Monday, February 22, 2010

Matei Apostolescu

Meet Matei Apostolescu, an artist in Romania working dimensionally. Born in 1983 in Bucharest Romania, Matei is a self taught freelance illustrator and proud member of the DepthCore collective. He has worked for various clients and had exhibitions in London, Berlin, Bucharest, Istanbul.
How or why did you start working dimensionally?
I started as a kid, when i was about 6 i was making fleets of planes out of dirt because there was a terrible lack of toys in communist times. We had lots of fun with them because, unlike real toys, if you broke one it could easily be modeled into something new. I rediscovered modeling when a friend showed me polymer clay and what people were doing with it and since then i've been having lots of fun with this stuff. 
What or who has influenced the way you work?
At the moment i try to translate characters from my illustrations to real life objects so my influences come mostly from illustrators, H.R Giger remains one of my favorite. He is an incredible painter/illustrator but an awesome sculptor too. 
Please describe your working process. 
I use polymer clay and it's pretty much about experimentation, right now i'm working on larger and more complex models. I use pressed aluminum sheets to created the skeleton and cover them in polymer clay, the rest is pretty much usual modeling :) 
What do you enjoy most / least about working dimensionally? 
Well, the fact that it really changes the way you draw and perceive illustration. I started working recently but I can feel it has a major impact in my drawn stuff, I draw more easy in a way. Perhaps an inconvenience is the fact that I now need to find a much larger space but apart from that I'm looking forward to creating more polymer clay toys.
Matei Apostolescu
All images and content © Matei Apostolescu

Friday, February 19, 2010

Eric Lewis

When was the last time you made art out of your garbage? My friend Eric Lewis, famous for his clever New Yorker cartoons, does just that!
"I was born and raised the son of two psychiatrists (kinda explains a lot?) in New Haven, CT. I have lived in NYC since my undergrad days at Columbia University. After that I went to film school, designed t-shirt graphics for a resortwear company, was a room-service waiter at a posh hotel, designed garden products for Martha Stewart, and finally went back to school for Industrial Design at RISD. I love Star Trek (The Original Series), the Grateful Dead, Barack Obama, and cats (I own two - Oliver & Daisy)."
How or why did you start working dimensionally? 
Not sure when it started, but I should probably credit art teachers in kindergarten as well as my mom, who always encouraged my artistic endeavors. The above image is a recent drawing of a kindergarten art project that coincidentally involved using recycled products.
What or who has influenced the way you work? 
Tibor Kalman, the late, great graphic designer was a huge influence on me - I had the pleasure of being his personal assistant for a summer. His best two lessons: 1. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Then, just when you think your design is as simple as it can possibly be, make it even one step MORE simple. 2. As a designer, look for opportunities with the minimum number of assholes between you and your audience/consumers.
Please describe your working process. 
When I'm working with garbage, I will collect stuff even if I have no idea what to do with it. But I try to keep it on view in my apartment, and let its presence slowly inspire me. I kept a junk bicycle in my bedroom for several weeks before one day it dawned on me how to make it into a functional stool (image below). Besides that, I like to wait until a couple of days before something is due - deadlines really get my adrenaline and inspiration moving! :) 
What do you enjoy most / least about working dimensionally? 
I love it when my 3D creations work from several angles - i.e. a sculpture that one can walk 360 degress around and always find interesting. That's sometimes how I know whether a garbage flower will work or not - if I have to worry about which way the leaf is pointing, it's probably not such a great garbage flower to begin with. And I love forgetting all my troubles as I engage in an aesthetic/design exercise. Joy. Enjoy least?...hmmm - finding space in my apartment to build stuff - it's impossible! Guess I need a studio.
Eric Lewis - Garbage Flowers
All images and content © Eric Lewis

Friday, February 12, 2010

Miss Pearl Grey

Meet Miss Pearl Grey, an artist in the UK working in 3D! 
"Hello! My name is Kellie, but you can call me Miss Pearl Grey, if you like."
How or why did you start working dimensionally?
I was always drawing and became very interested in making minatures as a child. My Grandfather built me a beautiful Doll's House that I was able to furnish with little objects I had made myself and people I crafted from pipe cleaners, cotton wool, tights and material. I eventually ran out of rooms for them all to live in, so it became more like a Hostel for tiny people!
I have a rather short attention span sometimes, so consequently I tend to ricochet back and forth between 2 and 3 dimensional illustrating when I temporarily tire of one or the other (it is usually on the break between each that my interest is reignited!).

What or who has influenced the way you work? 
I am constantly in awe of the sheer talent out there! I have a wide range of inspirations which include (but are not limited to) Aardman, FaultyOptic, Red Nose Studio and Liz Lomax. I also consider myself very lucky to have a supportive cast of family and friends, who are invariably willing to endure my antisocial tendencies when working on new pieces.
Please describe your working process.
I always start with sketches. Each character is visualised on paper from a variety of angles in order to provide accurate viewpoints later on. Once I have started sculpting I find it very helpful to have my own drawings on the desk so that I can see exactly how much curve the chin needs, or where a particular wart should be. This said, however, my models are rarely the same as the initial sketch by the end! 
I usually start with a wire or tin foil armature and build onto this with Super Sculpey. I fire the initial sculpt in the oven and then each subsequent layer is fixed with a very hot hairdryer (my models are usually small enough that this is sufficient). Occasionally I pad out some of the bulkier characters with upholstery wadding to save using so much Sculpey, these are just fixed with the hairdryer. I use children's plasticine modelling tools, scalpels and cocktail sticks to sculpt faces and details. Some of the features are just about being resourceful with materials. I am a bit of a hoarder so I tend to hang onto scraps of old material and things most people would throw away- I know they will come in handy sooner or later. I usually paint with acrylics but learned the hard way that you should always seal the paint with varnish (I use the Matte variety). Once the characters are ready I arrange the props and backgrounds accordingly and photograph, editing afterwards in Photoshop where necessary.
What do you the enjoy most / least about working dimensionally?
I would have to say that the most frustrating thing for me is overheating my models, burning them to a crisp when I wander off to make a cup of tea. When I overheat them they shatter a lot more easily and this can be very time consuming to fix! Materials can be very costly, too. But the overall satisfaction I get from seeing the final images and from other people's reactions makes it very rewarding. I am also a tremendous perfectionist, but I don't think that ever really leaves you.
Kellie Black
Pearl Grey Illustration
All images and content © Miss Pearl Grey

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bent Objects by Terry Border

The other day Chris Sickels of Red Nose Studio fame sent me a link to this amazing blog incase it might be of interest for the 3D blog... was it ever! I was blown away and immediately got to in touch with Terry Border of Bent Objects.
How did you start to work dimensionally?
I've always been more comfortable working in 3D.  My drawing skills never get out of the realm of the doodle.  I also like to tell the story of how I started working much larger, making mobiles and sculptures, and after I failed to sell several of them, I decided to start working smaller. As I started working smaller, I got more relaxed, and started to have more fun. My work really took off shortly afterward. 
Who is your biggest influence?
Easily Alexander Calder. His early wire work is what I strive to match in joyfulness, and simplicity.  I got to see the "Alexander Calder: The Paris Years" last summer, and could have died of happiness as I walked through and took it all in.
Could you describe your  working process?
It depends. Sometimes I see an object, or think of a concept that is already fully formed, but that doesn't happen nearly as often as I would like. Usually I start with an object and try to anthropomorphize it.  What kind of life would it lead?  What things would it have in common with us? Hopes and dreams, fears and failures?  
The next step is to probably make some wire arms and legs for it. It's funny, I started out doing everything in wire, but it's dwindled to mainly arms and legs at this point.  If I need props, I gather those up. Sometimes I make the props, a lot of times I'll find them in my daughter's old Barbie accessories, or buy them from a miniature store- whatever is best.
The third step is deciding on the setting.  Does the image need more than a seemless background?
Finally, I'll spend anywhere from half an hour to all day lighting the image. Sometimes I'll take 40 or 50 shots, making changes in posing, and lighting. 
The real final step is after the shot is done, and I'm happy with it all, I have a nice cold beer or glass of wine.
What are you working on now?
My book "Bent Objects: The Secret Life of Everyday Things" came out in stores last October and seems to be doing well. I'm now keeping my blog fed, trying to find some more commercial work, and hoping and praying that I get another book deal going very soon! 
Terry Border, Bent Objects
All images and content © Terry Border

Monday, February 1, 2010


Meet Brixpix, an artist in Florida who works in 3D!
"I started as one of 4 siblings, all dabbling in one type of art or another. Being the youngest it seemed like I was always competing in a land of superior artists. My father, too was a great painter and mentor. After graduating college in 1978 with a degree in Graphic Design, I moved to Los Angeles to seek my future in the arts. Somehow, I took a wrong turn and wound up in the customer service machine for a good 24 years. All major players: Xerox, Capital One, Time Warner. In 2004 I was rescued by Bic Graphic USA where I continue to work in the art department to this day. I have been a freelance illustrator, painter and toy designer. I have successfully shown at the Art Center of St Petersburg, Florida and currently show at both the Hard Rock Store in Tampa, Florida as well as the Creative Native Gallery in Tampa, Florida."
How or why did you start working dimensionally?
Back in 2006 a coworker of mine introduced me to munnys as a viable "canvas" and I quickly found the perfect meld of illustration and paint. I didn't have much experience with the new medium, but soon entered my 1st munny contest (Munnyshow2 at Uberbot Winter Park, Fl on 7/8/06). I came in second place out of 140 contestants. The experience reminded me of my artistic roots. I have to say there and then art was no longer a hobby. It became an obsession. In working hard and raising a family, you forget your roots. I rediscovered mine.
What or who has influenced the way you work?
I'd have to say that from an early age, I have been influenced by Robert Crumb, grand daddy of underground comics. Being born in the 50's I have a unique perspective of the art on and before that time. It was realistic, detailed, linear. I love the details in art. I don't care how long a piece takes to make. It's finished when it's finished. Crumb draws the way he sees. Carrying a sketch pad helps me stay tuned in to what I see, like a camera, but with a creative slant. Currently, I am influenced by modern heroes of the art world. Mark Ryden, Todd Schorr, Gary Baseman and Joe Ledbetter, to name a few.
Please describe your working process.
I like to grow as an artist. So the tools I use today may not necessarily be used on my art tomorrow. I am a big proponent of using 3D art objects that are cast aside at garage sales, giving them a second life. I love vinyl and resin and sculpey. I use prismacolor pencils and a set of Kohinoor rapidographs for inking. Using am angle grinder making wood sculptures lately. I also started painting Coke Cans in the hopes of creating a trend, making them collectable as opposed to recyclable. Portable art, art that can be carried with you, is another niche I am trying to create. No longer imprisoning art to the confines of 4 walls. Toys are the perfect vehicle to get art out. The designer toy market is over 10 years old. Still feels like it's in it's infancy as it has hardly hit the mainstream yet. It's an exciting time to work with other young designers and see their creativity shine.
What do you enjoy most / least about working dimensionally?
As a cartoonist/illustrator, I could only dream of my characters moving in a 3D world. Working dimensionally makes one think differently when approaching the medium. The personality of the character leaps off the toy. Vinyl can be expensive though. I megamunny can run you back $200.00. If designed properly, a good designer can sell the piece for over $1000.00. Urban toy designers started out getting little recognition. This is changing as some established artists are designing toys as a way for most people to afford their work.
All images and content © Brixpix