Darker, rougher polymer art

Monday’s child is full of angst…or at least it appears that way. Here are two young male polymer clay artists, one from Canada and one from Israel, who like our art’s darker side.

Roy Ginat (fimoman) from Israel, based his small man-eating bird at the left on a character in a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The one at the right is a more contemporary monster.

Andrew McCaffrey from Edmonton, Alberta, follows mostly music groups, capturing the intense gestures and poses of his musical heroes in polymer. The muscular stances and intense facial expressions that he builds in his rough style are remarkable.

Both artists express passionate sentiments that may make the viewer uncomfortable. A Monday reminder that polymer clay is not just for pretty.

Thanks to Italy’s Leila Bidler for the link to Andrew McCaffrey.

Kramer’s art in relief

New York’s Pat Kramer says that working with polymer clay art lets her preserve fleeting feelings, "how it feels to see the first flower bloom after a very long winter" and remembering "how warm the sun feels on a crisp cold fall day."

Most of her work is sculptural or in relief as in this pin and tile (right). She began her career as a watercolorist and started selling her polymer clay art eight years ago. Her style is an enjoyable departure from many of the usual techniques. You can see more of her works on her Etsy gallery.

Thanks for the tip goes to super web surfer, Susan Lomuto.

King’s inventive portraits

“Endlessly inventive” is what some call Arkansas’ Jay King who makes polymer clay heads that are remixes of other faces and molds of found objects. The hybrid personalities and the accompanying descriptions act like a fun house mirror. You may find yourself peering intently, trying to figure out the strange reflections.

I was particularly tickled by this one, called “Multitasker”.

But Jay doesn’t stop at visual jokes and stories, he also has a rollicking audio podcast. For the full treatment, visit his Flickr page and his blog. I lost myself in his artwork and I’ve completely forgotten how I got here. If you sent me the link, remind me so that I can credit you.

Have a rollicking weekend.

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Polymer squid and octopi

California’s Amy (aka SocietySedSo or BunnyXProductions) is taken with sea creatures and has created many jointed variations on this theme (including a zombie one and this gas-masked version) in many colors of polymer clay.

Her love of this species comes through in the color and detail she obviously enjoys adding to each tentacled necklace and squid pendant.

Amy’s in touch with her sunny side and makes graphic and flowery pendant designs as well.

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Whalen’s works combine art, craft, culture

California artist, Benji Whalen’s polymer clay works overlap art and craft and popular culture. His clay and fabric sculptures are absurd piles of human beings in fights with body parts sticking out. Optimism and pessimism, faith and dejection, humor and sadness are simultaneously present.

Whalen grew up among artists in a Vermont commune where he was exposed to an "art as sustenance" philosophy that still informs his identity as an artist. This "Hippie Totem" piece amuses me as I take off on a road trip to visit my free-spirited children.

The storm sirens are blaring, too loud for me to think. I’ll leave you to check out Whalen’s work on your own here and here. Thanks to Susan Lomuto for the link.

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Balian’s polymer clay saints

Marsha Balian is an Oakland, CA mixed media artist who only recently added polymer clay to her toolbox. This sculpture, called "Objects Smaller Than They Appear, the Patron Saint of Hindsight" combines a doll’s torso, polymer clay head, arms and legs, acrylic paint and varnish, copper wire. raffia, beads, fabric scrap on a wood base.

Her series of sculptures, reminiscent of the wooden saints seen in South America, are called "Household Saints of Dubious Virtue".

Balin shifted from painting to sculpture when she needed a portable media that would allow her to be closer to her husband who was ill. The humor she found in her art helped her through difficult times that she recounts here. She describes her art as an expression of affection for the quirkiness that is part of our everyday lives.

Thanks to Susan Rose for the link to this artist who’s new to our scene.

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LoopyBoopy sculptures

It’s time to check back in with LoopyBoopy, the Louisiana artist who sculpts wonderfully creepy polymer clay kids with marbles for eyes. Each is accompanied by a poignant story.

Colleen (no last name) says of her eerie sculptures, "I think people connect to their little tragedies personally and are perhaps drawn to them for this reason."

There’s a great interview with her on Win Crafty. "Most of my kids and their little stories come directly to me from my daughter’s daily wonderment, fears, nightmares and dreams." she says.

You can see more of Colleen’s work on Etsy, Trunkt and Flickr.

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Leslie Blackford and Ira Glass – Keep making art

I’m allowing myself an existential moment. And Leslie Blackford’s polymer clay figure says it all (the mask flips up to reveal a much less benign character).

I’m doing a little self-talk about how to be a studio artist. Who knew the prospect would panic me? Here’s a great little video piece by Ira Glass. It’s not my usual Friday fare but this is special.

I love the idea of closing the gap between your good taste and the quality of the work you produce. Have a special weekend.

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