I’m now a step closer to trying out my latest test video, the balsa beams and posts are all in place, I just need to wait for them to fix and I can them paint with the primer and away I go.
I have also been applying the last coat of paint to the loose pieces, which allowed me to complete the beaming of the model miniature. With the False walls in place I could complete the beams, just the one allowing for the 4 posts in the middle of the space to be added. I can’t believe how complex this piece is really, from my minimal aesthetic for gestures I have left the exterior world to test myself on a making level. I think I’ve risen to the challenge and ready to take on more.
Today was all about populating the floor space of Minnie’s haberdashery, which was starting to take shape yesterday. On the list were mainly tables and chairs to be made. First I got to work on the tables, the ones I found last time were adjusted with taller bases. I then moved onto a few of the other more angular tables, I found my making process changing today, with a flatter top before the legs were added. Previously I was sometimes having the legs flush with the top. I feel the free-standing pieces are better though, the designs will be taking onto future model miniature furniture.
I spent a lot of time working on the chairs, I made a start on the tops of four, however I found the construction of the legs to be tricky and cumbersome. Working with single-ply cardboard and the scale of the work the pieces soon became flattened, just from working with them. I had a good design when I finally had a design I was happy with. I am considering a more minimal design to try out next time. Whilst I am also looking at having none at all. Looking at the previous model miniature I made no chairs. However I feel that they may clutter up the space, there will be 21 in the space of a few different designs. Maybe I should plod on and make more if not all of them and see how they look.
I finished the day by making the furnace/boiler which is not my best work, and did take sometime to get it to a place I was happy with. I still need to some work to it before I can happily leave it.
So I have reached a point where some decisions have to be made before I leave the making behind and start to paint the piece. It’s going really fast at this point, I know with painting it will definitely slow down I have more than doubled the loose pieces that need my attention.
Today has marked a turning point in my practice, I am expanding what I can make. Pushing myself to work with interiors has forced me to make the furniture that goes with these settings. They can’t just be bear a shells of a model miniature, they need to be populated with loose pieces which I thought would be a challenge for me, which is why I left them for so long. It’s only due to the material I am working with and the concept in its current position that I am adapting my language to a whole other world of pieces and ultimately expanding what I am capable of.
I began the day by finishing off the pieces that sit against the wall, a few shelves and another tall shelf unit, which I thought was a small wall fixed pieces. Just shows the importance of referring back to your research when your making.
Moving on I made a start on two of the larger pieces – the beds. Something I decided to tackle as they are large pieces which would help determine how much space will be left in the model miniature. Beds being beds, they aren’t exactly angular. I decided to use some brown paper to wrap around a closed box that I made, to create a more believable mattress form with some weight to it. The bed frame took some time to work out. Once I reinforced the legs it could take it’s own weight. Looking at the sides the mattress does look at little high, I may alter that next time I’m working in the studio.
Moving on from the two beds, one double, another single, I turned to pieces I’d been thinking about in terms of construction. I thought that the chairs could all be made around cardboard tubes, which I could work with. So far I have only used one for an armchair, which works well for the form. The one that mirrors it is far more angular, again working from the visual research. I completed the odd set of armchairs with a mini table to sit in the middle of them, which was the easiest piece of the day. I’m find that the chairs will be the hardest to make.
I finished the day by looking forward to the rest of the chairs and furniture, it terms of how much space I have to play with when making the remaining pieces. I have already made use of two tables that I made previously for the other internal model miniature. I realised though that I needn’t worry too much as in the set there’s a collection of odd piece that don’t match so I am taking this idea forward when making to an extent, allowing me more creative freedom.
A quick update today. I’ve been making a slow start on Minnie’s Haberdashery. Using the scene that I’ll be projected as the main point of visual reference. In terms of size I’ve decided to return to a smaller scale, allowing me to get an understanding of this new model miniature and the challenges that I will bring to.
Firstly there is a lot of furniture that needs to be made, about six tables with chairs for each. That’s not including the bench. All of these will have to be figured out and simplified into some form that is recognisable. As much as I want to show the whole set, which would be great to make. I need to consider the projector and how its going to work with it. So I’ve take out a corner of the piece, so it will come in at an angle for this one. Also working well as there is little information for that corner, maybe this was where the camera’s were mainly positioned during filming.
I can’t wait to add the walls and the beams that run throughout the model. I won’t be adding a ceiling as the beams will be enough to suggest that. There is only a base at the moment which will be added to as soon as possible. I’m looking forward to seeing how things progress. It’s going to push my making, the presentation of the model as ultimately the projected image will be affected in some way, which at this stage I don’t know which is very exciting.
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.