Sunday, February 2, 2014

Commode Cowboy - ArtOrder Inspiration Challenge

This was made for Jon Schindehetti's Inspiration Challenge over at his website ArtOrder. The challenge was simply "what inspires you." It turned out to be a very personal piece for me. I am inspired by many things and had some ideas that were fairly complex and outlandish. Considering the amount of time I had and listening to my wife's advice I decided to keep this small. The idea that stuck out most was an old picture of me when I was in my single digits. I was sitting on the toilet smiling big wearing a huge white cowboy hat. I felt this would make a visually cohesive piece and it did indeed fit the bill for the Inspiration Challenge. Let me briefly explain.

The bathroom at my parents house was a very interesting space. The wallpaper was made up of images from early 1900's Woolworth catalogs. For me it was both fascinating and a bit creepy. My Mom and Dad are both very handy and creative people and made most of the cabinetry in the bathroom. Just in front of the toilet were two floor to ceiling cabinet doors they had made out of pine which they stained. The patterns in those wood doors held countless monsters, aliens and landscapes.  It was also a great place to get lost in a comic book or sketch away using one of those wood grain creatures as reference.  Using that as a jumping off point - on to the nuts and bolts.


The toilet was made out of scrap plywood and pine. I made it in sections to better work over the forms which I would latter join together permanently. The tank was fabricated from PETG plastic sheet and the seat from Ren board.
Here is the toilet glued and seamed together. The cowboys armature is soldered copper pipe. The lower legs are wire from bed springs. The body was built up using bondo which is inexpensive, can be shaped easily and is quite sturdy.
The toilet with its first coat of polyester resin to seal up the wood.
First test fit after the toilet had been painted. I used an automotive base coat for the white and a two part urethane clear coat to give the surface a deep shine. The toilet paper is manipulated steel sheet which was then painted with acrylics after (acid etch) priming. His head and legs are Super Sculpey while his arms and hands are Apoxie Sculpt.

I like to make my own eyeballs. Here are the cowboys nearing completion.
Some of the stacked books in progress.
Monster belt buckle made out of Aves Apoxie Sculpt and painted with acrylics.

I had a really fun time on this one. This piece turned out to be a very personal one. It made me consider what really inspires me. For me it's my childhood. Growing up with two of the best parents and two of the best brothers. It's realizing how far my Mom and Dad would go to make us happy. It's the magic of what a great time you can have going up to the park with your family in search of polywogs and crawfish. It's simply sitting on the toilet with some of your favorite books or sketching an adventurous scene that no one in this or any lifetime has ever thought of.
...and believing it's all true.

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