April 13, 2014

Feral art show piece

This busy buy bunny can now see the light at the end of the Tunnel.  Meanwhile, in the midst of business I managed to crank out another thematic piece for my good friends the "Gentlemen Destroyers" for their "Feral" group exhibition at the White Lodge Gallery.  Each artist was selected three things. An life form, an object and an activity.  I got a Squid, a Meat Grinder and Dancing.
The Gentlemen Destroyers are great guys. Jim Laing, my old studio mate when we were at ACAD, dropped off the panel they build for each artist.  I gathered my planning materials and got to imagining.
My first concept is to have the squid going thru the meat grinder as the tentacles remind me of how hamburger would come out the other end. So I begin drawing to get a general composition down.
I realize, in order to get this right I may need to work out my perspective a few times. It took me about three tried to get it how I want it. I then transfer this mock up to my other paper.
Here is the basic design after transferring. To transfer: I rub the back of the sheet with charcoal, and redraw over top the drawing pressing down hard in order to transfer the charcoal to the new sheet of paper. This is the same technique I will use to transfer the final drawn composition to the blank support.
Now I can draw in the squid and its tentacles. This plan is coming along nicely. I decided that with this piece I needed to have it well planned in order to tackle it efficiently and effectively as I don't have a lot of time to work on the painting due to how busy I am finishing up the 5 month Aboriginal Youth Animation Project screening.
I transfer the drawing and use spray fixative to lock down the drawing so that I may paint it without losing my plan or getting the charcoal in my paint. Unfortunately, this magic step is also extremely toxic :(
I decided to use Acrylic because of the limited time and its ability to dry quickly so I can add layers almost immediately. I also have colours and metallic pigments that are still unavailable in oil. Here you can see how reflective the silver acrylic paint is.
I have to give a second thick coat of the squid colour before doubling up on the iridescent silver. Then I add some shading and shine and paint in the squids eye and the handle on the meat grinder.
I paint light and shadow  onto the squid to give it a sense that it is a 3 dimensional form and pattern. It is starting to flush itself out now.
I add a bit more textures and a spotted pattern to its skin and rub in some iridescent purple sparkles over its surface so that in the right light it sparkles a bit.
I add in his sticky suction cups using a light colour and outlining with brown sharpie marker. So I've got the squid and he seems to be doing some crazy moves as he goes thru the meat grinder, but the dancing bit isn't implicit enough.
Here is the finished piece. 

The final step was  to paint in squid dance step instructions to the background and sign it in gold. I love all the pattern and how this piece came together in the end. I am proud of this piece and it reminds me where I should continue to be  putting my efforts and energies into creating art. I know a lot of people including some of my students came down to see the show, thanks for that!

Update: It sold and I know it went to a good home. Shout out to Sabo Forte for grabbing this piece up!

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