Friday, July 29, 2011

When I grow up...

I'm only an hour old here but when I grow up I'm going to become a life sized Friesian foal! .. stay tuned to watch some welding action! (Ok, so seriously though, that's all I'm sharing for now.. this project is going to obviously take a little longer) :)

Adding on b/c I just checked my mail and see that the NSS member gallery from yesterday's post is now up - these are the images I ran with;


Anonymous said...

Is that seriously going to become a life-sized sculpture? Looks really small esp. compared to that tool. Good luck though and I can't wait to see how it comes along.

Morgen said...

Hi and yes, I am serious about that. I've jumped right into life sized animals before myself but the proper way to do it is to make a small maquette to scale and then use these to create a more accurately scaled enlargement.

I'm kinda rushing my answer here but one term you could look up is "pointing". Or Renaissance enlarging machines I think might be a term? In any case, it's best to have a mock up before you waste hundreds and hundreds of dollars of materials (in my case - often with real life works it's more like thousands of dollars of steel and clay to form your work). :)

Hope my rushing didn't make that too unclear? :D

Morgen said...

PS - it's pretty likely I'll be using the "by hand" measurement method of getting my scales right. Verses going to a company down the road here that could do it in a day for me in the same kind of accuracy I've gotten in shrinking my sculptures digitally in the past... for a much bigger price tho! ;) I need the math refresher anyhow.. (at least to warm up a calculator). :D

Anonymous said...

So you are going to make a small copy to get a 'feel' for the sculpture and determine how you want it to look before resculpting the whole thing bigger? Or did I misinterpret the whole thing and you will just make the mini sculpture then digitally enlarge it? Also, I don't know if this is some big secret projecct, but what are you going to do with a life-sized foal sculpture?

Morgen said...

I think the fundamental aspect here of ‘why’ I'd want to do a life sized work is best answered most directly with explaining that my final aims very often aren’t monetary.... here (even if they were) the cost investment is high, yes! But as an artist sometimes I need to do something different from what I’ve been doing. And truly I like working on large works (large canvas paintings or sculptures the bigger it gets the more excited I’ve gotten about doing them!). I’ve had to chuck them sometimes too – paintings and sculptures – bigger gets damaged easier!!! See that bit below if you want to read more about what I’m hoping to do here…! :D

So ok.. well these plans are fun things to talk about & I feel bad about not answering in my flippant & oh so random post yesterday! (So sorry! Didn’t think it would be that mysterious or interesting to be honest!). So here’s a majorly long answer that’s almost a whole nother post.. ;)

Yes, I might do something eventually like sell this guy as is (4 inches tall) as copies too in resin, china or bronze or something when I’m done – depending on how much I wish to finish it though! :) BUT, as a breed that mostly comes in black I honestly haven’t thought too much about making a Friesian for resin collectors as the painting possibilities are pretty limited and thus I’d want to have a wicked limited edition (like 5 – hahaha!). :) That’s always an option though when doing a life sized work. You can look up what’s going on with the Barbaro sculptures that Alexis King (hope I got that right?) did? The maquettes became bronzes and cold cast resins (my same caster Mountain View Studios did the resins!). That’s rather common for the model to get sold as well (and these are sales that can help recoup some of the costs in making a monument – or pay for the unveiling party at least!). ;)

So seriously again, to answer you question; no more though than just “feel” of it, a small model or maquette for a larger work is a really good idea to make first (no matter how you enlarge) so it can be used for measuring and recreating the larger work (horse, lion, person whatever), as well as referring to when looking at the larger work & trying to figure out if something is going astray Sometimes it’s done for client approval too.

No matter how you enlarge too some sort of smaller 3D model needs to be worked out to see if it “feels” the same all around – yes – but also too for being sure of things like stability (a horse is caught mid-air but might be a bear to recreate with the imagined supports an artist envisions?). And also just for the more basic shape to be worked out in the lightweight wire. A welding frame of an animal or heavier sculpture on supporting limbs is extremely hard to adjust. So being really certain of the pose by working in clays first (hardening clays or permanently soft clay) is ideal. I’ve started large works and had to strip them down and (I was working with a wooden frame) cut and redo on just a life sized head because I’d misgauged the width by eyeballing it. “Measure twice and cut once” really applied with the bigger stuff. I like steel rebar over wood in the size I’m thinking of. It’s nearly the same weight and coating it after welding prevents rust in the long term so the piece can be displayed for a very long time.

In reduction work (cutting away wood or stone) I do like to go freestyle the most – buuuut that hasn’t always worked out for me I have to confess! I’ve done some stone carving that was abstract only and still you lose a chunk and it’s time to re-evaluate your work. (more... this was a long answer!)

Morgen said...

And don’t get me wrong – I’m not a purist sadist! :D I TOOOOOTALLY wouldn’t LOVE to be using the technology route to enlarge either… it’s just that the cost to enlarge is around a thousand dollars for the digital scanning (maybe less for a smaller foal – but thereabouts) and then CNC production of the enlarged sculpture in foam (to which clay is added & then it’s cast in something like fiberglass or bronze) is pretty costly too. So for me those can wait until I have a project with a real deadline/bigger budget overall. In the end even casting something this size (even in fiberglass) is a very significant expense (rubber and such are just costly – period and every media needs rubber to start out the casting process unless I sculpt in wax) – so I’ve settled on a permanent media for a unique work to be displayed. If someone wants a copy the quotes/orders are easy enough from there. It won’t be for sale most likely.

I thought of carving out of wood to be honest but I like the clay materials better in the end – very likely I’ll use apoxie sculpt (they sell in 5 gallon amounts) which is what some other monument sculptors have used too (over an armature and a lighter filler – not solid through and through as the cost would be thousands there too – and the weight would get brutal!). Wood might be lighter and somewhat cheaper – although extremely tricky to work out the grain for thin spindly horse legs! In the end clays work just sooo much faster for me and I have to make good use of my time and work affordably too. But it was a tough call, truly!

I will bring the big guy to shows when I’m done, these shows being bigger events (think like a booth at events closer to the size of WEG or EquineAffairs) with trade show booths. I am probably going to do a booth at a local Steeplechase or two here in the mid-Atlantic region next spring/fall and then in the arena of the Kentucky Horse Park during Breyerfest next summer and we will see about other events that come up. There are a lot of statewide “Arts” trade shows but I’m going to investigate these further. Not just cost but the time spent at all these events keeps me from the studio too! :) Anyhow, the bottom line is that I’d really like to have him done over the winter to bring him to these sorts of events. And this time I’d like to have works of various sizes to show for myself.

Granted I don’t have plans to make a menagerie of life sized works… just a few in the coming years to maybe be booth mascots! (continued more!!!)

Morgen said...

(and this is hte last of it!) ;)

All of the larger works I did in college I threw out or gave away to be honest. I’ve had all of my fiancĂ©’s welding materials available to me these past few years but it’s been something I just realized I need to find a way to do that’s under $5000 (which is about the cap of my budget over the coming years to do this – I actually hope to keep it really cheap at around a thousand dollars overall in materials). In theory I can keep it a lot less if I work carefully and measure well. If someone wanted it in 6 months however it could easily be done with technology too of course – at a cost. But it’s very common technology now at least!

In the end I hope I like him a lot as he’ll be ‘ours’ – even if I produce in bronze I’d still keep the original construction material original version of him around afterwards. I will probably finish him to be weatherproofed but I’d prefer to keep indoors… the humidity here being what it is!

About 15 years back one large abstract piece in waxed plaster I did was supposedly sealed enough to be weatherproofed –per the instructor but of course over time it got the smallest ding from being moved (reinstalled in later homes when that family member moved) and then rust and time took over and it crumbled. This is why we give or throw away some things eh?!!! :)

Also I threw away a carousel horse I’d been sculpting on in some filler material around 7 years ago because it had started to crack & crumbled in spots. Soooi when I moved from that home he went over to the dumpster (and my friends were upset but not upset enough to take a flaky horse home with them! Hahaha!). Actually I think I he did get snatched up though – or else he wandered off. He didn’t fit inside so they leaned him outside of it. & Like that I know this guy will take up space of course too but I’m hoping to use a more solid armature and build stronger. If it stays with me I can repair too. I own hand trucks now… that’s important! ;)

My fiancĂ© has welded up some junk sculptures which live on his father’s property in Connecticut now. I guess we’ve both left a small wake of larger works behind us!

Wooo! Wrote a novel here! Sorry! Oops :D but hope that answers all the possible questions about my latest work here? (hope it was interesting babble at least - I get soooo chatty just before I crash at night) ;)

Celeste said...

Morgen, I think that is just the coolest and I love all your explanations, too. With the skill and talent you bring to sculpting in the smaller scale for our hobby, I can just picture how awesome this guy will be life size - wheeeee - cutie!!! Its great that you are going to explore your creativity and have some fun with it, too - an artist has to do that or go completely stale, in my opinion. Oh, and I love the page on the NSS - very cool and Hazel looks so awesome in that photo - very dynamic. :)

Morgen said...

Well (mortified now that I'm drinking my coffee & rereading all that & confusing word mistakes & all)... Thank you Celeste!! I'm glad someone waded through all that babble!!

Yes, it is very exciting to me but not something in the "for sale soon" category really. Just art for the exercise (sheer joy!) of it. :D It is important too of course to show I can work in larger scales - that's a 3rd reason really why I'm measuring up the slow way here! Unless of course someone is interested in the final 3-4ft tall bronze foal of course and then of course the time line could be sped up easily enough. But even just as a mascot for me - I'm still pretty eager to get going here! :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining. The whole process seems really fascinating, esp. working with the full-sized armature. I hope you will continue to post updates as you work on him and I would love seeing him as a mascot at B-Fest.

Morgen said...

No problem! :) I just was hoping not to bore everyone to death! :D The welding up will be something... I can do it. I wish I could skip that step though! HA! :D Maybe I can get my fiance to hold the shorter sections while I hold the torch. I don't fear fire but I don't like the flame that close to my hand - gloves or no! (I could always replace him with a good clamp set up too I guess if he's not game for humoring me). ;)

Laura Sokol said...

Thank you so much for sharing that Morgan! It's such a fascinating process... I hope that you post "in progress" updates regularly about his creation!! I would love to see him start out from rebarr and become a freisan foal!!

As for the mini guy... I really have no concept of how much money an artist actually makes off of their resins after you figure out the production costs, so please ignore me if this won't work... but what about selling an open edition (like Mango) for a month of the freisan in resin to pay for the production of the big boy? I for one will buy one!! And I honestly don't care that freisans only come in black... in fact, you could produce them in black resin for people! And there are so many beautiful freisan cross foals in any color... *hint*hint*wink*wink* I think this little guy has attitude! I know he would sell well... but again, I have no idea what an artist actually "makes" from their sales, so I totally understand if this isn't feasable...

Morgen said...

Laura I swear to you that the idea of black resin for him never even crossed my mind! lol!... one

Morgen said...

that's not such a bad idea to be honest either.

I was only thinking of so limited because I was thinking of just producing him myself. It would be solid and there's also a pretty slim profit margin on foals. I was laughing because antoher resin artist who's done a lot of foals was really surprised to learn how much the costs have gone up (but resin & silicon rubber have gone up a lot).

Good thoughts all! Sorry to lose half of this before!!