Saturday, 5 April 2014

OKAMI Rat brush god

   Some new Envydolls dolls will be due for unveiling very soon, but in the meantime here's a little OKAMI-inspired rat brush god sculpt I made for our Yokai Parade affiliate. :)

   The inspiration for this comes from two things. I enjoyed the visual style in the OKAMI video games, and the other brush gods included a mouse, so why not a rat? The other inspiration comes from the time I looked after a friend and fellow student's pet rat while she was on vacation. I've forgotten his name but man, was he smart for such a little guy. I'd never seen what pet rats were like up close and they really are quite endearing. So this is kind of a tribute to pet rats in general. There's surely a brush kami for rats, too. 

   He's up for auction for ten days now, here: Please check it out!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Envydolls Society6 store

   Hey guys~ no, I am not dead! Just had major computer problems over the Christmas period, which meant I couldn't show any work or create any digital. There WILL be new prints and dolls coming soon from me! Just dropping by now to mention that I opened a Society6 store; I know quite a few artists are using this site to sell their work from, and a few people have asked me about opening a store there.

   So here's the link to my new Society6 shop:

   I'm in the process of uploading older work from 2013 to the site for sale as art prints, but due to the smaller filesizes of the images I worked with on my old computer, those older designs can't be purchased from Society6 as clothing, mugs or laptop covers (they have strict file dimensions regulations). They are available as throw pillow, tote bag and mobile covers, though. Zazzle doesn't have the same restrictions so you can still purchase PETIT BAPHOMET or INLE clothing and accessories from my Zazzle store, if you're interested! :)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Suzie Templeton's Peter and the Wolf

   One thing that got me into sculpting years ago was seeing the short film Peter and the Wolf, directed by Suzie Templeton. Now I've seen a lot of stop-motion animation, and even as a kid I loved the films of Ray Harryhausen for their stop-motion puppets and effects. I still love his stop-motion work - I'd rather watch the original Clash of the Titans or one of his Sinbad films over any of the CGI-fests that get churned out these days because, ironically, they just seem to have more heart and feel more real. The puppets were real and the limitations of special effects in those days pushed film-makers and SFX artists to new heights while trying to create atmosphere and menace with their impossible fantasy characters. I can't speak for everyone, but to me Harryhausen's Medusa is far creepier and feels far more 'alive' and malevolent than the Gorgon in the most recent Clash of the Titans. She's also my favourite puppet design of his. 

   Anyway - Peter and the Wolf. It's only got a 33 minute running time, but this little film is a gem in the puppets and backdrop department. It's a more modern retelling of the classic story set to the original orchestral music, and the puppet work - especially the wolf - are excellent. The attention to detail in the construction of these puppets really shows and the movements of the characters have both realistic qualities and elements of dance in them. I saw this film on DVD in 2009 when I was studying animation at uni and looking into different examples of maquette work. To this day I think it's a fantastic piece of art with endearing characters, well worth a look if you enjoy animation, or just looking for inspiration to up your game if you're a maquette or doll artist. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of poseable animal dolls and furred sculpts.

Suzie Templeton Wolf Envydolls

Suzie Templeton Wolf Envydolls

Suzie Templeton Wolf Envydolls

   You can find this film on Amazon or read about it on its Wiki page, here. The DVD has an interesting little featurette on the making of the film as well, showing the extent of the work put into the character design and construction of the scenery.

Suzie Templeton Wolf Envydolls

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Pictures of Tintagel

   Some old photographs I took of the landscape near my studio, around this time of year. :)

tintagel envydolls perdita marsh

tintagel envydolls perdita marsh

tintagel envydolls

tintagel envydolls

OOAK Fairy Wings

   Looking for a way to make your own quality OOAK fairy / fantasy wings? 

OOAK fairy wings
   Check out the Butterfly Wing Creator by OOAK Sculptor, available to purchase on CD. For only £8.50 (plus P+P) you get a FREE image editor similar to Adobe Photoshop to create your own wing designs, a tutorial, and a large selection of pre-existing wing designs, including butterfly wings, dragonfly wings, and cicada wings for polymer clay OOAKs. Use the pre-made wings or create literally 1000s of new design combinations just by switching them around or altering colours, or design your own from scratch. You can then print your designs out at home to produce solid wings on inkjet paper, or semi-transparent wings on transparency film to wire and insert into the back of your OOAK doll. The Butterfly Wing Creator now comes with a FREE doll iris creator pack too (doll iris sheets and tutorial), for those wanting to print their own irises for OOAK doll eyes.

   To order the Butterfly Wing Creator, click this link:

   OOAK Sculptor also makes custom wings to order as well - you can contact him on this page to place a custom order:

Images credited to: OOAK-Sculptor

Monday, 26 August 2013

What is Lowbrow Art?

   I get asked this question a lot. When I'm asked what I do for a living, I answer, "I'm an artist." "What sort of artist?" is the inevitable next question, and I find myself more often than not responding with, "Lowbrow, I guess." Ninety-nine percent of the time this is followed by, "what's Lowbrow art?" I then have to attempt some sort of explanation, and it ain't always easy.

   With certain people, especially those with pretty entrenched views of art, it's hard to convince them that Lowbrow exists as a genre, or that it's any kind of art movement, and Lowbrow itself could care less if an art critic can categorize it. And the movement itself isn't easy to describe. But it surely is art since many of the most well-known "Lowbrow artists" are masters - their artistic skill can hardly be in doubt, whatever you think of the subject matter. As for the subject matter... Lowbrow is fairly easy to spot when you encounter it, you just have to ask yourself does it do any of the following: 

   Is it trying to be genuinely serious? Because if it isn't, if it's something that has been deliberately cartoonified, distorted, made cute or ironic, something recognizable but with an expected purpose perverted or subverted - it's probably Lowbrow. Lowbrow might depict a gang of adorable little girls, their faces knotted with concentration and beaded with sweat, performing an operation on a teddy bear with real medical instruments... the poor bear's stuffing spilling out all over the picture. That's Lowbrow art because there's definitely an element of parody or subversion of your expectation there. And it might just make you laugh, since often enough there's no particular point to what's being depicted, no grandiose message - unfrequently the case with other forms of visual art. You're not expected to view Lowbrow and feel you've experienced or learned something vitally important, or that its purpose is essential. Hence, I guess, the name "Lowbrow" as opposed to "high brow" art - the latter being the kind we visualize in our minds as rare, the product of genius, belonging with the marble statues in a museum, praised for some historic or other significance. Lowbrow often isn't that - in fact it might be the opposite of that entire notion and the reflex we have to think of it.

   Lowbrow art has a sense of humour. Where other forms of art often lack ANY humour, Lowbrow always injects cause for amusement in some way into the ensemble. But it's a sassy kind of humour. It could be sarcastic, or even 'obscene' humour. But very often the humour of Lowbrow comes from poking fun at artistic convention. Have you just seen a rendition of the Mona Lisa with the head of a cow, or a painting done in the style of the old Masters but depicting something decidedly modern or ironic? Because Lowbrow draws heavily from icons and popular culture, often turning the expected on its head, making it strange, wry, sarcastic, endearing or ridiculous, or all of them at once... but you'll still find it likes coming dressed to the party as "fine art". And then it is fine art - fine art with a cheeky grin.  

   Is it trying hard to sell itself as one thing or another, or just 'being itself'? Because Lowbrow generally doesn't care about its reputation; if it's just being its absurd, cute, bizarre or ironic self rather than trying to remind you it belongs somewhere, it could be Lowbrow. The roots of the Lowbrow art movement apparently stem from street culture, underground culture, comics, and pop culture in general, and it was created by artists who weren't setting out to adhere to or establish an organized movement or style, or to play by the rules, but were freely expressing and rebounding pre-existing ideas and establishments through their work. As a result, the movement was born anyway, but there probably isn't a formal school where you could go study or dissect it conventionally (at least, not yet). By definition, Lowbrow avoids conventions and 'seriousness', and has avoided being pinned down and labelled too accurately by those who 'officially' define and discuss forms of art, and probably finds itself outside of recognized legitimacy as a true movement. It's not always easy to find someone who knows what Lowbrow is, or where its boundaries begin and end... and it's not always easy to explain to anyone what it's all about, either... and perhaps that's a good thing.

   I like Lowbrow art - it's fresh air among all the stuffier art claiming importance for personal reasons, politics, religion, the fame of the artist, technical reasons... and all the super-serious stuff out there. It's strange and it's amusing and it's ironic, can be inspirational, take you aback, is sometimes shocking, possibly quite meaningless, and it doesn't apologise for itself. Lowbrow isn't everyone's bag - but then, art that is for everyone and risks nothing is probably going to be pretty mediocre and uninspiring. Art that may have no 'higher' purpose beyond itself and a little humor is fine and dandy by me, and quite fun. Art that makes me stop and think for a minute, even if it's because I'm rather confused, amused, or grossed out, is even better. I can get all of that from Lowbrow.
   I'm not always a Lowbrow artist, for sure... but I guess it fits the description of quite a few of the works I've made for print, and some of my art dolls as well, so it's convenient to call myself a Lowbrow artist, instead of trying to tell someone what any of my stuff 'means' or doesn't mean. Pop Surrealism (not to be confused with "Pop Art") would be a better term to describe a lot of my sculpts and pictures, because the subject matter is in some way popular, and the depiction surreal, not realistic. The "Steampunk Snails" series of sculpts for Yokai Parade is a good example, since the Steampunk genre is a sort of pop surrealism all its own, and there's a definite sense of humour in there, which is important to Lowbrow. The idea of snails using rockets, jet engines, steam, wheels or propellers to go faster is apparently quite funny, as well as absurd, so it surely fits the label of Lowbrow art?

   Images credited to artists, in order from top: Michael Hussar, Mark Ryden, Trevor Brown. To go to the official websites of these fantastic artists, click on their names.