When researching for this project, I didn't have many ideas in mind, other than using something that was reminiscent of a child's toy. I ended up trying out a few different toys and settled on a Sock Monkey.
The process is fairly simple which includes taking the found object, burying it partway in a bed of oil sand and encasing that object with wood up to 1" above the object (and below) and dusted with graphite/talc. Afterward, resin sand is cast into the mold to create the first negative of the two part mold. Afterward, the oil sand is taken off, talc/graphite is applied again, and the box is adjusted to be 1" above the object again. Resin sand is poured again to make the second negative of the mold. The mold is then sanded smooth, parted gently (with wood, and mallet) and then the object is taken out. The mold is then brushed clean and vents and spouts are created with sharp tools on one side for the air to escape and the metal to come through. The mold is then air sprayed, then brushed with denatured alcohol/graphite mixture. Then, it is set on fire with a torch to get rid of impurities. After this, the mold is glued together around the edges with construction adhesive and a cup (that has been made out of a block of resin sand) is placed on the spout. with more construction adhesive. Paper towels are then glued in place over the spout to prevent more impurities from coming in.
Next up is taking off the flashing from the cast sculpture which is where the two sand blocks met, but metal got in the seam.
Here are the tools used to chisel the flashing away!
Once the sock monkey was sandblasted and all cleaned up, it was time to create a base and a pedestal for him to stand on and lean against.
Based on my concept, I wanted to create a large-scale painting for the monkey to be "viewing."
To Be Him, 2018
24" x 22" x 19"
cast aluminum, wood, latex paint
Here he is in his glory, along with the painting - in his own gallery-like setting.
I wanted this piece to be a reflection. The sock monkey looking at a large image of a realistically rendered monkey, in this case, a gorilla to play off the idea of childhood/naivety and adulthood/maturity, but also of society and individuals. The sock monkey is symbolic of the naivety of youth and playfulness while the gorilla is symbolic of regality, strength, and grace. At the same time, the sock monkey is obviously inanimate, stiff and lacking vibrance. He wants to be something that he can never be - a real, functioning ape.
I hope that the audience takes away the idea that we are constantly shown ideas of what life should look like - what "monkeys do," but that it is just for show and that is not how life really is.
Moving forward, I will likely paint the sock monkey and further refine the pedestal (perhaps adding a smaller piece to it) and perhaps further refine the painting as well.
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