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Richard Downs
Working in Wire part 4
posted:
Couple #289 | Braided Steel Wire | 39” x 17” x 5” | 2014

Here are 2 new Braided Wire Sculptures from my Couples Series. These were both created for the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery in Santa Barbara. These are so much fun to make that I am finding it hard to stop. They are also so light that they ship really easily and I build my crates/boxes out of recycled appliance boxes that I get from a Sears outlet up here. I have included some production shots of the work in progress.

All of these pieces start with cardboard templates. I start with drawing the contour of the male without arms until the proportions look good and then with the red marker I just made the woman a little smaller. This technique helps the figure proportions work together. I found that trying to draw the figures independently from each other was slow and inaccurate. The wire is so springy that I weigh it down to tie off the main shapes.
The arms are now cut out of cardboard and used as templates once they look good.
Couple #289 detail | Braided Steel Wire | 39” x 17” x 5” | 2014 | The faces are only 5" tall
Couple #289 | Braided Steel Wire | 39” x 17” x 5” | 2014
 
The piece below,  Couple #288 was inspired after Couple #276 that was selected by the Crocker Art Museum for their 2014 art auction.
Here is my work table while I was building Couple #288. I use gloves when I mechanically braid the wire and sometimes when I am working but I always tape the joints of my index fingers and thumbs with gorilla tape. I learned early on in making these that I was unknowingly thrashing my fingers after one long day of work I went to start my car and just turning the key was painful and it was pretty scary. I started taping the joints and all is good now.
Couple #288. Getting the proportions down in cardboard.
Once I got the woman's head blocked out I checked the fit of the mans head
The mans head before he was surgically installed.
Couple #288 detail | Braided Steel Wire | 38” x 19” x 9” | 2014
Couple #288 | Braided Steel Wire | 38” x 19” x 9” | 2014
All images | Richard Downs © 2014
The Shower
posted:

This is my latest private commission called “The Shower”. It is based on a piece that a couple had found on my website that they both loved, but it was sold. The inspiration for the painting is “Woman #73”, a woman taking a shower. I told them that I could do a similar piece in the same spirit and they went for it.

 

I am starting to do more private commissions so I have updated my website to include information on my commission process here.

 

Richard Downs

Working in Wire part 3
posted:
Man #285 | Braided Annealed Wire | 25” x 11” x 7” | 2014 | available through elizabethgordongallery.com

 

Here are a few of my recent projects that I have happening.

 

I am starting to do more and hopefully more private commissions for paintings which have been a lot of fun. All of these paintings have been based on paintings that have sold that a client has wanted to purchase but being unavailable I suggest doing another piece in the same spirit and show them samples of similar projects and talk with them about the process. 

 

In these new wire pieces it is the first time that I have incorporated color into the work. Introducing color into these pieces has opened up a dialogue of why and what if's? So far I have enjoyed mixed reviews from my galleries that stem mostly from my break from traditional patina's and coloration but I am a big fan of crowd sourcing opinion and I appreciate hearing all of it so it will be interesting to see how they do in San Diego. 

Venus - detail | 13” wide x 24” tall x 12” deep | Braided Steel Wire and Spray Paint | 2014
Mars - detail | 14” wide x 24” tall x 13” deep | Braided Steel Wire and Spray Paint | 2014
.

The “Oakland” episode of me working with Canadian Travel Television host Kevin Cullen,  the Motorhead Traveler. My work was selected by the tourism boards, Visit California and Visit Oakland to work with Cullen to create his self portrait in steel wire to help promote the arts in Oakland, CA.   the Transmission Gallery  March 2014

the Motorhead Traveler and his self portrait. Together we made this piece in a one day 9 hour working marathon. I couldn't take more than a single break to make sure that we would finish the piece before nightfall.
Mars | 14” wide x 24” tall x 13” deep | Braided Steel Wire and Spray Paint | 2014
Venus | 13” wide x 24” tall x 12” deep | Braided Steel Wire and Spray Paint | 2014

“Venus” and “Mars” are 2 new sculptures that I created for a group show #ArtExpoSD taking place July 24-26 at the Wonder Bread Factory in San Diego during ComicCon. This show is curated by Mark Murphy.

Venus and Mars cardboard faces used for proportions.
Venus and Mars on my worktable
Woman #284 | Braided Annealed Wire | 23” x 12” x 7" | 2014 | available through elizabethgordongallery.com

I am very happy to say that my work is now represented by the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery. It is great showing with other artists that share an aesthetic similar to my own and I really like the other artists work. E.G.G. is located one block from the beach in Santa Barbara Ca. On your next visit to SB go check them out and say hi!

 

Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, 15 West Gutierrez, Santa Barbara, Ca 93101, 805 963 1157.

Private commission in progress based on the painting on left "Woman #73". Final art will be 19" x 24" oil on birch panel. Commissioned as an anniversary gift. Approved pencil drawing on the right.
Private commission in progress based on the painting on left "Couple #46". Final art will be 12" x 15" oil on birch panel. A celebratory painting for a couples baby boy who is turning 1. Approved pencil drawing on the right.
The Fountain | 12" x 15" x 2" | Mixed Media on Birch | 2014
Baby Tobias | in progress
Private commission in progress based on the Monotype on the left "Couple #217". Final art will be 12" x 15" oil on birch panel. Commissioned as an anniversary gift. Approved pencil drawing on the right.

All images | Richard Downs © 2014 | Motorhead Traveler © 2014 

Working in Wire part 2
posted:
Oskar Schlemmer (1888 – 1943) German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer at the Bauhaus school. Thanks out to Mark Fisher for turning me on to his work and the website listed below.
Here are some of my latest projects in steel wire. It was nice to finish Mark Murphy's commission and to have one of these pieces selected by the Crocker art museum for their 2014 exhibit and art auction. You can view more of the incredible work by Oskar Schlemmer on this very cool website.  
Couple #283 | Braided Annealed Wire | 40" x 18" x 23" | 2014 | Private commission Mark Murphy | Woman's head spins freely within the mans head
Couple #283 | Braided Annealed Wire | 40" x 18" x 23" | 2014 | Private commission Mark Murphy | Woman's head spins freely within the mans head
Detail of Couple #283 | Braided Annealed Wire | 40" x 18" x 23" | 2014
Design work and Maquette for Couple #283
Crocker art museum | 2014 Art Auction | Exhibit May 22 - June 7, 2014 | Couple #276 | Braided Annealed Wire | 17" x 38" x 8" | 2013
If you would like to bid on my steel wire sculpture at the Crocker art museum please click here.
Detail | Couple #276 | Braided Annealed Wire | 17" x 38" x 8" | 2013
Woman #284 | Braided Annealed Wire | 19" x 12" x 7" | 2014 | available through Richard Downs
Man #285 | Braided Annealed Wire | 12" x 11" x 7" | 2014 | available through Richard Downs
Woman #286 | Braided Annealed Wire | 32" x 16" x 7.5" | 2014 | available through the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery | elizabethgordongallery.com
Man #287 | Braided Annealed Wire | 35" x 16" x 10" | 2014 | available through the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery | elizabethgordongallery.com
The Kayaker | Braided Annealed Wire | 25" x 20" x 11" | 2014 | This piece was designed either hang flat on the wall like he is going down a waterfall or it can also hang from a cable from the top of his head or sit on a pedestal | available
The Kayaker detail | Braided Annealed Wire | 25" x 20" x 11" | 2014
The Kayaker | View from ceiling mount | Braided Annealed Wire | 25" x 20" x 11" | 2014
The Paddle Boarder | Braided Annealed Wire | 35" x 31" x 10" | 2014 | This piece was designed to either hang flat on the wall and it is balanced so it can also hang from a cable from the top of her head
The Paddle Boarder detail | Braided Annealed Wire | 35" x 31" x 10" | 2014
All images | Richard Downs © 2014 
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