Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Robot Jag

So, I'm sitting around this Sunday thinking about what I'll do with terra cotta clay and I remembered a project I had mentally shelved about doing robot tile/sculpture/drawings--just playing around with the sterotyped robot image in antique tin toys from Japan, the cliche robot as in Lost in Space or the one that scared the hell out of me as a kid in "The Day the Earth Stood Still." R2D2 and C3PO, the modern Japanese cartoon robots--all of that.

I began to doodle while watching the pro football playoff game between the Colts and the Giants. 3 or 4 pages later of sketches of robots and the game is over. I didn't see or hear one bit of it even though I was sitting in my kitchen sketching away on the bar and the TV is right there just churning away. I was in Robot World. Funny about that.

I begin with the most conservative form. The square headed, square bodied robot and move on from there tweeking the image and playing with 'hands', arms and legs, dials and antenna.

The ideas come fast and thick and I have to sketch these guys quickly in order to get them all down. The sketches are rough, but enough to make notes that can be translated into more detailed drawings and then converted onto tile with an undercoat brush rendering. Some are influenced by Clayton Bailey, ( a master maker of full-sized metal robots, references to Star Wars, even modernistic dive suits, a memory of a precursor to G.I. Joe named Major Matt Mason. I remembered the Popular Science magazines my Dad read. I even have a picture of an old streamlined Electrolux vacuum cleaner that came in handy....

Anyway, when ideas start to flow, you'd better be there with a bucket--it's a rare and wonderful time when it happens.

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