Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Carisa Swenson

-by Ryan Friant

Since 2006, Carisa Swenson has been creating art dolls which have been exhibited in numerous galleries from New York City to Los Angeles, as well as published in Spectrum 17.  She currently resides in New York.

W3D:  Can you describe your working process from start to finish?

Generally, I start right in with sculpting the head, hands and feet of the doll; only once finished with sculpting and painting the head and limbs do I begin creating the armature.  The armature consists of aluminum wire, with quilt batting wrapped around the wire to fill out the form.  A layer of foss shape is then sewn on, which when heated (using a heat gun), provides greater stability and keeps all the batting in place.  Usually at this point I have a pretty good idea as to what clothing the doll will be wearing, and swatches of fabric are cut out and pinned to the doll to get a sense of whether the colors and patterns will work or not.  Once the clothing is finished, details are added, such as buttons, whiskers or hair.

W3D:  What are the tools do you typically use in a piece?

Fingers, small paintbrushes, dental tools, needles.

W3D:  How do you recharge your "creative battery"? 

Whenever I need to fill the creative well, I head to the woods.  It doesn't matter how long I escape for- it can be an hour long walk, or a day-long hike; any time spent away form the city and surrounded by trees helps to refresh and inspire.  Wandering around museums, or used bookstores also helps. If none of those options are available, I'll settle for an hour or two of video games.

W3D:  If you weren't an artist, what else could you see yourself pursueing?
Something in the field of ornithology, perhaps an avian biologist.

W3D:  Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

Don't be afraid of constructive criticism.  Set aside time every day to practice or advance your craft. Even if you only have 15 minutes, MAKE TIME.  Don't fall into the trap of thinking you'll only improve if you set aside huge swaths of time to devote to your art.  Most likely those opportunities will be limited, so work with what you have.  I often wake up early before heading to my day job just so I can squeeze in an hour or so of sculpting time, since I tend to be most productive in the morning hours. Knowing I have to stop at a certain time helps me focus on the task at hand.

W3D: What do you do with the sculptures you’ve created?

Many of my dolls are looking for good homes and are up for sale at galleries in Los Angeles, most notably Cactus Gallery and The Hive Gallery, as well as Dollirium Art Doll Emporium in Canada. Dolls which return to me from shows are carefully packed up in boxes and kept in safe places within our home. Ideally, the dolls would be on display, but I just haven’t found the perfect cabinet yet!

Working in the 3rd Dimension would like to thank Carisa for sharing her art with everyone.  Below you can find a link to Carisa's website as well as a few of the galleries that she mentioned.
www.goblinfruitstudio.com, e-mail:  info@goblinfruitstudio.com
All images © Carisa Swenson 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Tinkertown Museum

-By Ryan Friant

My girlfriend and I have recently relocated to Albuquerque, NM and one stop that ranked high on our list of places to visit was the Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, NM. The museum is a collection of vibrant dioramas, often augmented with motor animated elements to further add to the fun of these densely packed scenes. Often times while visiting this site, I had the sense that this was the precursor to the "Eye Spy" book series. Admission is $3, which is absolutely worth it, and you will want to bring a handful of quarters for a few of the coin operated automata and the vintage carnival machines like automated fortune tellers and an Uncle Sam you can shake hands with (and then Uncle Sam judges your moral character).

Tinkertown was crafted, collected and assembled for over 40 years by mid-western artist Ross Ward. Ward was a self-taught artist who spent the majority of his career as a carnival painter and created the beginnings of Tinkertown in his spare time. Ross Ward was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in February of 1998 at the age of 57. The Ward family continues to maintain Tinkertown in his memory and the museum is currently in its 21st season of operation.

You can visit the Tinkertown Museum online here.
All photos were taken by Ryan Friant and Jen G. Benson.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jocelyn Marsh

-By Ryan Friant

First off, I'd like to welcome everyone back to the Working in the 3rd Dimension blog. My name is Ryan Friant and I create dimensional illustrations under the alias of illworx. I will be helping Liz maintain the blog by co-curating the artists and features. I'd like to get right into it and kick things off with the haunting work of Jocelyn Marsh.

Jocelyn Marsh began her career in the arts with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Washing State University. From an early age she wrote fantastical fiction stories that eventually translated into mythical creatures and tales told through sculpture. In 2001, Marsh traveled from Southeast Asia to Western Europe and eventually settled down in Brussels, Belgium where she continued to write and collect discarded treasures. It was in Belgium that a taste for the macabre and a love of science and historical fictions took hold for Jocelyn and by the time she returned to Los Angeles in 2003, a serious study into assemblage art ensued with the small collection she had started abroad. For eight years Marsh has been collecting skeletons, vintage toys, and other oddities bringing them together to form creatures yet unseen to tell stories she once put down on the page. Marsh currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

W3D: How did you start working dimensionally?

I started working dimensionally by making dioramas with found objects. I was doing primarily landscapes that included animal figurines, old necklaces, fabric, old photographs, bones, teeth, and any number of odds and ends. Slowly, I started combining the found objects in such a way that they became more sculptural and finally, I found ways to create my own parts to take the place of found objects so that the creatures themselves were the primary focus of each piece.

W3D: Can you describe your working process from start to finish?

I usually start with an image or a single thought that I want to expand on. My second step is usually to do a character study and write out a narrative to bring the world I’m about to create to life on paper. I started out in the arts as a fiction writer and find myself drawing from that part of my life quite a bit. Once I have a plan, I start gathering all kinds of materials from paint, epoxy clay, hardware, and cast metal objects to fabrics and resins. I also spend a lot of early Sunday mornings at the flea markets of Los Angeles in search of interesting objects to cast and old picture frames. When I have what I need to get started, I start assembling. Depending on the project, this can mean having a soldering station going in one room while paint is drying outside and clay is curing in another room. By the end of the construction process, I like to have things very tied off and tied together. I tend to create narratives with each series of pieces that work together to tell a story.

W3D: What tools are typically used in your pieces?

I use anything I see in front of me to get the job done. Since I work at a fast pace and focus so intently on each piece, I often find myself unprepared when it comes time to do certain little tasks. For example, I’ll be holding a wing on which I’ve just applied a quick-drying adhesive without securing the body to its mechanical arm first. I end up just holding the body with a pair of pliers and waiting for the whole thing to set before I can position it properly. The process can become a game of Twister and is something I’m actually trying to improve. Typically though, I use Dremels, a Foredom flex shaft tool kit, homemade soldering tools, blow torches, glue guns, surgical tools, watchmaker’s tools, every kind of adhesive known to man, and a basic handyman’s tool kit. But honestly, my new favorite multi-purpose tool is the safety pin.

W3D: What do you do with the sculptures you’ve created?

There are a few different retail locations in Los Angeles that carry my work including Gold Bug, Beau & Aero, Dialect, and Gather. And, coming soon to New York City, Condor. My pieces can also be inquired about through jen@artduet.net. Sometimes though, if pieces are just coming from a show, or waiting to go to a show, they can be found pouring out of every room of my house.

W3D: If you weren’t an artist, what else could you see yourself pursuing?

Apart from being an artist, I have also been working on an artistic career in the film industry in Los Angeles for 8 years. So, simultaneously while I do this, I am always working toward production designing for some of the great macabre, quirky, stylized, enchanting directors of our time. My dream is that one day, all will flow together and I will get to bring some of my tiny worlds to life in a big way on the big screen.

We here at Working in the 3rd Dimension would like to thank Jocelyn for her time. Below you can find a link to Jocelyn's website as well as links to some of the retail outlets she mentioned.


All images © Jocelyn Marsh 2011