Tag Archives: John Bemis

Pinocchio and Flying Dreams

Giving flight to Imagination

My newest piece, “Giving Wing”, revisits the form of a metal sculpture of mine from a few years ago titled “Change”.  This time around, however, the similar looking figure sculpture is rendered in different media, with a different theme.

Giving Wing figure sculpture

Giving Wing

image of metal figure sculpture Change


“Change” was wrought in mixed metal with a concrete base, and was about metamorphosis and what can happen through transformation.  “Giving Wing”  depicts a similar lithe winged figure shortly after emerging from its chrysalis, but centers the ideas of imagination and and flight. Literally “Giving Wing” to one’s ideas.

I created “Giving Wing” out of papier-mâché and paperclay.  The color incorporated in the piece is obtained by layering the top layers of papier-mâché with tissue papers.  I utilized a technique for printing on tissue that I first tried with “Questioning Alice” to again incorporate text into the piece.  I guess I might refer to this as a sculptural collage. The trunk and branches of the tree bear quotes about dreams and imagination.  The chrysalis pod’s quotes center on flight and wings.

The wings of the butterly figure form a book.  I’ve purposely left the pages of the book, and the figure itself blank as a contrast to the patchwork riot of color of the wings “book cover”, and an invitation to the viewer to write one’s own story.

Detail Giving Wing

Detail Giving Wing

Another look at Pinocchio

I promised last week a that I would share a full length view of my Pinocchio piece for the “It’s All About The Story” show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. For my Pinocchio’s title I’ve turned to another piece of children’s literature, The Velveteen Rabbit.  The Skin Horse starts his explanation of becoming real for the Velveteen Rabbit with, “Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you.”

Full length view of Pinocchio art doll

Real Isn’t How You’re Made

The show  will be installed in the gallery on Monday, and the opening reception is next Friday, February 24th, from 6 to 9 pm.  There is an author’s reading in the gallery with John Bemis from, Out of Abaton: Book 1- The Wooden Prince, on Sunday, March 5th from 4 to 6pm.

close up of facial features of Pinocchio art doll

Pinocchio Inspired Art Doll Becomes Real

It’s Story Time

It is once again time at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts when we to turn to things literary.  Each February, we team up with one of the many well known authors who call Hillsborough home for a show titled “It’s All About The Story.”  This year is “Volume V, John Claude Bemis.”

John is an award winning Young Adult author.  This is the first time we are working with a YA author, and the first time that all the HGA artists are using the same story.  Our previous four shows have drawn from short story collections by Michael Malone, Jill McCorkle, Lee Smith, and Allan Gurganus.

pinocchio's heart

pinocchio’s heart

Retelling Pinocchio’s Tale

 Out of Abaton: The Wooden Prince, is John’s retelling of the Pinocchio tale set in medieval Venice.  As you can imagine, a magical story with fantastic beasts, fairies, and the like would be right in a doll artist’s wheel house.  After much personal debate, and quite a few unfinished sketches, I settled on the main character.

close up of facial features of Pinocchio art doll

detail Pinocchio’s face

Pinocchio is not a simple puppet this time around.  He is a finely crafted automaton servant boy who is automated, like all of of his kind, by magic from the kingdom of Abaton.  His automation is slightly special and he is slowly becoming real as a result.

detail of panocha's torso

torso detail

I decided to depict my Pinocchio before his transformation starts.  I am working with the title , “Servant Before You Are Real”, and decided to create him mostly of wood like his namesake. The photos throughout the blog post are Work-In-Progress pics.  I will share a finished image when the show is installed in a couple of weeks.

image of panocha's heart door closed

heart door closed

As usual, this show will open the “Last Friday” of the month on February 23rd from 6-9pm.  HGA will also host a reading by the author on Sunday, March 5 from 4-6 pm.