At first I found the idea of running a workshop to be a daunting, yet once I had an idea, keeping it simple and fun I sourced my material and got stuck into what turned out to be a very rewarding weekend. Seeing children of all ages responding to the installation as the made their own cardboard facades of all abilities take shape. I’m now open to putting together more in the future.
A day later than I expected to share my studio update, deciding to spend time with my family instead. I have however made a lot of progress though with my latest model miniature. The main element that I wanted to complete was the balustrades on the balcony and stairs. Which went better than expected. It was hard at times, working with such a confined model, which I am starting to regret that now. Still its taking shape and I let those four boxes I placed determine the scale and I have to accept that.
With the balustrades complete I turned to starting the furniture which I will again have to keep loose due to the confined space I’m working in. Due to the design of the set – being Japanese I have made the majority of one wall is fixed together on one piece of card, a doorway, a cabinet and 3 long rows of shelves.
Lastly I noticed during the days working whilst looking through my screenshots, that I had missed a dimension of the model miniature. What I thought was just a more confined area alongside the doorway. In short I need to make a minor extension to one side to allow seats to be installed. I’ve already drawn up where I want to cut into. I’m only adding another section to where it’s needed, I wont be altering the upstairs. It will however changed the exterior of the piece which will be reinforced with what it fast becoming a signature look of these models.
Can’t find earlier posts? You can find everything over here on the Work in progress page
It’s been a testing day in the studio today. I think its down to the scale of the model miniature now under construction. It’s a very confined and built up piece around the edges. With stairs at the front which is never a good thing to have. Usually my stairs are either are set against making it easier to work with them. Today I’ve had to add the other rail which is on the inside the rail. Both sides have proved to be hard to produce. It’s all down to the angling and height of the stairs.
Moving on from the stairs I focused on the balcony, which I have fleshed out today, making the raised floor appear to be stronger. Whilst also adding the bare structure of the rails in-place, I’ll be adding the posts made from balsa next time. Then down below I can make a start on the other details, there’s a lot of shelving and box tables to make, which will probably take shape later this month or October currently.
I can now share with you the footage I shot at the weekend. You can see how much I want and do explore the first test, there’s more going on and it shows in what I have to work with.
I could easily leave this model miniature in its present state, and not positioning it at an angle. I need to see if its possible to achieve first.
It’s be another busy day in the studio, starting with two tests which I feel have brought a nice close to that model miniature. Taking the frames I made yesterday and temporarily fixing them to the model miniature. Firstly the two tests which I did in reverse order, the larger then smaller frame. I knew that as soon as I fixed the larger one in place it created a presence in the space that draws in the audience to look and explore the work. Posting my progress today on Instagram, a term was suggested – video diorama that really does fit this work in it’s present form. I could apply this same method to the other piece I’ve finished, even returning to the smaller model – something I’ll have to decide later.
The smaller frame was really disappointing after such a reaction from the larger frame. It just did very little except to create some interest and neatens up that side of the work. There’s no draw to the work with frame. All I can say is that it allowed me to get to where I am now with the work. I am still thinking about the angled based to raise it around 30-45 degrees. I can use the central base support as a starting point.
Moving back up-to the studio I made a really good start to the latest model miniature which I was concerned about for a time, using 1ply cardboard instead of 2ply which I’m used it. Thanks to the 4 boxes that I grouped together last time it has really weighed it down, making it much stronger and heavier. I also used the cardboard strips to hold the walls together. I spent most of my time working on the stairs leading to the balcony, which I made flush with another piece of card before finishing for the day. I will add the trim around the top before completing the balcony all away around. I just need to consider that this will have a completely different design – being Japanese. I must admit I am very excited to attempt making a ceiling light which I would like to suspend somehow. A detail I will leave until later on.
I’ll be sharing video documentation later on in the week.
This work is turning into a really interesting one that is ever evolving and I am letting it do just that. I began today making preparations for more tests with The Hateful 8 model miniature which I am excited to see in action. Making two frames which reach the length of the opening on the model. The first smaller piece reminded me of a frame I made in art-school for a series of Photographic sketches which allowed me to capture and frame quick set-ups with my models in the studio. The second frame makes use of almost a whole sheet of cardboard, with an opening in the card for the frame. The aim is to see how it can block off the model miniature from above to direct the viewers attention to the view finder. If either are successful I would have to permanently fix them to the piece. However I am still being won over by other test where I projected directly into it whilst on it’s side. I am also considering constructing a triangular piece that would sit under the model to position it at angle to change things even more.
Moving onto my third model miniature of this work has already started to take shape. This time letting 4 boxes I took home from a previous job have come in very useful. I remember having my eye on them in the office, wanting to take them home once they became free. I knew there was some potential for them in some shape or form. I took 4 to my workbench/desk to work with, letting them determine the size of what I was about to start. It’s something I’ve never done before, let a box determine the direction of the work. I’ve adapted certain pieces before, yet not this loosely. After sealing them and fixing them in place I cover gum taped sections before covering over two sides, which I believe will be in view when the model miniature is completed. Lastly I added some steps to the raised floor before I ended the day.
It’s been a very satisfying day, with quick tests to coming next time I will then continue with my new model miniature. had the start of a very angular Japanese model underway.
I’ve had a really successful day, all the build-up has not been for nothing. With my latest test video and model miniature ready to bring together. Setting up was pretty easy, now I know what is required and having the cut-away I was ready to get testing. I had to remember early on to slightly angle from above the video into the model than just directly in. This allows for a smoother entry into the model miniature. I knew the coverage wasn’t going to be full with this method, I had to position the projector into the far corner to make the best of it. Having a letter box aesthetic which I have only just realised. I could build a view finder to enhance this idea and test again.
The next test was far more satisfying, even if it looks like a few steps back in terms of progression. When the model miniature was place on it’s side, I had to re-position the projector and the tripod. It fitted naturally in between the beams, which I took full advantage of. This didn’t have the same feel of just being a mini outdoor cinema, projecting into a confined space at an angle is really interesting to look at. It’s an unexpected result from today’s tests. The potential to be explored by the viewer is increase. Not only do they have to encounter the footage, the imagery its the presentation that allows you to get in closer to it, to really move the body around to see what the model is. It forces you to interact. Now is this what I want? It does draw in the viewer which is always a plus. I’m also thinking about the presentation of the other models. I will have to adapt the projector to the model, not the other way around. Admittedly this one has been designed that way, but can be rectified once I decide how to present this piece.
As I reflect and wrap things up for the day I am considering testing a few more ideas out for this one next time, such as increasing the height/angle – the letterbox idea. If I go ahead the second of today’s tests that I would have to seal off the corner, which is a few more weeks work. To round off the day I have shared below a refined video of the days tests to view.
By the time this post has been published it will most likely be 3/9/17 – Still the days events will be from yesterday. I began the day wanting to re-enforcing the base of the model miniature. Before I even removed the masking tape that was holding the posts in place when I first fitted them.
That has proved successful allowing me to move forward to the painting which took about an hour to complete. Before I even started it was mentioned to me by another artist in the studio on the current position of the work – the main body was sitting on it’s side, it was interesting for them. This stayed with me, I was intrigued to see how I could work this into what I was doing.
With the painting complete I decided to start documentation for the day when that thought had to be satisfied. With only the false walls fixed in place I thought about fixing all the furniture in place, allowing me to have one complete object. Placed on one of my cardboard tables I can now project he test video through either the corner I have cut away or directly into it from above – whilst on it’s side.
This gives me scope to see how two possible tests could go, I’ll project as I had intended (through the corner) and take it from there. Whilst also seeing how I could manipulate from above.
I also made a start on the researching the Japanese model for the sword fight in Yurusarezaru mono (2013). As I suspected it will be pretty angular, I have decided already where to cut into the piece. Whilst also having a ceiling and working on a suspended light which hangs from the ceiling, a lamp that is squashed square box that is hung from the ceiling. I am also thinking about using paper maybe for some parts. It’s early days so far. I’m hoping to make a start next weekend at the earliest with this one.
I have mixed feelings about I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016), Again I came to this having read a short interview with Christopher Lloyd and the trailer for the film which really was selling me a very different film. Like anything you’re sold, you want to believe the advert or promotion portrays a positive and accurate spin on what you have bought into. Which was a disturbed teenager who sees a few murders and becomes fascinated by them, and becomes inspired to follow in the serial killers footsteps, were we seeing his victims as the trailer progressed. I was miss-sold this film. Even the small role that Lloyd was supposed to be playing.
Moving on from my initial complaint I need to lay down a few points as to what I received in the full film. I came to this film bringing my thoughts from having recently revisited Shadow of a Doubt (1943) which I can only draw minor comparisons too. Looking at the dark conversations between our disturbed teenager John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records) and Max (Raymond Brandstrom). (I’m wondering if the lead characters names inspired by the serial killer John Wayne Gacy) There was a relationship based on the dark murderous content of their conversations. Reminiscent of father Joseph Newton (Henry Travers) and his neighbour Herbie Hawkins (Hume Cronyn) which begins as playful, a way to unwind and let the imagination run wild, Which disturbs Josephs daughter Charlie (Teresa Wright) whose very concerned about her Uncle Charlie’s (Joseph Cotten) motives for staying with them. That dynamic is not really developed further than a few scenes at the start of the film. Probably to tell us that John has serial killer tendencies trying to lead a normal teenage life, that’s against the backdrop of all the murders.
The Hitchcock connections don’t stop there, from the trailer we could be looking at a Norman Bates type, the quiet boy next door who doesn’t get out much. Yet this one does, spending his free time helping his mother April (Laura Fraser) at the funeral home. An early joke about the home not going out of business anytime soon, two bodies in a week. We are however allowed to see the start of the embalming process, with a focus on the blood-letting process, it’s not properly explained but filmed with a fascination that stays with you – there’s a small positive to take away from the film. It’s the first time we are given no real explanation of whats going on – that’s the main fault of this film.
Moving away from the master of suspense to look at the John himself, we’re told he has all the makings of a serial killer, so already we are looking to him to potentially kill someone, he likes to hang around with his mum at the family business. His social skills are limited to alienating bullies who find him to be an outsider who they spend very little time on. I see a young man who is deeply troubled yet fascinated with death and human anatomy. Spending so much time with the dead has a turned him into an anti-social loner who is trying to function among his peers. Being presented with a possible future that he’s trying to prevent. Yet the events of the present could easily mold him into a different more dangerous person complete with murderous tendencies which are simmering on the surface.
The murders at first are mysterious, the victims arrive at the funeral home, usually already open and a few organs missing, soon its arms too. John’s fascinated by the freshly delivered corpses, wanting to explore them in more detail. The closest he gets a first to the killer, to understand his methods, exploring them like a child would their food, in short he’s a disturbed guy. However we learn far too early on who the serial killer is – it’s the old guy living across the street – Mr Crowley, but that still doesn’t explain the black oily gloop that can be found at the scenes of the killings. If only we could wait a little longer to discover the killer. It’s the curiosity of John the drives him to keep looking, spotting odd behaviour and following him from a distance to what is grisly end in the snow. Taking us out of straight forward crime thriller into I don;t know what – supernatural bizarre maybe. The killing is over in a flash, like a poorly shot YouTube video, I couldn’t believe my eyes
We go into a the second half of the film to a game of innocent chasing the guilty, trying to catch him out and get him arrested, it’s not as easy as he hopes it would be. A could be killer following a killer in action. The danger of finding and understanding him is too much to pass-up, just as he wants to control and prevent that future happening to himself. It’s like a Luke Skywalker constantly being tempted by Palpatine to join the dark side, yet his humanity and the lighter side of the force sees him resist the temptation.
Admittedly there are moments of real dread, from the imagined death that’s described to John lashing out at his mum. However it’s when he almost crosses the line from his potential to certain future, trying to understand the psychology of a serial killer he tests a theory out that forces emotions that could see him enter a darker part of his life. For a few moments such as this we are given some real thrills, its too far and between to really make it worthwhile. The deaths and danger gets closer to home, then we reach the really weird ending which at first is shocking, we see John taking control, clear headed as we’ve ever seen him. He’s saved his mum but at the cost of revealing the killer and what is actually going on. I’m left scratching my head, wondering what the hell just happened. The final images stay with you, but given no real explanation for them, which is frustrating beyond the fact that the beast inside Crowley has been harvesting organs because he is dying. Nothing more is given, the loose ends aren’t tied up, we’re left with more questions and leaving us with The Spirit in the Sky to play out the film.
There’s some potential in the film, as much as there is for John to go either side of being a serial killer, exploring a future that’s being played out before him. It’s pure temptation, it’s just a shame we see little of that after the reveal, going into hunting him down, trying to understand him, which we don’t get to. It’s frustrating really and little time is given to explore other characters and how they are affected by the murders. I wish more time was given to his friendship with Max which is just 4 short scenes, his only link to the real world – or normality. It’s dark at times, and very flawed trying to be more than it is with so much there to work with. I have to admit that the cast of Lloyd in the villianous role is something I have forgotten he does so well. He’ll be forever associated with Doc Emmett Brown, however he has before and since played the weird and wonderful and the bad-guy so well so long. His height and face have allowed him to to produce some memorable roles, I can safely say this role can be added to the list, its the film that lets him down.