The Bending of Light
It’s been a while since I posted anything about my current artwork on the easel. ETERNAL, my lifesize metal fine art nude that I started over a year ago, has quite a story, and she’s not even finished.
To some, it might seem that she is appropriately titled “ETERNAL” because of the time I have lovingly invested in her creation. I’ve put much more into this piece than I ever expected. When I started ETERNAL, she was going to be a more straightforward piece, but as I began developing the artwork, more was revealed that needed to be included, and before I knew it, I was traveling fast down the rabbit’s hole.
My muse for this creation, art model Bendy Taylor and I did a photoshoot a while back. Inspired by her elegant poses, I especially liked the reclined nude I used for my reference image for this piece. She looks comfortable, like she could lie in total relaxation for eternity. That inspired me to create a calming medley in metal that would forever change my appreciation of the female form and the bending of light.
For Bendy, an afternoon of relaxing poses inspired a long creation process that would take months to fulfill, first with a camera, then a drawing pad to jot down some ideas, and finally, power tools and metal scribes to create my art from scratch. My initial thought process with ETERNAL began with the thought, “Beauty is fleeting, but art is eternal.” But how did I want to celebrate that beauty for eternity through my art?
As an artist, I have always been fascinated by the golden ratio (the golden number, golden proportion, or the divine proportion), a balance between two numbers that equals 1.618 (approximately) — usually written as the Greek letter Phi. The golden ratio is strongly associated with the Fibonacci sequence, a sequence of numbers wherein each number is added to the last, so 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, 5+3=8, and so on. The golden ratio is fascinating and shows up in nature everywhere, including people’s proportions throughout the face and body. Artists love the golden ratio because it is aesthetically pleasing (because it aligns with nature). In addition, when drawing the sequence graphically, it looks like a nautilus swirl that can grow forever. So, by definition, the golden ratio is eternal.
For my fellow geeks, Phi is represented as 1.618. I based my artwork dimension on that formula to measure 33″ tall by 54″ across, plus the knee and toes extending beyond the background area.
Starting with a fresh aluminum sheet and power tools, I created an organic pattern of grinds as the background for my artwork. Next, I cut the outside shape out with a power grinder, diamond-tip blades, and small files.
Initially, I had intended to base-coat and paint the figure as an airbrush painting to look like melted metal. Had I gone that route, this artwork would have been done ages ago and would have been a beautiful piece. But, instead, I was inspired. Not that I wasn’t already, but for one reason or another, I got wild hair to scratch the metal to create my figure instead of simply painting her over the grinds. Michelangelo is credited for having once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.“ So I thought maybe that is true of metal, too, even if it is only one-sixteenth inch thick.
That’s when it happened. That’s when I decided to sand past miles of grinding to discover the muse within. That is also when this artwork became eternal.
While unfinished, ETERNAL is entirely created with power grinders, sandpapers, and small files. To date, there is no paint, and what you see in the artwork is created with countless controlled scratches to bend the light as it and you travel across the artwork. There will be very little paint on this piece, mainly for the background and such — I wouldn’t want to hide her inspiration behind a veil of color. ETERNAL is a sculpture that looks three-dimensional but is entirely flat. Still a ways from finished, there will be a couple of surprises that I am looking forward to revealing (soon).
Recently, my friend Bonzai Caruso stopped by with a delicious bottle of wine. Bonzai is a music guy. My walls bling with metal nudes, while he is lined with golden records to compliment his Grammys (ahem). We’ve been chatting about creating a tune complimenting the artwork, so Bonzai said he wanted to see ETERNAL firsthand. We talked about my art’s vibe, the resonating tone of metal, and the message that ETERNAL is about. He just kept tapping on the metal. Bonzai loves sound, and I’m excited to create a video to share the art in process with his original tune.
Until then, Cheers!