Figurehead for The Due Return

It's been way too long since I've updated this thing, so I'm going to start with the figurehead that I carved last winter for the Meow Wolf show The Due Return that opened at the CCA in Santa Fe in May 2011.

I'm not exactly sure how the concept for her came about -- Caity Kennedy and just kept adding ideas on top of one another one meeting and we ended up with a winged snow leopard mermaid with six breasts and a tail based on a tuna. I did the carving and sculpting Caity did the painting -- this is what she looked like on the boat.

I carved her from blue insulation foam -- which was great, but totally got everywhere even though I worked in the garage. I tracked it all over and it got into all of my clothes and shoes even though I wore a jumpsuit while working. It took a few months to get rid of it, but I still find it now and then... Niomi Fawn came over and took some pictures towards the end of the process, and caught some of the piles of foam bits.

photos by Niomi
photos by Niomi
I think she's nearly 6ft tall with the tail. The ears, nose and eyes are filled out with paper clay and the tongue, teeth and tail fin are instamorph. Here are some close ups of the face primed and unprimed.

Once she was primed I passed her off to Caity, who did her usual awesome job of painting her up. We decided that the top half of her body should be pretty realistic snow leopard, and then Caity did her amazing color/pattern thing on the tail.

photo by Ken
Here she is after the painting job. Unfortunately her tail ended up being too heavy for the adhesive, and split at the layer, which you can see in the picture. By the end of the show the head separated from the neck as well, which actually makes it easier to store her now that the show is down...

photos by Ken
Different lighting brings out different aspects of the painting. The wings were made last minute from tubing, paper and cloth and were kind of cheesy, but worked ok.

photo by Ken (I think)
And here we are putting her up. It was a little scary mounting her on the bow of the ship -- I think about 20 or so ft in the air and on a structure that wasn't designed to hold any weight. Lucky with the foam, she only weighs about 10 to 15 lbs.

There are a ton more pictures -- if I find any great ones I'll post some. Of course, I did a lot more for The Due Return, a bunch of which there's no real documentation of (or is too boring to document, like staining siding, framing rooms, making instamorph loops for the trees, etc) but the main other thing I did was the captain's quarters, which ending up being crazy hard to photograph, so I'm not sure how many images I'll find. But I'll post what I can.

I totally want to carve some more, but I'm not sure what the next project will be. First I need to find a space that I can cover in blue foam.