pieces, Prices and Pics
I’ll share one or two more of these new anthropomorphic pieces in a few days. I’m working on a few last items, and getting things ready for the launch of the online gallery on the HGA page. I will share it all here with you here as soon as it’s ready.