Over the summer of 2016 I continued to work with drawing inks and perspex but was beginning to drift into what I call playing with materials. This habit started during my third year in University as I had a desire to paint all sorts of objects with drawing inks. I enjoyed covering a 3D surface in bright colours and then outlining them to create something that I found visually pleasing (Pretty sure this is an autistic trait). That old habit has been finding its way back to me as I have begun to paint onto a range of things that are accessible to me (Even if its not practical to paint it. Oops)
During the summer a lot of my favourite artists have had exhibitions that included their style that branched out and used other media to create artwork. I have worked with perspex sheets for months now and wanted to return to 3D work. Previously I had used expanding foam to create bulging forms that looked like my anxiety monsters but like my paintings I only had so much control over the outcome. This is why I decided I wanted to use clay. I planned to make a anxiety monster but I first wanted to use something specific for this sculpture that I couldn’t get until the end of July.
Unfortunately during the summer I began to get some new physical repercussions to my anxiety troubles. I began to grind my teeth when awake and in my sleep which put an awful lot of stress on my jaw. I eventually had to buy a guard for my teeth and during the creation process a impression of my teeth was made. This original impression didn’t work properly so this left me with an impression with no use anymore.I wanted to use this mold as the inspiration of this piece.
I decided my first monster would be about the pains and anxiety I developed around my teeth for around a month (probably longer than that). I managed to get to an unhealthy obsession around my teeth and convinced myself they could break at any minute. This kept me up late at night and made it really difficult to concentrate and work so I felt it was the perfect time to use these feelings and be creative.
On July 21st Dave was born. A anxiety monster that had my teeth with a horrific but jolly smile.
I initially used tin foil to make a frame for the body and used it as a skeleton for the clay to wrap around. The clay was left to dry but because this was a new material it didn’t work as intended and the surface cracked in several places. I researched on how to create a smoother texture and then added to Dave’s body to flesh him out.
I added lumps of clay to make it look like Dave was made up of slime and sludge so when painted he would resemble the style of my paintings. It was difficult to blend the shapes into the body so that it didn’t appear it was simply covered in clay blobs. I used water to blend and sculpt the shapes to build up a form that looked distorted. I also added a tongue to the mouth and cleaned up the gums so they were not covering the teeth’s surface.
I left the air drying clay for around three days before I moved on to spray painting it with a white satin finish. I chose satin as both gloss and matte repelled the inks I use and I was taking a risk to see how the ink would take to this surface. Once the entirety of the body had been sprayed white I allowed it to dry for another day.
I used a pink and a blue ink as base colours and once they had dried I used a light blue as detailing on the blue and the pink had purple ink for the shadows. The ink required around three layers of the two colours to leave a defined and looking complete. The painting process took a long time to complete as it was a lot of allowing it dry before covering it with another layer.
The image above was in August and it was it this point I wanted to create a second sculpture since this one had been so successful. The yellow ink had stayed onto the red and remained vibrant which was often something I had difficulty with so I was impressed with the satin finish and how it held the colour.
The creation of Dave was an interesting and exciting experience which inspired me to continue making 3D artwork. In the upcoming weeks as my other sculptures are completed I will write about the three I have created and how my process has developed and improved over the past two months. Dave will hopefully be used in the future for something really exciting I can’t yet announce but it means the next few months will be very busy.
I haven’t been continuing my feature of Spotlight Sunday for several weeks now as I have been working an a lot of projects and attempting to work on my business. My anxiety has been getting better with a few fluctuations but I am starting to get somewhere with making this dream a reality. I just want thank everyone for their support of me and my artwork because it is you who keep me going. Hopefully Spotlight Sunday will continue once I can get comfortable with how things are running.
I also recently just updated my Redbubble account with some designs with t-shirts in mind (because there isn’t enough colour in the world. If you are interested follow the link below to browse the designs: