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Archive for the ‘Paper Sculpture’ Category

My artistic philosophy

28 Apr

I create many types of art, from paper mache animals, to mosaics, to paper sculptures, to steampunk airship sculptures. However, most all of my art involves the use of repurposed materials and found objects.

In the video below, I detail my artistic philosophy!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Google airships fly!

11 Apr

Back in November, I told you about building two commissioned steampunk airships for a production designer in Chicago. The build went very well and my client was very happy with the results. He drove from Chicago to my home near Flint, Michigan to personally pick up the airships so they would not be damaged in shipping, since they were for a corporate holiday party he had been hired to stage. The party was to have a steampunk theme.

He had told me when he arrived at my house, that his corporate client had been quite picky about the look and size of the pieces, since after the party, they would most likely be hanging in their corporate headquarters. You might also remember that when I asked him who his client was, his reply was GOOGLE!

I have been asking him for photos of the airships hanging at the party and he promised that he would send them as soon as he could, but that the photos would have to be approved by Google first.

Well, finally, after asking for about the third time, he replied that Google had finally approved some photos of the airships in place at the party venue BEFORE the party, during set up. I guess they didn’t want to worry about photo releases for those employees who might have shown up in the pictures. That’s OK I guess…at least we get to see what the set up looked like!

Photos of steampunk airships by Artsmith Craftworks hanging in place at the 2015 Google Holiday Party in Chicago.

Soaring in the clouds!

Photos of steampunk airships by Artsmith Craftworks hanging in place at the 2015 Google Holiday Party in Chicago.

Beautiful illuminated clouds…

Photos of steampunk airships by Artsmith Craftworks hanging in place at the 2015 Google Holiday Party in Chicago.

I hope to get to Chicago and try to see the airships hanging in the Google offices. When that happens, I’ll be sure to post photos of that trip!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk airship aircraft carrier

20 Mar

Today’s post is a piece that I’m particularly proud of! I thought that cutting an airship lengthwise and building something cool on top would be fun. Then I had an epiphany and decided to make the up-build an aircraft carrier. Now, before you say it, I know that the biplanes on the deck are a bit anachronistic, but hey, steampunk is nothing if not a bit time warped, right?

Steampunk airship aircraft carrier

Steampunk airship aircraft carrier

Gondola detail

Gondola detail

Aircraft detail

Aircraft detail

As always, this airship uses repurposed/found object, cardboard, paper and papier-mâché in its construction. How many recognizable objects can you identify?

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and repurposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and upcycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on repurposing/upcycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or by phone at 810-516-7381.

 

 

 

 

Steampunk airship 002

22 Feb

Today’s post is a recently finished Victorian style steampunk airship. This one is approximately 24″ in length overall and has very decorative stabilizer fins and a wooden propeller with scaffolded prop struts.

As always, this airship uses repurposed/found object, cardboard, paper and papier-mâché in its construction. How many recognizable objects can you identify?

SMAirship02 021w©

I encourage comments and dialogue. Drop me a line to ask questions, make suggestions or order a custom airship of your very own!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and repurposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and upcycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on repurposing/upcycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or by phone at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk deer ears

16 May

Adding the defining elements to the steampunk deer is where the fun begins! Since the deer will have a steampunk cyborg aesthetic, part of it will be “natural” and part will be mechanical. I’ll start with the natural ear. I looked at my reference material and sculpted the base shape with corrugated cardboard.

Cardboard ear cut out

Cardboard ear cut out

As you can see, I had to cut the cardboard so that when folded and taped, it has a curve and dimension to it, as you can see below.

Taped together

Taped together

I then covered the whole thing with tape to seal and waterproof it before applying papier-mâché.

Covered with tape to waterproof

Covered with tape to waterproof

And now, I close the bottom and fit it with a wooden knob, drilled to accept a screw. This will allow it to be attached to the side of the deer head sculpture.

Taped to shape

Taped to shape

Added wooden knob

Added wooden knob

And now…covered in mache…

Covered in mache

Covered in mache

And now, the attachment to the deer head sculpture…

Ear attached to deer head

Ear attached to deer head

Next, I’ll show how I pulled together random repurposed, recycled pieces and parts to assemble the cyborg ear for the steampunk deer head sculpture. It’s really fun to reuse those things that otherwise get thrown in the trash!

Thank you for your continued interest in my work and stay tuned for my next post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding nostrils and mouth

29 Apr

As I add the papier-mâché to the outside of the steampunk deer head, I need to detail the nostrils and mouth on the steampunk deer head. As I said before, using masking tape to shape something in is fast and stable, then going over that with papier-mâché strengthens it. I use folded newspaper to get a shape, then tape it to the sculpture. I know newspapers are on the decline. I don’t know what I’m going to do for raw materials for amazing art when the newspapers go away. Recycling and repurposing them has been great for my art!

Forming mouth & nostrils

Forming mouth & nostrils

Now the taped mouth and nostrils.

Taped nostrils

Taped nostrils

Taped nostrils

Taped nostrils

Then we start to add the mâché over the top…

Mâché over the mouth and nostrils

Mâché over the mouth and nostrils

Mâché over nostrils

Mâché over nostrils

Next time, I’ll start building onto the deer head. Ears, steampunk accessories, etc.

 

 

 

 

More facial detail

18 Apr

Now that I’ve fleshed out the “real” antler, I need to add the rest of the flesh thickness to the deer head before I apply the papier-mâché.

Fleshing out the face

Fleshing out the face

The nose still hasn’t been defined yet, but that is a surface detail I’ll add later. I just wanted to get the thickness added and then I go over it with masking tape. I do this for a couple reasons. First, it secures everything in place instantly. Second, it sort of water/moisture proofs the paper below for when I add mâché over the top in the next step. I used to feel guilty about using masking tape. I guess I felt some sort of need to be a purist and masking tape seemed like cheating. Well, I got over that once I realized the benefits of using it and it also dawned on me that masking tape IS paper, only it already has adhesive on it…DUH!

As I added tape to cover the form, I continued to add detail to the antler…

Taping the antler

Taping the antler

As I add tape to the face and neck, it’s also time to put definition around the eye in the form of eyelids.

 

Masking tape eyelids

Masking tape eyelids

Eyelid close-up

Eyelid close-up

Now we begin to add the papier-mâché over the masking tape, including the antler.

Beginning the mâché process

Beginning the mâché process

As you can see, the left side of the steampunk deer head sculpture does not have an eye. This is because this will be the side that has the steampunk cyborg “appliance” for an eye. It will also have a cyborg ear and other hardware.

Another thing you will notice from the picture above is the white tub with the paint brush on top. This container has a 50-50 blend of water and white PVA glue. Again, I’m not a purist…or at least I try not to be. Art is about improvisation and innovation as much as anything else. I’ve always found the typical flour/water or wallpaper paste recipes for papier-mâché “glue” to be messy, lumpy, cumbersome and slow to dry. Instead, I use the glue mixture, brush it on, lay down a newspaper strip and brush on more glue to smooth things out. It’s fast, less messy and it dries a lot faster than flour paste. It costs a little more, but it’s way WORTH IT!!

Papier-mâché around the eye

Papier-mâché around the eye

Next time, I’ll show how I added the details of the nostrils and mouth. Hope you stay tuned for that…and while you’re at it, please share this blog with your friends, on Pinterest and like my Facebook page!

 

Finishing the steampunk airship diarama

01 Mar

Putting together the box that houses the airship for the dirama was easy, because I didn’t put it together! True to form, I repurposed an old dresser drawer and painted it. If you do a project like this for yourself, take care to choose a drawer that is a good quality one with strong corners and made of solid wood instead of particle board or laminate.

I apologize that for this step, I don’t have a lot of photos, but I’ll describe the process. I painted the outside of the drawer with black latex paint (just to avoid the fumes of enamel), then I made a wash using a 50/50 blend of white glue and water tinted with some metallic copper acrylic paint. I brushed that wash onto the black and then used a rubber woodgrain rocker to create an exaggerated metallic woodgrain.

Detail of drawer

Detail of drawer

Different view

Different view

Inside, I lined the drawer with scrap light blue paper and added cut paper clouds in white and gray scrap paper, stilted to look dimensional.

Paper clouds in 3D

Paper clouds in 3D

I also made a “pole” that would stick out from the middle of the background so the airship attaches there and appears to “float”. Then I needed to make the ground under the airship, so I cut pieces of scrap paper again in colors that look like farmland from a height.

"Farmland" cut from scrap paper

“Farmland” cut from scrap paper

The scrap was then spraymounted to a piece of dark green matte board as a backer and also to provide enough strength to be mounted on an angle. This piece was then put into the diarama and looks as it should to simulate an aerial view.

Mounted "farmland"

Mounted “farmland”

With the pieces all in place, we have a nice steampunk airship diarama! This could have a hinged plexiglass cover attached to protect the piece, but still allow the airship to be removed for closer inspection (I designed it to come out of the display).

Finished piece

Finished piece

This piece is for sale here on the site in the Showcase Gallery. You know you want it!

Next, I’ll show a new project that will have all you steampunk hunters drooling…stay tuned!