Three dilemmas

With the latest flat complete (and up on Putty and Paint over here), I don’t really have much of an excuse to not work on Lady Gaga – or do I?

The problem with my Good Ideas, is that nowadays I have one Grand Idea, which gives rise to several Good Ideas. The Grand Idea I’m working on is to recreate artworks as models, which doesn’t seem all that Grand, and certainly not original – I mean, I’m sure we’ve all seen at least two or three versions of Napoleon Crossing the Alps, and at least a couple more of Bonaparte Crossing the Alps, not to mention various Last Suppers, and so on.

However, of late, I’ve been interested in seeing how far away from ‘traditional’ historical entries I can go while still being indisputably historical. The ducks are a good example of this, simply because model shows are awash with military pieces, and civilians and wildlife make up a vanishingly small minority. So, this Grand Idea is to take some less traditional art topics and turn them into models. Lady Gaga is the first of these – the meat dress is a prime example of performance art. Some of the other pieces I’ll be working on are marginally less approachable, I suspect.

So, here’s the lineup so far:

From the left we have: a bull (obviously), Lady Gaga and Vladimir Putin. I’ve already explained Lady Gaga, so on to the others:

The bull will be one of a pair working as a sort of shorthand version of Picasso’s Bull, which depicts a bull in various stages of abstraction. This bull was one of a pair I picked up at SMC last year, and I’ll have to make the second one from scratch. More sculpting, alas, but at least an abstract bull doesn’t need to be particularly refined.

Putin will be a recreation of the apparently banned painting of Putin in drag (I say ‘apparently’ because the legal declaration taken as a ban doesn’t specifically identify the image). I’ll make a few changes to the original simply because some elements won’t really work on a model – tinting all the skin pink would probably just look awful, for instance.

I’d originally intended to do this simply as a greyscale piece with the tints supplied on clear acrylic sheets to make more of a point about censorship (when does the picture become objectionable? If any change at all is objectionable, does the artist have any real freedom?), but the more I thought about it, the more it felt like a gimmick (well, more of a gimmick than making the piece in the first place).

(Note: If anyone hears about a novichok attack in Cambridgeshire, it’s been nice knowing all of you.)

I bought Putin as a 3D print from Shapeways, and the quality is generally excellent. If you look at the full-size image, you should be able to see the printing lines, but they’re pretty minor. I did clean up a few of the more notable ones, but I’m happy to leave the rest and rely on the paint gradually sorting them out. I do have one issue, however: a porous section on top of his head:


That darker area is rougher than the rest of the print and soaks up the paint, so I’ll need to fix that, probably with a thin layer of magicsculpt or milliput.

And finally, Lady Gaga has, in fact, progressed. She now has her booties and jewellery, and the start of her hair:

The hair is currently strips of pewter sheet, which has two advantage for me:

  1. It’s very thin, so I’m less concerned about the hair ending up too bulky.
  2. It’s rigid, so I can add the crimping now.

I’ll sculpt over this as thin as I can to build out the rest, fill in the gaps and add a little motion to it. This, of course, means that Lady Gaga is very nearly ready for paint – huzzah!

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