Please enjoy this story of how I entered an Artist’s Challenge in Hilo Hawai’i at the Wailoa Art Center. The 10X10 Challenge happens every May. The Concept: 10 Artists; 10 specific materials (9 are fixed- see list below, and one is the Artist’s own choice); and 10 square feet of space to construct an installation within.
Read on to see what these materials are and what I did with them. Enjoy………….
Materials I Used in this installation
- Artists Choice: a mannequin without arms
- Connectors: gorilla tape, clear packing tape, masking tape, staples, E6000 clear glue, carpenter’s glue & cornstarch mache’ paste, clear glaze, rope, fishing line, wire.
- Cardboard: from egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, tape roll ends and boxes (mermaid tail , arms and hair framework; octopus legs and body interior, tiny seahorse)
- Used Books: blank pages, text, art and illustrations from 8 used books for paper mache’ (hair framework, head and body covering, arms and tail)
- Moisture Barrier paper: (for octopus)
- Straw: (mermaid hair and for stuffing legs of octopus)
- Tin Cans: Kitty food can lids (for mermaid scales)
- Pottery Shards: found treasure
- Oil Pastels: melted for face/chest paint, used as crayon for shell bra & other accents
- 2x4s: Interior Base of 2 octopus legs
The Story of Story
For many years I have been saving the poptop lids from kitty food cans. I thought they would make great scales and I could build a mermaid one day. Originally the idea was a mural, and even now this is possible with the number of lids remaining.
A year ago I was inspired by this show and when tin cans was revealed to be one of the materials for this year, I was hopeful my dream would be realized. It was! I was given a green light to use just the can lids. I molded the can lids around her legs like scales and secured them with (hidden) gorilla tape and heavy duty clear packing tape.
I decided to use an old mannequin I had kicking around for my “Artist’s Choice”. She had lost her arms sometime back, and her head was always a styrofoam wig head. I made her arms from cardboard paper towel and TP tubes paper mache’d with used book pages. I extended her neck the same way and constructed the framework for her hair very carefully and with the help of gravity, from egg cartons and the mache’d pages from a book about Burning Man called Inspired Madness.
She grew aquatic ears.
A huge card board box I procured at the Pahoa transfer station became the tail which fit nicely over the mannequn’s feet.
Then an artist friend asked: “What is her name?” I dunno I thought, but that would tell me a lot about what to do next.
I had an old coffee table book full of fantastic illustrations, mostly from fairy tales and other books that had been published a hundred years ago. I decided to cover her in these images, kind of like the illustrated man, she would hold all these stories. Maybe she learned them from wandering sailors coming and going from exotic ports. So I decided to name her Story. She has a paper mache’ skin covered in over 20 different illustrations from several books (see list below) and numerous beautiful images taken from a book on textile design. Plus a few photos of marine life. A mermaid keeps her face and bosom like a blushing fairy in order to lure in the sailors.
I achieved this beautiful skin tone by using only the white pages (no print) from an old book of poems by Byron, Keats and Shelley. The texture of this 55 year old paper when made into mache’ was perfect to create the fresco-like surface of her skin.
This was then painted with a slurry made from melting oil pastels in paint thinner and medium. Then her face was drawn in detail with oil pastels. Her hair was finished by glueing golden straw to the stiffened paper mache’ frame.
Her friend the giant octopus was created from 30 minute thick black moisture barrier paper and was built onto a cardboard and 2X4 frame. Suctions on each tenticle were created from TP tubes and egg cartons. (Some tenticles are hidden). He has a tiny captive which he offers to her, a baby seahorse in a bridle, created from cardboard and oil pastels. The pottery shards, half displayed in his tentacle, the other half she carries with her, a recent traesure find, are from a special vase created many years ago by my artist friend Annie Robbins and was subsiquently destroyed by Smudge the cat when he was a rowdy kitten.
There is a new story unfolding here…. Can you tell it? Give it a try.
A List of illustrations I used with story and book titles, artist name and date the artwork was originally published……
Most images I used are from the art book Fantasy, by Brigid Peppin, a collection of historic fantastic illustrations from several wonderful old fairy tales.
From Further Tales of the Arabian Nights, illustrated by Edmund Dulac: The Story of the Magic Horse (1907) ; The Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor – Princess Badoura (1914) , The story of the 3 calendars – The Princess burns the Efrite to death (1914) and from The Sleeper Awakens – a Room of fruits prepared for Abu-l-Hassan (1914) Also by Edmund Dulac, Beauty and the Beast from Sleeping Beauty and other Fairy Tales (1910) .
The Rubaiya’t of Omar Kayya’m , Illustrated by Rene’ Bull, Quatrains VII & LXXII. (1913) Gulliver’s Travels , Illustrated by Arthur Rackham (1909) also snippets from a composite of several short fairy tales (1909) Fairy Tales by Hans Andersen , Illustrated by Harry Clarke: The Shepardess and the Chimney Sweep (1916) and The Wild Swans (1916) also by Clarke, from Faust by JW Von Goethe (1925) and All is Spirit and part of me from The Years at the Spring (1916) The Princess in the Blue Mountain from East of the Sun and West of the Moon Illustrated by Kay Neilsen (1914) and also an illustration of Felicia from In Powder and Crinoline, Old Fairy Tales (1913)
Rudyard Kipling’s illustration to How the Rhinoceros got his skin from Just So Stories.
HJ Ford’s illustration Uraschimataro goes with the turtle to the sea princess from The Pink Fairy Book (1901)
Illustration for Seduction of the Minotaur from Cities of the Interior by Anais Nin (1959)
Images from Myths and Legends of Polynesia – A Tattooed Man and Moikeha Sails out against the wind.