More Experimenting

Art Dolls, Uncategorized, Work in Progress

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A cement sculpture that I colored with red acrylic paint. I’ve read in places that there are pigment dyes to color cement with, but I found them to be a bit expensive. I’m not sure if the paint that I used will break down the structure of the cement down the line, but I know that it didn’t hinder the cement curing process. I later added a layer of Bondo car body filler to test out the texture and see how it would perform outdoors. Seems to be fine so far and I love how smooth this stuff sands down. I will be posting more photos of my research as I find out more information!

Trying Out New Things

Art Dolls, Uncategorized, Work in Progress

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I have been on a quest lately to try out stronger, weatherproof materials that I will be able to handle without using special equipment. In this round, I have been playing with cement and mixing it in a metal pot. I put a thin coat over a clay figure that I created for the sake of experimenting. I like the rough texture of it, but I would like to be able to smooth it out a bit more than I already tried to do here. My next material will be stucco as I have been reading good things about it and how it’s a bit easier to work with.

Gearing Up For The New Year!

Publicity, Uncategorized, Work in Progress

I finally decided to get all my ducks in a row and create a press kit!  It’s so much easier to send one of these out than trying to track down of all the pieces such as the resume, bio and samples separately. It took me a while to decide what layout I would go with, but I decided to just keep it simple and clean with lots of white space as in my 4″x 5″ cards. Here’s a few of the pages that I’ve put together for it, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out!

Me and Ignacio’s Installation at boom! Theater Company

Art Dolls, Art Shows

Here’s a few pics from Me and Ignacio’s latest Installation “Melanchromatic”. It was part of boom! theater’s monthly salon show that showcased poets, comedians and boom!’s very first screening of Puzzle People which is a weekly series about two friends who love puzzles more than people. It was an amazing night!

My Finished Piece, “Women’s Troubles”

Art Dolls, Art Shows, Completed Dolls

For those who haven’t seen this piece named “Women’s Troubles” in its entirety on Facebook, Instagram etc., here it is completed. As I may have mentioned before, this piece explores the problems that women face in the workplace and at home. At work, women face issues such as being overlooked for promotions, unequal pay and sexual harassment, while at home they are to assumed to take on all of the domestic duties. Our roles have changed drastically but society still views us as being less than that of our male counterparts, making it very difficult for us to succeed in the workplace.

The Evolution of Feet

Art Shows, Completed Dolls

With this last piece that I’ve worked on for Innuendos, I found myself sculpting a couple of things for the first time. The most challenging out of them all were the eight arms hands down (no pun intended!), but the most unusual out of my first time items were the feet. I never bother too much with sculpting feet on my dolls because I am very anxious to get to all of the other mundane tasks of doll making such as sanding, picking out fabric, the dreadful sewing, hair gluing, etc. I usually just paint some simple shoes on like a ballerina slipper or a sock and get on with it. It came natural to me to create them, I just found it unnecessary to focus on them for my characters, just like ears. (There’s only one Melandolly that I’ve created with ears lol!). This time I felt the need to have actual feet. I wanted to have one foot bare with toes and everything and the other in a high heel. The bare foot is on the domestic housewife side of the piece while the heel is on the career woman half of it. I wanted to play up the “barefoot in the kitchen” phrase and also create the ideal vision of a business woman in heels.

Want to see more? Come see the finished piece at the Andrew Freedman Home at 1125 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10452 from March 6th through April 1st!

The opening is this Friday from 5:30-9:30pm, hope to see you there!

Northside Festival: With a Few Melandollies

Art Dolls, Completed Dolls

I have to say that the Northside Festival was my most challenging event by far! The Artist Chain Reaction  at The Andrew Freedman home was pretty tough being that it was my first time creating a sculpture of almost 4 feet tall, but this time I had to create a few more in less than three weeks for an outdoor event.

One of my biggest challenges was to figure out the best way to build a standing base for my work that was able to withstand wind and the crowds. I’ve never built anything to handle being outside in the elements, so this would be another first for me. I originally thought that wood would work but I needed it to be heavy so that the sculptures wouldn’t tip over from heavy wind or people interacting with them. I immediately thought I should use wooden pallets but realized that they wouldn’t be practical since I didn’t have a car to transport them. I took a few trips to Home Depot to see what I could find instead. I was lucky enough to find 2’x2′ flat wood panels that had the right amount of weight and was easy to load onto a small hand truck. I also found wooden posts there to drill into the panels to create a standing base.

The other thing that I had to worry about was the weather, it rained everyday that week and being that it was a rain or shine event, I still had to deliver. I struggled with the idea of what to do if it rained. I brought some Rain Guard protective coating to water proof the pieces but that wouldn’t do anything to protect the clothing and the hair that I use on my work. I wasn’t sure if there would be a reaction with the coating and the clay that I use so I decided to go without it. I brought clear recycling bags and hoped that I didn’t have to tacky up my work and use them.

The day of the Northside Festival turned out to be just beautiful! It was the first nice, sunny and warm day that we had in over a week and everyone was out to enjoy it. All of the things that I worried about like the base, if I was going to finish my pieces in time, and the weather panned out just fine. None of my pieces fell over and everyone seemed to be enjoying and interacting with my work. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside that day!

5 Day Artist chain reaction Competition @ The Andrew Freedman Home

Art Dolls, Completed Dolls

The Artist Chain Reaction competition was an event where two artists who never worked together before were paired up to create an installation over the course of 5 days. It took place at the lovely Andrew Freedman Home on the Grand Councorse in the Bronx during Armory Week.

I initially saw the open call for this competition about a few weeks beforehand and thought to myself that I would be in over my head if I participated in it. At the time I was working in small scale roughly under 18 inches, so I couldn’t even begin to imagine how my work would translate into anything larger. After reading the open call, I immediately closed the web page and looked for another call that I would be better suited for. A few days later a funny thing happened, I received the open call in my inbox from Jeanine Alferi. At this point I figured this was a sign that I should at least submit my work, so I grabbed the biggest piece that I had at the time, took some great shots of it and wished for the best. About a few days later I received an email from Jeanine notifying me that I was chosen to participate.  I thought “Wow, how awesome is this, I’m so excited. … wait how the hell am I going to pull this off?”

I panicked but quickly began to strategize and it immediately came to me that I needed to use chicken wire and paper mache. I worked with chicken wire for a whole semester in college building project after project with it because of its strength and flexibility. The idea of using paper mache to bulk up the frame was great because it cuts down on the amount of clay that I’d have to use, making it a quicker drying, lightweight and cost efficient sculpture.

After I figured out how to handle creating the body I had to tackle the one thing that I have been avoiding all my life, the sewing machine. Anyone that knows me is well aware of my on going battle that I’ve had with using a sewing machine. I can’t thread them for my life, I usually get my mom to do it for me but she was in the far away land called Brooklyn. I’ve had a few lucky tries in the past where I’d get a few pieces done only to see it snag the material of another piece. This time I was determined and I knew that I didn’t have time to play around, I had to get this done. After taking a good look at the machine to figure out my plan of attack it began to dawn on me. I needed to run the thread through the tension discs in order for the stitch to be tight. This was something I knew but never seemed to master. I went on to YouTube to see exactly how the thread should be ran through it and vuala, that solved everything. I called my mom to tell her I did it all by myself this time :).

After getting the outfit sewn, everything else began to fall into place. I put the hair on which was a wig that I had laying around and I was able to make her stand by manipulating the chicken wire underneath her dress. I made her into a half tree half person. The story behind it came from a recent experience that my partner in the competition had went through. She was recently evicted from her home in the Bronx and she had to move to Brooklyn with her family. She said that every thing that she ever knew and was familiar to her was in the Bronx. So I decided to represent her by making a tree with the roots exposed to show how she was uprooted from her home and surroundings.

Overall it was a wonderful experience and it challenged me to take my work to another level. I just wish that I had more space at home to continue working in this size:)

Joyce is Now Complete

Art Dolls, Completed Dolls

So here’s how Joyce turned out. In the process of creating this doll, I heavily relied on how she was portrayed in the documentary about her. Her character was dressed in blue throughout the whole movie, so I chose to to do the same with the doll. I decided to go with the hair style that the real Joyce had in her photos, the character that portrayed her had too many to choose from. Since she was surrounded by gifts when they found her, I decided to have her hold one to symbolize the gift of life. It’s so unfortunate that her life ended the way that it did, this may be the first of many that I create of or about her.

My First Doll-making Workshop at The Edgar Allan Poe Visitor’s Center

Art Dolls

I had a wonderful time sharing some of my techniques with my dear friends at The Edgar Allan Poe Visitor’s Center in The Bronx. I really enjoyed seeing the creations that everyone came up with. Hopefully I will be able to conduct another workshop like this sometime in the future, I would have a better idea of how to prepare for the second time around!