A day after being in the studio I can happily say the brushes are out again which is always a good sign, it means I’m moving towards another test soon. I began the day by adding the last of the detail to the ceiling light, which brought together the overall look of the piece.
Moving onto the sliding doors which just weren’t sitting right for me. With the false blind/wall directly opposite and a beam running over the top ending over the sliding doors, which before the changes was running directly into the doors which doesn’t really work or look good either. I simply cut off the top pieces and added the detail further down, ending by fixing the door in place.
With those pieces done I thought about what else I could do, I knew painting would be the next step, cracking open my tin of primer I made a start to the larger more open surfaces before applying a watered down coat of acrylic to the smaller pieces, whilst I also had to replace a few pieces on the rails I can safely say I am into the painting which hopefully should be complete by the end of the month.
I’ve really had a good day in the studio. Although I might not have done much it feels like I have. It’s been a day to complete all the furniture which I feel I have achieved.
I began the day by looking at the stairs which I am very happy with. I noticed that a table is at the front of the stairs. Meaning that I had to cut into the stairs which I then butted again. Before I added a table which is just a bit taller than the raised floor.
I then moved onto the furniture in the extension which I had been missing, making an end to the furniture that I needed to make. They are a complete set of raised benches and tables which are missing on the raised floor where people would be sitting on the floor to eat/drink. I also have my first ladder to complete the model miniature.
Looking to the back model miniature I was concerned about making another extension, which would put the first one at risk. Thinking more about it and looking at the screenshots again, I decided to extend the raised floor to touch the back wall instead. Taking another of the boxes and cutting to size, covering two pieces of cardboard on top to make it flush again.
Over the past month or so I have once again challenged myself, letting the boxes I have guide the work, even if its made making slightly more complicated, the tight space to work in, I have preserved with it, which I’m really proud about. I have been able to add an extension, before having a creative solution for another extension. Moving on I am looking at making a suspended light piece which maybe a little too much for the piece. Then I’ll move onto the balsa detail before I start to paint.
I’ve finally had a full and satisfying day after my return from New Mills. Again I have achieved all I set out to do today in the studio. First wanting to finally complete the extension that I needed to add to allow a few tables on the right hand side. I am already thinking that another extensions needed at the rear too, something I really don’t want to do as they are difficult to add smoothly as I have found, especially with the design of this model miniature that is so small and confined.
Moving on I have made strong start on the furniture now. The raised floor is now completely populated with quickly made simply design pieces which required a few alterations before I was satisfied. Finishing the day by making my first ladder, a balsa piece that was far easier to make that I thought. Looking back I think the rungs should be angled, but that’s a small detail when it will be projected onto.
Next time I will be adding the furniture in the extension, before I add more balsa detail. I am still considering adding another extension – not ideal but maybe necessary. They’ll be a few other pieces to make before I make the most challenging piece of all – a suspended light, which maybe a detail too far and could be lost when it comes to looking at presentation.
I can’t remember the last time I spent some real time with this work which I’ve been working loosely with since the summer. Today I’ve spent some good time in the studio playing with my lights and projector, directing them onto the white models I made in the summer. I’ve finally been able to do what I set out to all those months ago. It was rather satisfying to see these ideas take form, if they worked or didn’t was another thing, to actually follow through on a thought that had been there for a long time means I’m happier for it.
So it was all about colour to begin win, wanting to shine block colour, taking the phrase almost literally – painting the town red – with light. I found that the red was coming out more pink, turning to less obvious colours such as green and blue, before finishing with orange. Photographically the results aren’t the best. I found myself returning to earlier work, which is not where I want to be heading, I need to move away from the literal yet atmospheric.
Moving onto another idea I had was to project video onto these essentially blank canvases which meant getting the projector out and finding clips of Westerns I have, seeing what work. Not really choosing anything in particular I went for the rollerskating scene from Heaven’s Gate (1980) which pushed me to consider how to really use the projector and the model, which with every consecutive scene grew ans grew. With this scene it was more about how can I cove the whole or the majority of the model.
It was nice to see how the image consumed the model, becoming an outdoor cinema, projecting its image against a saloon. The image come up well on the model, it will ultimately vary depending on the model being projected onto. I moved onto a scene from The Searchers (1956) which was more of the same. I went to another scene from the film, this time bringing another model, meaning that the projector had to move back to accommodate them both.
What happened here was that the images took on a status of being bigger, yet still very much part of the same world. When I saw the landscape against the more urban models, this is something I wanted to explore, the background being part of these models in the foreground. Pushing it further with the final gunfight in True Grit (1969) which had wide open spaces to take advantage of.
This particular scene worked more so because of the action, the cinematic presentation of the scene, these gigantic god-like being behind the models. I also moved all four of the models in front of the projector, experimenting with layout, creating shadows, which ultimately don’t really matter as the image is still caught on the models in front, the light becomes sculptural. I carried the god-like status through to the next scene – the family massacre in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) which I was very pleased with, partly down to the close-ups.
For the last set-up I positioned the models into a more conventional street set-up, with a gunfight from A Few Dollars More (1965) which drew me to my final thoughts of the day, linking nicely to the original inspiration of the Marquis in Melton – Street violence, or that of gunfights in the genre. I’d like to see how more models and more gunfight scenes work with this set-up. I still want to see how the cowboy figures work in terms of shadows they produce.
So as you can see I have been very busy and had lots of fun, immersed in the Western. To me this piece is about the violence that is created/depicted in the genre, this is where I maybe leading this piece going forward.
A part of my wanting to attend The Big Weekend at New Mills Festival (2016) was to finally see ADP (The After Dislocation Principle) (2015) by James Cauty whose work I had previously seen, most notably the Riot in a Jam Jar series, self-contained moment from disasters that are populated with miniature figures, both comical and deadly serious, how the hell did these events take place, how did we get to this stage to let them happen. ADP is a natural progression for Cauty who has been touring this new work since it was first shown at Dismaland last year. A containers touring the U.K. allowing the public to view a disaster in a fictional town in Bedfordshire.
We can only view the work via viewing ports, I’m not too sure if they are magnified or simply glass. There are literally too many to count, each one allowing to access to view this disaster zone in miniature. Some are more successful than others at what you can see, allowing you extreme or restricted views of the scene that is all but hidden. I was able to see how the piece was constructed, a series of rotating lights on a timer, moving around like helicopters over the situation below, it would have been even better to one land. With that loss there is still an abundance to see from every view-port. You could literally spend hours with this piece, so much care and attention to detail, nothings missed out, like a moment in time has been captured.
The scale of the work has blown my mind, the sheer scale of it, I hope one day to create something as large and as engaging as this. The devil really is in the detail and the mass of figures as he has brought together every conceivable accident into miniature form
I was tempted to take some photographs, I decided to hold back for a few reasons, the aura of the work was far too precious to take anything away from it. I couldn’t really do the work justice with my camera. Lastly I wanted the images to be imprinted on my memory. I can however share with you publicity stills
You can check out where the tour is heading to next here
Laying the Tracks (2016) is part of a larger body that confronts the American Holocaust through play, utilising the non-pc plastic Cowboy and Indian figures that is loaded with negative a racist connotations, having been played with generations of children who are unaware of the history in their hands.Using these figures and the expanded play-set language a more honest history is played out. Using the colours of the figures to define nations they each play out events loosely based on 19th century history. Laying the Tracks looks at the intrusion of the Iron Horse on the Indian plains of America, Yellow Indians who have moved closer to the now much depleted Buffalo for a summer hunt.
Continuing my exploration of the Western genre of cinema, focusing on the steam train. Combining found footage and model miniatures I have travelled the length of my studio at Two Queens, Leicester, U.K.