I’m often inspired by mythology, lore, and the monsters within these stories. I think that all mythology has some root in reality, even if it’s just an abstract embodiment of human fears. I still grapple with the ghosts of childhood. My attraction to stories is fueled by my escapist tendencies. Perhaps this is why so many of my projects take on a sinister or absurd tone.
Creating texture on a hand puppet is my main inspiration for the project. I sketched out many variations of possible hand puppets to create, but struggled between creating The Tooth Fairy, Krampus, and the Yeti. In a perfect world I could make them all, but for now, I onluy have time for one. I was really attracted to the idea of creating long fur out or yarn and fabric, as well as possible playing around with felting. The Yeti won.
In researching Yeti’s, I came across some really great Conspiracy videos “proving” the existence of these creatures via footage of a lumbering white figure.. I came across many more articles that link Yeti DNA samples to various bear species. Using reference photos from monkeys, bears, and Wampas (thanks Star Wars!), I was able to come up with a design that incorporated apelike features, big hands, and floppy fur. I hope to find a balance between sinister and silly.
When asked about where he gets his ideas for stories, Neil Gaiman said, “
What if….a Yeti were at a cat cafe in Brooklyn? Is he a tourist? Is he looking to adopt? Did he get put there by mistake? Are the other customers frightened or intrigued? How to the cats interact with him? Who knows. This has the makings to become a major sitcom though.
The hands, feet, and face will all be made of epoxy clay. The outer covering will be plain fabric covered in many layers of whitish yarn, twine, and other fabric. The interior of the puppet will be a mateless glove.
I plan on using the laser cutter for much of the background. I want all elements to be collapsible (much like an Ikea furniture set). I don’t have room to store things in my apartment, so this is always the constraint. By using the laser cutter, I can cut thin`gs to interlock with one another. The cats must be felted though. And there needs to be A LOT of them.
In the end, the backdrop will be a floor, 2 side panel walls, and a back wall with a hinged door. Lighting will likely be an LED lamp. I want to capture video footage of the Yeti in the cat cafe too, because the world needs this right now.
DVP Group Assignment
Our initial idea for the video was a pre-finals nightmare, solidly based on a reality where everything at school is broken when it’s most needed. We wanted to channel the anxiety of needing to print and submit files, running from one room to another, and dropping papers along the way. Getting various shots of Elena running was critical, as well as close ups of her hands and face. I was inspired by the film analyses of Pans Labrynth and Dark Night. I noted how little the camera stayed still. It was constantly in motion, even if just a slow sweep in one direction or the other. I wanted to create something dynamic, with smooth cut scenes and fluid movements.
Lauren, Elena, and I all had very similar storyboards. The story: Elena during finals, with everything going wrong (the computer freezing, the printers down, the paper cutter not working), and ending as she wakes up from the finals nightmare.
Filming was easy. Lauren, Elena, and I all took turns shooting footage, and were able to agree on the most important scenes. Lauren’s background in film was a trememdous help when it came to dynamic camera movement and abstract shots. The snorri-cam and tracking shots were lots of fun to shoot as well. The only challenges that arose came about from the other people in the room. We had to film around them, and migrate to multiple areas within the 8th floor if our previous spot was taken over.
When it came to editing, I realized that I didn’t have all of the shots i wanted, but I also didn’t want to create a straightforward narrative. I almost completely threw out the storyboard and had to start from scratch. In the beginning, editing was difficult, only because I wasn’t sure what direction to take with the story. I started looking for “spooky music” and created the movie based on what I found. In the background, there is ambient electronic buzzing music and Tibetan singing bowls. To my surprise, much of the raw audio we captured from the camera was usable as well. The use of sound and music allowed me the flexibility to have blacked out areas of the screen, while still progressing the story.
One things that surprised me the most was how different each of the videos turned out. Elena’s video was humorous, while Laurens was moody. Much of the footage I omitted, they used. It was also interesting to see how sound could transform the same footage in such different ways: the use of ambient noise versus dramatic Vivaldi concertos, or sound effects versus the absence of.
There’s no particular reason that a Jackelope was the first idea to come to mind when given the puppet assignment. I suspect, there were two possible reasons for inspiration: a recent podcast I listened to or an Autumn homesickness from bunny-laden Michigan.
Initially, I wanted to create a skeletal creature which would closely resemble an anatomical rabbit. Creating the vertebrae out of epoxy turned into more of an ordeal than I had thought it would be. Lack of clear reference photos or access to an actual skeleton made it extremely difficult to create anything passably realistic. However, the Sculpey teeth I made were quite nice.
Next was the head. I used foil and masking tape to build the bulk of the head. I then used armature wire and masking tape to build up the antlers and ears. When the basic form was complete, I used an awl to puncture holes in the jaw for teeth, and secure everything in place with epoxy. The ears and antlers were reinforced with epoxy clay as well.
The body was a challenge. I had to compromise between making a form that was more rabbit-like or more human like. I opted for the latter. I wanted the Jackelope to be able to stand on two legs, but with the joint configuration in the hind legs that would allow it to also sit on all fours. Youtube was an invaluable source for figuring out ways to make the joints of the skeleton. I created loops from heavy gauge armature wire to use to latch the joints together. The skeleton frame was then covered in foil and masking tape. I had to pay careful attention to the way the joints would bend. To ensure that the limbs would not move in every direction, I had to build in “stops.” This meant adding layers of foil to ensure that joints only had clearance to move in one direction or the other.
I made the choice to only make the paws and head of the Jackelope detailed, because everything else would be covered with some sort of fabric. I used epoxy clay to cover the surface of the paws, and scored the surface to give the appearance of fur. I used acrylic paint to cover the surfaces that would be visible.
When faced with the problem of covering the frame I quickly remembered that sewing is awful and I hate it. 3 garments were destroyed in the process of experimentation. After collapsing in a pile of frustration and fabric scraps, I decided that gutting a stuffed animal would be the easiest option to maintain some amount of my sanity. The sacrificial stuffed sloth i found was imperfect but usable. The skin and Jackelope frame both required modifications though: the frame was too wide, and the limbs of the skin were too short. I used a hammer to compress the foil layers in the pelvis and thighs. For the skin, I extended both the arms and legs using leftover fabric (and minimal sewing). Fuzzy fabric is very forgiving, and I was able to Frankenstein a suit together, plu8s re-use some of the stuffing to make the Jackelpoe pleasantly squeezable.
I was unsure what to do for eyes. Again, I was torn between a realistic or an obviously fabricated solution. I thought about using clay, beads, or just leaving the sockets empty, and then decided to repurpose the eyes of the Sloth. I used Epoxy clay to build up the eye sockets a little more and then put the cloth eyes in place.
The headless Jackelope was quite fun to play with. I attached some throwaway string to the body, just to see how the puppet would move. Paul Andrejco mentioned during his lecture that puppet creations sort of have a mind of their own. My headless Jackelope was floppy and grotesque like a raw chicken. I loved him.
The last issue was attaching the stings to the controller. The string I was originally using kept tangling or breaking. I ended up getting super thick fishing wire, which once attached, looked like overkill. I’m not sure what professional puppeteers do to keep their strings from tangling, but I definitely see the fishing wire as a temporary solution for now.
I am very happy with how my puppet turned out. My favorite aspect of creating 3D work is how tactile it is, and how it invites the viewer to play and explore. I plan to use more 3d elements in my work in the future, but for now, I have a Jackelope to hang out with.
In the spirit of Halloween, I had an idea to create something eerie, perhaps bordering violent. For me, the mask I created was not meant to transform the wearer, but to absorb them. A multitude of hands reach over the face, obscuring an eye, and cradling the chin. I imagined this mask as a physical manifestation of mental illness, constantly pulling the wearer back into some dark abyss.
To create the mask, I began with a wire frame headband. My boyfriend acted as a *mostly* willing mannequin, who held still while I bent wire around his head and repeatedly (but accidentally) stabbed him with loose wires. The hands were all created individually as well, comprised of wire armatures and masking tape.
I covered both the hands and the headband with foil to build up volume, and used paper pulp to build even more volume. Epoxy clay was used to create fingernails and to hold together some loose joints. The exterior was mostly covered with white paper clay.
Instead of attempting to paint the hands “flesh color,” I wanted to leave them grey and white. The rawness of the paper clay and paper pulp created a wonderful texture that I couldn’t bring myself to cover up.
I imagine my hand mask being used as a movie prop, in dimly lit rooms, and only for split second cut scenes. Hopefully, the quick cut scenes would lead the viewer to question whether or not they actually saw it.
Preliminary sketches for possible masks.
Ben was less than enthused to model for me after I woke him up to do so.
Gluing the sides of the box
Adding gold paint to coral, and the completed front cover decal
One winter four years ago, some friends broke into my apartment and left me with a clean kitchen and an aquarium. The aquarium was home to a Betta fish, red and elegant. It came with a love not and some care instructions. I watched it swim, mesmerized.
The Betta Fish is not a glamorous spirit animal. Despite being beautifully colored and elegant, the Betta is an aggressive fish, unable to coexist with many other creatures. I learned this the hard way, hoping to realize my vision of a lively aquarium. Other fish were quickly killed, and I would find their remains at the bottom of the tank in the morning. Shrimp faired much better, as they were small enough too hide amongst the plants, and to swim away quickly when charged. Snails were also good companions, as they moved too slowly to catch the attention of the Betta, and came with their own protective barrier from any attacks. Even the Betta’s own reflection was not immune from attacks, as it was perceived as an intruder.
I empathize with the Bettas need for solitude, it’s territorial nature, it’s fiery demeanor, and it’s colorful display. With this project, I hoped to capture the regal coloring of the fish and the fluidity of the aquarium. At first glance, the “book” appears to be a simple box with minimal coloring. I used black cardstock in order to make the colors more vibrant. Once opened, there is an array of color and texture in reds, greens, and golds in each of the hollowed out sides. I opted to make a box contraption because I wanted to have the depth to layer paper and to to build volume. By leaving much of the delicate paper partially attached, I allow for movement within the structure. One can run their fingers through the aquarium plants, or blow air onto the Betta’s fins to make them flutter. The Betta, floating amongst the plants, retains it’s angry and surprised expression, while still radiant and colorful.
The completed book, in all it’s glory.
Bodys Isek Kingelez, “City Dreams” Exhibit
City Dreams at the MoMa
The gallery space at the MoMa is engulfed in all white, with dimly lit walls and echoing tiled floors. The display tables are white and curved, evoking a modernist aesthetic as they snake around the room. Atop the tables sit maquettes made of paper, cardboard, soda cans, and recycled packaging. In a museum that is home to work by arts such as Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, and Marcel Duchamp, the work of Bodys Isek Kingelez’s “City Dreams” feels juxtaposed in it’s playfulness. His gallery space is open and inviting. The intricacies of the buildings’ color and texture beg to be explored.
The 1970’s signaled the end of Belgium ruled Zaire (now the Peoples Republic of Congo), and the beginning of the dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko. This newfound independence was set against a global backdrop of racial desegregation in schools in America, The Vietnam war, and the moon landing. The 70’s encompassed a mix of hope and horror, as human ingenuity soared in tandem with monstrous imagination. Kingelez began making these model cities of “extreme maquettes” as a response to the political turmoil he was living through. Disagreeing with the dictatorship that Zaire was now under, he used these maquetes to propose an alternate reality for his country–one of art, architecture, and idealism, or as he states, “A better, more peaceful world.”
The glittering multicolored metropolis is an idyllic version of Africa. From a distance, the structures have an appearance closer to that of a popup book than of an architectural model. They are an explosion of color, texture, and unorthodox materials such as construction paper, aluminum cans, and styrofoam. His piece Kimbembele Ihu is build of layers upon layers of paper and cardboard. It is a homage to his hometown, bearing little physical resemblance to the actual village, but using villager names on some of the buildings to pay tribute. He reimagines this farming village as a utopian metropolis with tall skyscrapers and cylindrical structures. In this piece, he channels his hopes of what his village could become.
Ville Fantóme, in contrast, is a looming cityscape with twisting roads, and a dizzying array of details. He imagines this city as one without crime or sickness, thus there is no need for police or doctors. Ville Fantome also includes buildings that proudly proclaim his interest in international affairs. A metallic red, white, and blue skyscraper reads “USA”, another reflective structure reads “Canada” at the base, and a smaller angular building reads “Seoul.” In addition, he includes a separate part of the city for the dead, connected by a narrow bridge. When even the dead are welcome, it’s hard to argue his vision of inclusion.
There is a hopefulness to Kingelez’s work, and with good reason. He’s taking this opportunity of political transition to try and build a better society, one build of colors and skyscrapers, and one of inclusion for all. He sees this fictional place as a heaven on earth. It’s the return of humanity to Eden, as they are stripped from sin and given a second chance.
Ville fantome, Kingelez’s fantastical cityscape at the City Dreams exhibit at the MoMA
A closeup of Ville Fantome
Title: “For the Love of Toast”: An evening of bread and all things toasted—An interactive exhibit at the Museum of Food and Drink (MoFad)
Media and technology: Interactive Projection Mapping
Dimension: Exterior of MoFad: ~40×9 ft, Interior spaces vary
Description: Museum of Food and Drink (MoFad) invite you to an evening of all things toast.
Attendees will be imme
rsed in a sensory showcase of interactive art exhibits, short film screenings, bread tastings, and historical connections to bread. Guests will experience baking demos from local businesses, explanations of the science involved breadmaking, and the chemical reactions that take place within the oven to make the bread.
When arriving, guests will be greeted by moving toast projections on the front exterior of the building. The images will be taken directly from the animation “For the Love of Toast.” The projections will also be interactive: as the attendees enter the field of projection, the toasts will move around them
.All exhibits will be interactive. Guests will get to use our “Smell” machine to learn about the chemical compounds in the smells of breadmaking: yeast, sourdough, toasted bread, burnt bread, cinnamon, fire, smoke, wheat, and rye.
Toast art exhibits will fill the space: bread sculptures, a photo collection of Religious toasts featuring toasted images of Jesus and Mary, and an exhibit of bread labels from the early 1800’s to today.
There will also be a discussion of how food is embedded in our cultural history and the American colloquialisms that involve bread: “Bread and butter” and “The greatest thing since sliced bread,” and how they became parts of our everyday language.
Benefits and outcomes:
People will gain a better understanding of the history and science behind breadmaking and toast. Local bakeries and breadmakers will also get exposure and make personal connections with potential clients.
The first image was deemed too “male-centric”. The men have since transformed into Narwhals.
The images were made in Adobe Illustrator. At Student Health Services, we are working on creating a Peer Counseling Program to help deal with the growing issue of mental illness/stigma on campus. The image is supposed to represent two people talking about their feelings. The Narwhals are more P.C.