ABOUT ONCE-INFLATABLE COLLAGE SCUPTURES

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Collage-Sculptures
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Only a few people have viewed my original once-inflatable sculptures in their natural habitat–my basement and the trees behind my home. The sculptures are made from papier-mache and entirely covered with thousands of colored images, cut from magazines and catalogs, and protected with generous layers of natural-based sealant. They began with a desire to add a third-dimension to the collage experience by creating objects that possessed their own space in a room, like most humans, rather than laying flat inside a frame or on a shelf. They each appeared very clearly in mind before construction began. And each required 200-300 hours to complete.

First came the Blooming Chair, a holiday gift for my wife. The chair has been in constant use for almost 20 years. It started with a broken chair that had no seat, half a leg and other cosmetic and functional issues. It was given to me by an art director who was familiar with my collages and thought I could turn the chair into art. I accepted the challenge and repaired it with multi-layers of papier-mache, covered with hundreds of floral, wildlife, underwater, mythological and personal images gleaned from magazines, catalogs and photos.

Next the Flying Alligator, which was once my son’s ocean-worthy float toy, until it sprang a slow leak that led to its ultimate preservation in untold layers of papier-mache and feather-shaped images. Each image on the alligator’s surface is unique–hand cut from magazines and applied to create a colorful dynamic texture when perceived from a distance. Images of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Jerry Garcia are discreetly sprinkled into the gator’s feathery coat.

Blue Dopio appeared in an afternoon daydream and required a life-size sex doll (which looked just like Wayne Newton), and some reconstruction to recreate the vision. Dopio is entirely original. The cone nose, dorsal fin and oversized hands seem natural on this androgynous creature. I wanted to capture him in the act of falling from a very high place, like from another world. His legs and arms are swimming through the air, and his nose is aimed to stick in the ground on impact. Bare, white papier-mache for his first years, he was hanging from a tree at a backyard party when Timbro, my beatnik poet pal from  Fresno, dubbed him “Dopio,” in honor of his over-extended nasal profile and participation in a party at which dope was allegedly smoked. Later, hundreds of blue ‘scales’ of different hues were cut from magazines and added to his bare coat to create a body of blueness whose surface always appears in motion.

World of Dead and Roses places my stash of Grateful Dead images atop a bowl of more than 1,000 roses, all cut from rose catalogs. I once wrote catalogs for Jackson & Perkins, one of the nation’s largest purveyors of roses. The five years worth of seasonal catalogs I collected provided the ammo for more than one thousand unique rose images. The Dead material came from my personal collection of magazines, photos, tickets and handbills gathered since the mid-1970s.


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