Tag Archives: photography

Collaborative Alien Project: Who Are We?

Got my little butt into gear and finally plucked up the courage to ask Grant Herron (a fellow Jewellery student) about possibly collaborating as I heard he was into Film props. He was well up for it surprisingly so we went ahead and got started a couple of weeks later.

We decided to take our own interpretation on a Sci-Fi Film ‘Alien’ by Ridley Scott. Both of us thought we should create some kind of arm piece. Grant, being more experienced in electronics, designed the upper arm which consisted of small LEDs, a small rotating satellite dish and hinged parts. This is what I also wanted to learn from him. For me, well I went all out making a silicone corset forearm piece (as I’d never really played with the material before but was very keen to), a prosthetic glove with ribbed tubes and long hinged creepy fingers, all made from latex of course.

As we were both passionate about film, we discussed perhaps making a short film which would be able to present our piece on the body, moving and electronics in operation. For that we would need a storyboard:

My buddy filling in the storyboard

Here are photos from the making of our pieces:

Grant’s upper arm piece in the making. The circular piece with small tubes protruding from (right of picture) is the joint so I can allow movement like bending my elbow.

 

 

 

The satellite Grant made. Also some LED lights you were able to turn off and on.

This sequence of photographs is me attaching my prosthetic latex glove using Pros Aide glue. You can only really glue prosthetics in stages to make sure you have glued it on properly.

Still loose flapping bits of latex.

After repeatedly applying the glue all the latex should be attached to the skin with no loose parts.

Here is the whole of my lower arm piece put on. The fingers are divided into 3 and there are 2 hinged joints on each finger so they can move. The finger tips are square copper wire soldered together and I have created clear latex windows on each so light can pass through.

Below this you can see tubes extending down from the knuckles which are made from latex and copper wire and lastly the piece on the forearm is made from silicone.

The Silicone Piece

I had to create a mould in plaster to cast the silicone in. It is very weird and squishy to touch which I thought went well with the nature of this project.

The Facial Prosthetics

Just experimenting where it looks best. I thought it would look good to exaggerate the cheekbone.

Samples of prosthetics. They kind of look like slugs to me.

Attached only using the prosthetic glue. You can still see that the edges have not been blended with the skin but that comes next.

The beginning of the blending process… but you can see that later!

Here is me and Grant and a few other helpers on the set just setting and cleaning it up.

Day time

Night time

My 20th time trying to put in contacts

Final Make-up

Midnight on the set. So so cold! Kept my dressing gown on as long as possible!

Just altering a wee bit

Final arm in the dark

Movie making in process

One of the Stop Motion pictures

Final scene

Such a good experience. Think we’ll be collaborating again for our final year as I think it is good practice for the future. You can learn a lot from each other and take things a step further. For me, I want to go into Prosthetics as I see it diminishing due to Computer Aided Graphics (CGI). Yes it can be extremely useful for big things but with it, you lose that sense of actually holding and feeling the object as it is all done on computer. Some makers use it because they are just being lazy and it saves time, but some actually use it for good purpose. For instance, in The Matrix when Neo dodges the bullets, that is a good example of well-used CGI.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Luminous Jellyfish

Another very experimental project, following from my Anemone Project, working with fluorescent pigments and ultra-violet light.

Again, my inspiration came from my diving background. In particular, remembering hopping off the boat to go snorkeling and as soon as I got comfortable in the water I saw, what looked like, 8 or so blueish parallel sticks standing vertically underwater. Was very odd. However, as I tried to figure out why they were standing so vertical I noticed there was some kind of clear plastic thing floating above it. I instantly realised that, from the plastic bags’ square shape, it was a Box Jellyfish. Only one of the most poisonous and deadly creatures in the world! As I hurriedly finned to the boat, I shouted “There’s a bloomin’ great big Box Jellyfish in here don’t get in!”

And knowing my dad, he thought it would be good to catch it in our cool box and bring it back to our local Yacht Club to show the kids why stinger/wet suits were so important. My dad actually got stung by one of these bad boys around the ankle.

Anyway, I love seeing how jellyfish move in the water and the different colours they come in. They tend to have luminous tendrils and things that can actually blink to both ward of predators and attract prey. I wanted to investigate ways in which to make colour glow so invested in a UV light bulb which worked wonders! By the way, if you are looking for a UV bulb do NOT get a UV Saving Lamp 75W ES that looks like this:

They might be cheap but they definitely don’t give off UV light just purple light. Just a rip off.

Get one of these Blacklight, ultra violet lamp, low energy BC/B22 Bayonet Fitting High UV light intensity 20W:

These are more expensive, at £9.50 a pop, but are worth the money.

Here are my final pieces. I want to develop this project and make hovering jewellery pieces that look like they are floating with the tide around the body. However, I was really tight with time so made them interior hanging objects.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sea Anemone Project

My family are all scuba divers. I love being under the water it’s such a magical place! Feel like a mermaid. It’s brilliant. When I’m under I usually tend to touch things. It’s tempting when there’s colourful little feathery crawlies and wobbly jellies. Once, I got so into it I actually rubbed my face against a sea anemone and it ended up stinging me all over! Ouch. Yes – tip for today: maybe don’t touch things when you haven’t got a clue what it is. Following on from that, I based this project on sea anemones.

They are amazing underwater jellies that possess long wobbly tentacles which wave with the tide. Their colours are vibrant and can usually in groups competing for light just like land plants would do. I really wanted to capture this sense of cluster growth and bright colour, in addition to their strange jelly quality. Here are some of my sketches illustrating their bulbous forms, colour and alien-like features. Be prepared, some of them can be a bit… well, a bit suggestive in shape.

The last picture was my first sample in which I created 3-dimensional crevasses and little hints of colour. I was very pleased with the result as allowed me to think of all kinds of shapes –  the possibilities seemed endless! I even got excited about colour as you will see in my more developed samples below.

Once I got the hang of creating colourful alien-like forms. I tried envisioning pieces on the body. I took inspiration from the designers Lucy Mcrae & Bart Hess and Mi-Mi Moscow. They are both collaborative designers who make creative pieces adorned uniquely on the human form. I like adorning the body in unusual ways because I like morphication and changing the normal shape of the body. Almost like transforming people into underwater creatures themselves. This was my idea.

I wanted to emphasise growth and re-creating the human form. My final outcomes are a mix between final photographs and pieces, aimed to capture unfamiliar shapes and strange alterations to the body.

For my first solution I attached anemone tentacles to the ends of fingers – changing the length and proportion of the fingers to the rest of the body.

Next I created a simple ring with which protrude rather suggestive tentacles. I liked the contrast of the smooth reflective metal to the rubbery matt texture of the latex. The benefits of this ring is you can put on your jacket without worrying about the tentacles breaking off as they are extremely flexible.

Finally I transformed the shape of the back into a kind of extending dorsal fin. Little anemone branches sprout from the surface down the spine as if they were spreading. Long roots stretch across the back to stress this idea of hosting and the ‘taking-over’ of the body.

Next I’ll be looking at making luminescent creatures and incorporating bits of wire to make them look more intricate and delicate. Thanks for checking out some of my work!

http://www.BodyMod.org/flash/mymods.swf

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Research Project: Lauren Kalman

For this research project, we were asked to research allocated jewellery designers in-depth and create a piece inspired by their work and philosophies. I was given the multi-media and goldsmith artist Lauren Kalman.

Kalman was born in Cleveland Heights, and currently lives and teaches in Providence, Rhode Island. Her mother was a commercial photographer and her father, an industrial designer. Her parents are present in her work – as her objects for the body imply to ergonomics and industrial design.

Her Hard Wear series focuses on the struggle between the unrefined body and the desire for perfection. She believes gold symbolises beauty, purity and immortality because it is an expensive and valuable material. People have been wearing jewellery made of gold to emphasise these qualities and improve their desire for perfection. However, in contrast, Kalman makes the body look UNdesirable through applying gold to the body, highlighting disease and imperfections.

Kalman applies jewellery to the strangest of places, such as the inside corner of the eye, the inner ear and nostril. I believe through placing objects in these awkward places reveals hidden areas of the body. In addition, these jewels cause restriction and sometimes reactions. For instance, blocking one nostril through inserting jewellery makes it more difficult to breathe and the sprouting shape of the object must hurt and graze the nostril when you put it in. The Gold Duct piece, when place, causes you to cry because the gold is just about touching the eye itself and restricting you to blink, thus, drying the eye out.

Are these grillz as cool as pimped up rapper Flava Flav here? Or just gross? As you watch Kalman insert these gold veneers into her mouth, the effect is both intriguing yet repulsive as the veneers cause saliva to drip from her mouth. Imperfections begin to show. Thus, in the ‘Hard Wear’ series, Kalman is conveying the idea that beautiful and valuable materials such as gold and pearls can reveal undesirable qualities and imperfections on the body through distortion.

Blooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments 2009


In this series, pins are temporarily pierced into the skin to mimic infectious diseases. However, this temporary nature echoes the temporary visibility of diseases she portrays such as syphilis, warts, herpes, etc, which in time disappears from the skin’s surface, but sadly still lingers within the body. Her inspirations come from common images off the internet and medical resources, this is the reason for the compositions and close-up nature of Kalman’s images – trying to imitate photographs of medical infections.

I believe Kalman is emphasising that until the material of the infection is altered, grotesque becomes immediately beautiful. Even the colour of the embellishments, arrangement and monetary value convey these contrast because they are made of valuable materials, dotted evenly and balanced beautifully yet in the back of you mind you have got to remind yourself these are spots and disease. You may think a blistering rash is disgusting to look at, for example, but as soon as the glistening sores are replaced with lustrous pearls does it transform the appearance completely.

So yeah, from Kalman’s work I decided to take a similar approach but different theme and look at what food does to prevent certain diseases. In particular, I have focused on foods which actually look like the organ they help to protect.

For instance, a sliced carrot looks like the human eye and helps with the function of the eyes, improves vision and prevents infections such as cataracts.

Tomatoes have four chambers and is red just like the heart has four chambers. They can help with blood flow and prevent heart diseases such as coronary heart disease which is the narrowing of arteries.

But what I have taken interest in is the brain. Walnuts have gnarled folds just like the brain and are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which help with the development of the brain, thus, may assist in preventing dementia and brain aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia which includes the loss of memory. It leads to the development of protein ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ in the brain, resulting in the death of brain cells. So far Scientists are not absolutely sure of what causes Alzheimer’s disease. It could be age, inheritance or genetic factors. No

one is sure.

I took inspiration from Alzheimer’s cells and tried developing veiny shapes and alien-like forms to convey inner body organs and cells. I liked the idea of something growing out of the body like roots of a tree, spindly wrapping tendrils to emphasise a feeling of growth and never letting go. Like Alzheimer’s, it worsens over time and once you have it, you have got it for time.

The cells under a micro-scope were beautiful to look at, yet transmitted a nasty disease. I carried out samples using resin, experimenting with different colours similar to that of Alzheimer’s cells. The colours, to me, looked ultraviolet, like they glowed. Thus, I sampled using bits of UV acrylic and bright pigments to achieve colours I was happy with to give the idea of nuclei and cell-like qualities.

Sensation in this project was important to me. The first thought that came into my head of a nasty growth was something sticky, fleshy, and when touched would remain on your hands as if it was trying to pass onto someone else. Trying to grow and spread. I immediately thought LATEX. It possessed these rubbery-like qualities which would be perfect for what I wanted to achieve. I experimented with colours but preferred the clear stuff as it seemed more cell-like to me.

I attached the resin bits to the latex and created vein-like patterns by cutting holes into the rubber. I experimented with burning to achieve dark crisp sticky edges. The reason why I darkened the latex was because it would create more of a contrast on the skin, but yet retained that transparent quality. The natural latex was too similar to the colour of the skin, it would not be seen in the photographs and would reflect light too much, thus my decision. In addition, the melted latex would stick and feel more repulsive when attached to the skin, when taken off it would leave oil residue on the skin which emphasises the idea of dormant disease.


This is my final piece. I am pleased with the sensation and idea of my piece, however, the colour is not fully to my liking. I tried to find a way to make  the latex UV but the paint was expensive. Hopefully my piece conveys an impression of growth and spreading through the appearance of it placed on the body.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,