Something new

April 14, 2008 at 10:35 pm (art, culture, drawing, interesting, life, painting, personal, thoughts) (, , )

Today I saw something today that I have never seen before in my life – and it occurred to me what a rare instance seeing such a thing is. Perhaps if you travel to remote areas of the world, you get used to seeing things that are so odd that they stop you dead in your tracks… but this was made all the stranger by it happening just about a mile from my home.

I was over on Newark Ave (the “Little India” section of Jersey City), waiting on some dosas and samosa chat. Upon getting my to-go plate, I exited the restaurant and headed up the street, en route back home. That’s when I saw it: A man, medium build and in his 20s, carrying into another restaurant a stack of what had to be about seven goats, all perfectly skinned and dead. The hooves, ears, and (most remarkably) the mournful eyes were still completely intact; he had them layered one on top of the next and slung over his shoulder, carrying them like I would carry a backpack or purse. Their legs dangled gracefully off of his body and their eyes stared at me as I stood there, completely shocked and fascinated.

It was only noon at the time, but as far as I was considered, the day was basically over. Really, nothing could (or should) top that.

I came home and worked on my first try at the massive pop-up book… but man, those goats. I’ll come back to those goats at some point, I’m sure of it.

Anyway. Massive pop-up book. This is what I worked on all day. This picture doesn’t do it justice at all, but I got the most nightmarish part (from an engineering point of view) done:

Honestly, building the rest of the book doesn’t scare me too much – it’s just going to be hard work, but nothing insurmountable. It was this part in particular that was freaking me out.

So what you’re looking at here is the book spread open and these trees coming out of the middle of it. The pages are about 10″ each (so a spread of 20″) and then the trees go up to about 24″ tall. It’s an “assisted pop-up” (yes, I made that up… I think) which means it pops up with some help. Basically, the whole thing comes apart and can be assembled and re-assembled – parts are glued into the book, other parts will come packaged with the book in an accompanying envelope and you have to add them, but then you can take the whole thing apart and shrink it down into this little 10″ x 10″ thing when you’re done with it.

Figuring out how to make it grow tall was the hard part; having it go wide (and I eventually want it to be 30′ or something crazy like that) is really easy – that’s just a matter of accordion-folding. But this tall part… that was really hard. So I’m pleased to have it mostly figured out for now. Now I just have to leave the thing set up in my studio for a few weeks to see what effect gravity has on it – will it droop? fall over? and so on. And then I’ll make adjustments after that. And then, once all that’s done, I can get to work on the actual piece – at this point, it’s all basic architecture; there’s no art really until I get the form all figured out. (I also want to make stuff that’s much taller but the point is: what I did today gives me hope. It should just be scalable from here on out. Maybe.)

When I showed John at the gallery my drawing of the gigantic pop-up, he nervously asked me, “But you’re going to use cheats, right? Like the whole thing doesn’t have to totally pop-up on its own?” I took it as a really sweet way of saying, Please don’t die of a pop-up book-inflicted nervous breakdown. And yeah – this thing has cheats galore. It does, however, still fold up all the way, which I’m psyched for. And if I got this much done in a day – a day torn in half by the sight of skinless goats, no less! – I’m feeling pretty good about what I can get done over the next few weeks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: