woensdag 31 december 2014

Building a Transformer out of a skull part 3

So the end of 2014 is getting really close and I am thinking of how to fill my time making sculptures. I have always many ideas and said to myself to focus a bit more on the type of sculptures I have, because otherwise people don't know what I am about as an artist. Well, so I have been thinking about old projects and how to do them better or slightly different and come back to me making my first Transformer.

So this was many years ago and based on Optimus Prime; a robot that transforms out of a lasagne package and back. Two years later I tried to make one out of a real sheep skull, but failed. It started with many pieces of skull:

Eventually, the project failed on joints that kept breaking away from the bone, but the last few days I spend some time, not too much, with my old first generation Transformers and this idea is getting very tempting again! So 2015 might see a Transformer that transforms out of a real sheep skull, but it is going to be a frustrating journey without doubt!

dinsdag 23 december 2014

The typical looking back looking forward....

Like everybody else at the end of the year, you look back and forward, but I also think about the plans I had for this year and how I have lived up to my plan. Sounds all very systematic and thorough, but it isn't. Generally my plan consists of something like: Try and get 2 exhibitions and do a couple of fairs and create a new paint style or something. This year my plan was even more simple: focus on the types of sculptures I have and anything I get done is bonus. Why? Because the main plan was to prepare for fatherhood and take care of baby and mother when 'it' arrived. So that is why it has all been a bit slow and why I have only done Strummercamp, Kendal Comic Festival and a short exhibition in the Manchester Climbing Centre.

I am pleased to have progressed on the bike part and bone sculptures and to have restored to key pieces like the Wile E Coyote 2D sculpture and the Spongebob Fossil. So I stuck to my plan of not making new types of sculptures, because otherwise it all gets very random, I think. I think people should be able to easily recognize what I make and I already make so many different types of art: Skulls, Urban Scoundrels, 2D sculptures, drawings, Fictional Fossils, Fridge magnets, Bike parts and bones sculptures and other mixed media sculptures.

It is difficult to stay on 'just' these types of art, because I have loads of other ideas which can be great, but.... aahhh! People who know me als know I have often been busy making a board game..., I am also making t-shirts, cards, would love to make a calendar and this is al next to the many ideas I have for new types of sculptures. Pfff...the more I think about these, the more I talk about these with others, the more ideas I get.

So what shall I do for next year? Still not sure, at least I want to make more bone and bike part sculptures and do a few more fairs than last year. For the rest, I might indulge myself to make something new, but all is still more limited while taking care of my only living sculpture I have ever made! We will see, I won't stop that is for sure!

woensdag 19 november 2014

Where do you get your bones from?

There are two things I always hear from people when they see my work at fairs, festivals or exhibitions:
They will first mention; 'I have never seen anything like this before' when they move onto the question; 'Where do you get your bones from'? First, I thank you all for the first comment! I consider that to be a great compliment, because I don't like making what other people have made! I want to answer your question in this blog post.

Unlike some of you that wonder whether I go out to kill innocent animals in the wild, steal dead animals from Abattoirs or simply eat loads of meet to keep the bones while making the local butcher rich….I just collect the bones in the wild when the animal has already died. Big or small I use both, but  different sizes means different ways of collection in my case and will explain how I deal with the small animals this time.

I often go out running or cycling and if you keep an eye out you will see a lot of small animals dead on paths and roads. Most of them, especially in very busy urban areas, will be quite useless because half of the bones are broken by cars driving over them multiple times. Key is to find roadkill that hasn't felt the hard side of our society's favourite mode of transport to often: How flat is it? If it still has an 'natural' shape, does it still have eyes or an intact rectum? If yes, it probably died in the last 24 hours and is probably not hit very often. Small animals like this will loose a lot of hard material like nails, vertebrae and teeth very quickly. So I often collect the whole animal and place it in my garden so I can control its decay and make sure I get most of the bones.

This summer I find a grey squirrel while out on the bike and took it home. Interesting to see how quickly flies came on it.

On the same they when this squirrel died

On the same they when this squirrel died, took extra care to trap the tail bones, hope it works!

After one and a half week where you already see lots of maggots in its head, no those are not teeth!

I didn't have time to clean it, but it is ready now to strip it down into bones and I will still expect some flesh turned into 'leather' and lots of fur, but besides that it should be clean of any other soft tissue. Then I will keep it exposed in a tray for the winter to come in a sunny place to prevent algae growing in the bone. If you want white bones, make sure you are quick enough from this stage to separate the bones from the tissue and remove them from the soil, because the soil will give it a brownish colour. But if that happens I can always make a fridge magnet installation on my fridge or like I did two years ago; split them an spread them around the city as an easter hunt if you have a hare or rabbit:

Still alive!

I have been an bit busy with other stuff lately, so this blog has gathered some dust over the last few months. I did do some work my art, like showing my work at the Kendal comic book festival, which was really nice! Sold  more work than expected and had a lot of nice comments on my work! Unfortunately, I am still busy with non art related stuff and really push it to finish new work and currently busy on an commission which is really started to look good!

I won't be doing the normal batch of Christmas fairs, because I don't have the time this year, but I am planning new events for next year. If you want to buy something for Christmas, I always have sculptures 'in stock' but I can also squeeze in a request here and there, just send me an Email!

Stay tuned!

maandag 8 september 2014

Bryonosaurus Colepiokite fossil

I have finished a new fictional fossil! This time one that is based on a character of my own imagination, which means an animal that has never existed, but it does in my mind and now it is there in real life. So it did exist….because I have a fossil here!
So what is this new character? It is a Bryonosaurus; a Dinosaur with feathers, same size as a pigeon, but it can't really fly. Well, just a little bit, because it uses the hands as a kite to propel itself over land and water. It has big hands with lots of feathers and long skinny arms, shorter legs and big feet and is a carnivorous animal that likes to eat small frogs.

The name comes from on of the first feathered animals the Bryonosaurus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byronosaurus
The second part of its name is based on its skill of kite surfing, mainly the hands that form the kite. 'Colepio' is old Greek for knuckle, because the first remains of this animal was found long time ago, but this specimen is in much better state.

In this fossil only one of its typical features is clearly visible and those are his long arms. The bones of the hands and feet were a bit lost in time. The skull is very nicely preserved for us.

My next sculpture is probably going to be a commission and the first of its kind, so stay tuned!

zaterdag 6 september 2014

Exploring the thoughts behind the ideas for my sculptures

I have recently spend some time reflecting on what I have made in the past 5 years. I often concluded that my sculptures are pretty innocent creatures, although freaky, and that My more political thoughts never really properly got in to them, with some exceptions though.

But if I look at de various types of sculptures I make, I discovered that subconsciously I didn't just like them in a random way. It all was environment and waste focussed, but very very difficult to see. I noticed the urge to create animals. The urge to use natural materials. The need to adapt animals to subconsciously add an evolutionary theme. So for a lot of them I won't be claiming so higher explanation about how I view the world, but I do want to use this post to describe what was going on in my head.

If I take my first sculptures, the are all animal crossovers and a lot of them with robotic parts. I have always liked that contrast. Not really sure why, but might figure that out at some point. So animals are big. I easily could have used humans, but no. I found that I actually don't rate humans as important for me as other people might do.
I have also used a lot of bones and that has a clear death theme in it, but more the urge to explore the things of real life you normally don't see. I have always had the urge to do the opposite thing. Sometimes to show people alternatives or just to show something different. My scavenger mentality did really help with that as well. I have always picked stuff up as a child and was always thinking it would be a shame to throw things away. Here comes the urge to use waste. For me using waste goes further than just reusing things. I very strongly believe not to use more than I need, even if it doesn't have an effect in the environment. It sometimes is an obsession, but not a very clear one.
With the fictional fossils, I am really diving into the imagination and I found that fossils somehow feel like the best way to prove that characters of my imagination, animals and the like, were alive and not just a sculpture. Looking back, this is a nice mirror for all the fake lives we are creating ourselves online. We use our imagination and try to bring it alive as much as we can.

So far e quick blurp on this. I might come back with more evolved thoughts...

maandag 25 augustus 2014

Price setting in art

The pricing of an object of art is a very common question. Every artist struggles with it and it wraps around to underlying questions:
1 Do I calculate a price and if yes, how?
2 Would this price be realistic for the market?

So you think you go about and create a very realistic price for your artwork on which you spend a numerous hours on and think you will definitely will be able to sell it. You start with question number 1:
There are many ways to calculate a the price of a work of art. You grab your costs and add an hourly rate to it. The costs can just be your materials, but some may include everything in it like your costs for having a website. Hourly rates can vary a lot as well and when picking an hourly rate you soon start to wonder what is a fair rate and that is just before you drop into the second question:

The second question is when you start to research what other similar artworks go for, or more accurately; what other artists ask for their work. So you check artworks of similar size, quality and type.  Then you realise that the prices vary a lot, but that their is a rough baseline. But within that base line an artist can still ask 3 times as much as a different artist with very comparable work. The clue partly lies in the word 'ask'. Everybody can ask something, whether they get it is something very different, but that is only part of the explanation.
The other part is a lot more important an completely ruins both questions you have just been researching, because when you were doing that research you did discover artworks actually being sold for 20 times more than the baseline of prices for a similar work of art; quality, size and type. Off course you realise that you might have gone wrong somewhere because it is difficult to asses the quality side of it. But that said, if you make landscape paintings you probably know a bit how to pull of a landscape painting and you wouldn't be judging the creation of a bronze sculpture or an installation.
I think it is safe to assume that there are a lot of artworks sold for a lot more money from one artist where similar quality artwork from another artist could have been bought by spending 10 times less.
How is that possible? Well, I think because the product, art, is very hard to judge by the average buyer. There are only a few people that can assess the quality of various different type of artworks in a good way, for the rest there are loads of people that pretend they do. So a lot of the judgements are more based on opinion, so you as a buyer might as well use your opinion when buying art, but that is where it goes wrong and where you get these freak prices. The prices go wrong in two ways: People often not just buy an artwork because they like it, but also whether their friends, perhaps more art minded friends, will like it as well. So they will follow other peoples opinions, presented as quality assessments, and buy accordingly. The second reason the prices go wrong is that a lot of people will also buy art as an investment, so they will follow where ever the market takes them. Weirdly, with all the difficulty of judging art on quality, for an art investment it isn't important to buy quality as much as you would expect, but whatever grows in price, so more the perceived quality.

You might have read this and think; what is 'wrong' about those prices, it is just how the market works. Yes, it is, but I have always had difficulty to except people behaving in a certain way not because it is better, but because everybody does that. Same with this. If one celebrity buys an artwork from artist x, then suddenly that artist can slowly push the prices up 10 fold. His quality hasn't gone up 10 fold and there are loads of other artists that would make the same art but didn't come across that celebrity to sell to.

I often get comments that I should ask more money for my sculptures, because x and y will ask the same price. But the question is always for me; do I sell it at that price? You can also wonder whether a lot higher price would create a better perceived quality, but to pull that off you need to be showing your work at the right places and does are hard to get into without someone influential.

I just hope one day that I do become a bigger name and that the works I have sold to people that appreciate my work, simply because they like it, will see their sculptures rise in price, but that they will still keep it!

dinsdag 19 augustus 2014

New rhythm!

I have been a bit quiet recently due to, positive, family affairs. My work will be a bit slow in the near future, but I have managed to pull out some sculptures and some t-shirts designs:

The Mountain Biker

 The Roadie

Not 100% finished yet: GFC

I am currently working on decorating another skull, so stay tuned!

zondag 15 juni 2014

Robots - Mechanical parts

I think many of you have already seen quite a lot of robotics entering my sculptures and it started with my Cungo character. Somehow during the creation of that character I kept the very tight lines and angles and thought it would look cool, after that I kept the need to sometimes have a more angular approach, but also deliberately made a robot like this sculpture based on Ratchet and Cliffjumper of the first Transformers cartoon of the 80's:

Then I started mixing more bones, which I was starting to use after good use of some skulls, in my sculptures but used them in a more mechanical way and that seemed to be the right balance. Bones are basically mechanical and not that different than bike parts in a way, so when I combined them with bike parts it made a lot of sense:

After this sculpture, 'Ronny Ravage', I started wondering why I actually like robots, mechanical parts, bones etc. I think robots express a lot of power by being very rational, calculating, clear and efficient. An expression of power and control perhaps. I don't consider myself a 100% rational control freak, but I do like things clear, efficient and eventually tidy. 
Somehow the combination of bones and bike parts is the closest I have come to make something 'grim' or dark, because I generally use bright colours, more humour, more joy and these go more in the direction of 'cool'. At the moment I am finishing another bone and bike part sculpture and then I'll go back to perhaps making another skull. Check my fanpage on FB (https://www.facebook.com/Dr.Freakinstyle) for when I have finished that new sculpture!

woensdag 14 mei 2014

Dr. Freakinstyle shirts

For a while I have been thinking about my discovery about the background of the clothing brand Superdry. I started checking them online, because I noticed that they make those very meaningless t-shirts by using random words that we associate with a 'wow' feeling. Can't describe it any better now, but examples of those words will draw the picture:

….and many random names of places, provinces and countries.

I have always wondered why people would wear a t-shirt with, for example, 'Texas Challenge Trophy' without having been in Texas, without this trophy existing and even without those three words actually meaning anything, but that could just be me. I am the weird artist after all. So I didn't have to look far to discover that Superdry, which actually make some ok clothes but are ruining it with their 'empty' words,  is actually set up by to guys from Cheltenham and has nothing to do with Japan. Ok, there is a small link, this is from their website:' Inspired by a trip to Tokyo in 2003, Superdry fuses design influences from Japanese graphics and vintage Americana, with values of British tailoring. It actually raises lots of questions, but means they definitely don't come from Japan. Those random Japanese writing, could be anything really. Oh, and …..'unique urban clothing with incredible branding'….. Wow! I would love to wear a t-shirt with incredible branding, which basically means that it is all about the name.

Well, so to put my amazement and frustration about the mindless consuming of brands, I decided to make my own versions:

Yeah, so these are now on sale, off course I would like to gain some money over the efforts of two boys from Cheltenham selling meaningless crap! I see you might wonder why so much effort to point out a company that makes t-shirts? Who cares? Well, it is more my disappointment and frustration with society that people make so many uninformed choices as mindless sheep. The same thing can be seen around choices about our environment, economy, health etc. Examples are:

- Environment: always and always getting loads of plastic bags to carry their shopping, while they could have easily have taken their own bags.
- Economy: always thinking that you get a mobile for 'free' when taking a contract and still after ever finished contract taking a new one to get a new 'free' mobile phone.
- Health: thinking that only fat makes you fat and then buying 'light' products thinking that these engineered 'foods' would help them loose weight, it actually only fills the pockets of an industry that has made you fat in the first place, with some self responsibility off course.

But I also have these prints available, some in a distance based on the same idea, but won't bore you with that now:

Check them out on: www.shirtcity.co.uk/shop/drfreakinstyle Or drop me a line if you want something else!

dinsdag 22 april 2014

GoGo the original

I have probably written more often about my GoGo bird, a crossover between Roadrunner and the extinct Dodo. This bird has popped up in my work every now and then in the last 4 years. It has popped up again, because the original sculpture based on this idea now finally has the base it needed. Four years ago, when I just was getting comfortable with this random idea to make sculptures, I create the first GoGo bird. Initially a test version with Fimo clay, which was the first clay I bought after being fed up with being unemployed. Then I decided to create it in epoxy clay so it would be more solid and this creation gave me the first feeling of; 'This is getting somewhere'!

Now for years later I have added the base to this sculpture that has laid the foundations the faith in myself as a sculptor.

After this sculpture I create more characters as crossovers and decided to clone them by creating a mould and casting them in resin. At the same time I was staring for 6 months at two skulls in my garden picked up during mountain biking and decided to use my style on them myself.
Initially, these two types of sculptures were quite separate and ever since I have been trying to mix them and in that process the GoGo has reappeared several times:

As a 'GoGo' skull:

As a GoGo fossil:

GoGo commissioned birds:

Last year adding to the story by adding a new predator in a fossilised scene:

I can't predict where this GoGo bird is taking me, but it was very nice to finally see a key piece getting the honour it needed by adding the base!

maandag 17 maart 2014

Oeps, I did it again!

I have been on a holiday for a few weeks, squeezing out the last few pennies on a holiday I'll probably won't make in the next decade. I went to those typical lovely tropical beaches with white sand and clear blue sea. I went to Thailand and visited some Islands in the south, deliberately not those famous tourist-run-over-alcohol-partying islands, no I went to some low profile islands with amazing beaches just for yourself. Off course I was most of the time disconnected from all the sculptures I wanted to make, but occasionally got some new ideas. However, this blogpost is mainly about what I saw there, with one item in particular.

I think most of you know my Urban Scoundrel called Traffic Cone Terrorist, which is based on the Hermit crab. Well, I saw loads and loads of these on the beaches of the islands I went to! They keep entertain me because they have such comical character. Every time I came close they would hide in their stolen shells hoping I wouldn't see them, often accompanied with the sound of  a shell clicking on the surface. Here is a video I took of one on our table.

Off course I found all kinds of shells, a knife and loads of other stuff, because that is how I am; I find stuff. Most of it I left in Thailand or gave away. I did saw two Dolphin skulls at the places I have been:

On the same island I found a vertebra of a Dolphin as well:

I didn't take it how to avoid any inconvenient Thai officials, besides, I already have bunch of these!

BUT, then I found this!

Some of you know I have been hope to get a Monkey skull for some time and I managed to find one. So initially I was very excited for 30 seconds and then realised it is illegal to just bring a Monkey skull into the UK, with the risk, although small risk, of getting caught in Thailand. Unfortunately I didn't bring it back to the UK and left it. One of the main reasons was that I would really like to exhibit it as well after I would have used it for a sculpture, but without any documents this would be a bit tricky. They don't go easy on these things. I am not too bothered with the illegal side of it, because I know I didn't take it by killing an endangered specimen and just having a skull like this in my house isn't enough for me anymore.
Yes, if anyone can donate a Monkey skull brought in the UK with the appropriate documents… I am still your man!

Anyway, I have proven again that I am able to find special bones and skulls in places completely new to me, but it might also be down to pure luck after also finding a Dolphin in the Algarve last year.

maandag 3 februari 2014

Cobra sculptures

At the start of the year I decided to create a new type of sculpture and decided to get inspired by the artists who were part of CoBrA. CoBrA was an art movement in the '40 and the name is a compilation of the cities where the leaders of this movement came from; Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.
The artist weren't very fond of the very intellectual art and the way other artists made their art too academic, so in contrast the preferred the abstract and spontaneous creation.

Both paintings by Karel Appel

So why pick this to be inspired by?
Well, first of all, I like quite a lot of the paintings. The use of bright colours is probably one of the reasons why I like them. Also, they were inspired by child like drawings and I like to create cartoon characters, both very child influenced.
Third reason is that these, mostly paintings, are abstract and I haven't done much abstract work and I somehow really want to make something more abstract.

First step was for me to start to making drawings of my own CoBrA-style and I picked these two as the best to base a sculpture on:

I made these drawings with vague idea of CoBrA in my head, so they are very different still. I have now started creating one of the two as a sculpture and already it moved away from the initial idea! The result will be fine, but realised my starting point was wrong. The sculpture coming out of it will look cool, though. This is a work-in-progress picture of today's result:

Not a great picture, but hopefully I can post the result soon on my fanpage on Facebook!

donderdag 23 januari 2014

Sculptures vs paintings

I have recently been jumping around from sculpture to drawing/painting and back to use drawings to develop my ideas for new sculptures. I keep thinking about which is the most interesting medium to create things in and I think this just depends. In my case I just have a preference for sculptures in general, but it is always very tempting to create 2 dimensional artwork. For me it feels like making sculptures is the real thing and 2 dimensional artwork is recording the 3-dimensional artwork. Just like paintings were made to show what happened, what someone looked like (portrait), etc. Or photos to record important moments in our lives.

Even abstract paintings are a 'recorded' expression of something that exists, but nobody has every seen it in that way.

Off course it is easy to argue about the right paintings have in the art world and that it is just as real as sculptures, but for me it feels different. Nevertheless, I will keep making both because some things just work better on paper or canvas.
There is a benefit on having 2-dimensional 'recording' media; it is easier to get more events, ideas or feelings in your house by choosing a less space demanding form. Sculptures just take in more room.

Oh, by the way, I have changed the domain of my website into www.drfreakinstyle.com. The old address will stay available for now and I still need to change all the addresses on all my social media…...