Check out my Making Of video for my Deadmau5 Cheese Head project!
So this is from my tumblr about page (which has yet to be linked on this page at all), and it’s pretty much verbatim. But after browsing through the portfolio of a friend of mine in Tennessee that also does prop building, I recalled the text I wrote for my about page, and it’s very important to me so I figured I’d make it a post in and of itself. So I present to you my general thoughts on the artistic qualities of my work in prop building. Get your reading glasses out:
I am a professional graphic designer by day, villainous prop builder by night. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Studio from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where my primary foci were printmaking and illustration. Outside of my formal education, I developed a love of prop building and costume making, and I consider my continuing self-education of those subjects to equal the intensity of my formal education. It is my goal with each project to learn something new, either a new process, or something about myself as an artist. With that new knowledge or experience comes new opportunities for future projects I might not have imagined possible in the past, and having those new opportunities available is how I thrive as an artist. As much as making art is a creative outlet for me, it’s always a learning experience. I firmly believe that education does not end at graduation and that continuing to learn new things is a driving force behind developing a sound mind and rich soul.
As far as my preferred subject matter goes, my interests waver quickly and regularly so it’s difficult for me to hunker down and develop a singular and distinctive body of work. As a result, you will see my subject matter, style, and methods all over the place. I like to experiment, as as I said before, I try to learn something new with each project. I find that aspect of my personality to be an indicator that I’m still very much an undisciplined artist. For the moment, though, I rather like it that way. It allows me to maintain a certain vigor in my work that might otherwise be lost to repetition and monotony. There’s certainly something to be said about repetition, but repetition leads people to expect certain things of you, and such expectation can be such a limiting and hostile environment for an artist.
There is certainly a common thread among my work, however, and it’s something that is deeply personal to me and the reason why I do all this stuff. Developing into an artist in an Art School environment allows me to look at this hobby in a light that others might not, and it allows me to analyze my work in a way that I can derive true, heart-felt meaning from it. As a prop and costume builder in particular, I love going the extra mile. “The Devil’s in the details,” but the details are where costumes can really shine. A vast majority of people will never see costumes as anything more than “what you wear on Halloween,” and to wear a costume on any other day will typically feed their lust for mockery and laughter. However, if you really go all-out on a costume, transforming it from just a representation of a character into the character itself, it tends to have a different impact on people.
I believe that if you are presenting onlookers with a genuine character, ripped right out of the media they grew up with or currently enjoy, it can significantly alter their perception of reality and blur the line between their relatively humdrum “real world” lives and their more exciting, yet secret imaginative lives. I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve engaged in it. There’s a wonderful magic that happens when a would-be galker is turned into a giddy, speechless 5-year old by being able to see, touch, and interact with a character that is all of a sudden real for them. So for me, it’s not enough to be a guy in a costume. My work has to absolutely embody the character is represents. And the same goes for my props: I don’t merely seek to accent a costume with a fun toy, rather I try to create an artifact that provides additional context for the character. That suspension of disbelief, even if only held in the mind for a few moments, can really have a wonderful impact on people. Everyone wishes they could be a kid again, so I’m just doing my part to help make that happen.
So I’m still trying to figure out if I can use tumblr. Not in a technical sense, but in a logistical sense. I hate blogging. I hate it. It’s not really a dislike of the medium, but rather I’m just not any good at keeping up with it. I’d much rather be building props or doing research for future projects, or something more productive. But we’ll see.
I’m trying to build my personal portfolio website. It’s 90% there, but there’s just so much front-end work that needs to be done before I can launch it, and unless I’m motivated to actually carve out some time out of my week to work on it, I find it a very daunting process, and again, I fall behind on it. But it is almost done, so I’m trying to find a way that I can utilize tumblr with it in some manner. I may just end up using it to post updates to the site, and I’d be fine with that. But I may get on here and rant from time to time too. Who knows.