Thank you for choosing to take the time to read my story as a Creator. To provide you with some background information, I am an 18-year-old artist who lives in Melbourne, Australia, and this is my first full-body, monster sculpture. The associated YouTube photo-progression video has been submitted and accepted for the International "Future Generation Art Prize 2020."
Before I get into the inspirations and story of this sculpture, I thought it would be useful to provide you as a reader with the list of the relatively cheap, common household materials used to create this sculpture…
Paper mache (newspaper, PVA glue & water); masking tape; ducting-tape; air-dry clay; aluminium foil; fur fabric; glow-in-the-dark glass taxidermy eyes; steel clothes hangers; acrylic paint (including metallic, colour-shift and glow-in-the-dark); chicken wire (used for neck); old bedsheets (applied via PVA glue); steel frame (with cable ties attached to limbs); and a minor quantity of clear epoxy resin to mimic mouth saliva.
This “Chupacabra – Gargoyle Hybrid” sculpture had two key inspirations – as you may guess, it was a gargoyle figurine and a chupacabra clay sculpture. Subconsciously, I think I mixed the features I gravitated towards the most or found the most interesting, combining them to effectively form a hybrid. The grey colouring represents the gargoyle influence as they are traditionally made of stone, whilst the purple colouring was me using my creativity to represent the chupacabra or what I would generalise as a monster. The general split-colour scheme throughout the body symbolises this hybrid theme; half the torso being black with metallic, gold streaks and the other half being purple with metallic, silver streaks with matching metallic colours for the spikes on top near the shoulders. The left and right wings contain the same colours but in a reversed scheme which also matches the mini-wings on the front limbs. The wing colours were also chosen to match the base colour of the side of the torso (e.g. the left purple half contains wings with purple structures, and the right is black with black structured wings, with the opposite colours true for the skin between the wing structures/tendons). The reason I chose green for the protruding ribs was to represent toxicity. I added a top-coat of colour-shift paint to the purple bumps on the shoulder to give a shimmering appearance, like gems. Personally I intuited that it complemented the dense "feel" of the stone-grey shoulders. Retrospectively, upon observation the internally rotated shoulders/placement of the arms resemble the gargoyle influence; however, the rest of the body behind the shoulders were deliberately inspired from the chupacabra clay sculpture. I also kept a dragon figurine on my work desk, which most likely inspired me to choose the three-digit limbs and the addition of mini-wings on the front limbs.
It was a five month long journey of consistent work and planning to finalise this 4ft long sculpture. The underpinning objective was to challenge myself at the edge of my abilities via size, the demand of focus for executing on realistic body parts and the imagination involved in synthesising/originating the monster! Undertaking this project was arduous to say the least; however, it was so thrilling and exciting simultaneously to watch it manifest and improve overtime with every new implement and idea! What I perceive was most effective was a combination of recording doable ideas on a Word document, broken up into subheadings for different body sections or parts, whilst allowing for sufficient time to refine or branch out those ideas – including the process of typing these ideas out to re-visit and edit them later. Thereafter, as my project vision and ideas were maturing, I could start to utilise visual planning and visual examples. I then placed these examples in areas I was likely to glance or gaze at to provide my subconscious mind a framework to branch out creative ideas; in-effect serving as the central concept to branch out ideas – a "thought mind-map," if you will. The strategy was to simplify a complex idea by drawing a design and annotating either a sketched version or a modified image as a blueprint either by hand or digitally. I went about this by sketching additional features on top of key inspirations I had printed out and adding colours to simulate what it could look like in accordance with my vision. This served as a great process for boosting the odds of achieving an intricate, complex and unique sculpture, whilst advantageously cultivating a greater foresight of the potential outcome. In addition to this, as a passive strategy following or being updated online via social media with imagery of art in your niche is extremely useful to fill your mind with ideas and possibilities. This process may also serve to be a methodology for gathering potential ideas from commented suggestions. This is personally how I decided to apply the glow-in-the-dark paint to my monster sculpture.
To me art is all about trial and error; there is no right or wrong with art, and there are numerous ways to achieve a favourable outcome. In this regard, trial and error is positive as it allows for seeing different paths to move a project forward – it is all about perspective! I hope this story encourages artists to be free and independent thinkers.