Headless O'Treaty

Bone by glued bone, he rises from the dead "blucky" parts bin. I'm pretty happy with him so far, but now we enter the dark times on a prop. When I might loose steam from the initial creative burst and can get distracted by a new idea. Such was the fate of the poor Franken-Switch in the background looking just as it did week's ago when last worked on. However, the new ideas that distracted me from it were actual paying jobs, so I'm not feeling bad about it.

O'Treaty's Top Hat

I custom made Patrick O'Treaty's top hat, as opposed to trying to find something that would work, so it would be the perfect fit and closer looking to the silly, overly tall one from the sketch.

As usual, it's a cheap-o budget prop. Foam core for the frame, then wrapped with glued on tin foil. I wanted it to be beat up and well worn looking, so this kind of crude, imperfect construction actually helps. 

After painting it a dark green and adding a band/bow made from ripped strips of heavy black fabric, it was coated in spray glue and I literally shook handfuls of dirt from the backyard over it. I finished it with a fall leaf where a feather might go.

Zombie Hands

My zombie hands are made from Crayola Model Magic. I sculpt each finger bone and palm. Once dry, all are threaded together with wire. Not only is this a fast and fun way to make them with instant creative satisfaction, but incredibly lightweight allowing for some really expressive gestures.

They're no where near scientifically accurate, but when your graveyard residents are cartoony looking like mine, anatomical artistic liberties are allowed.

65 Days 'til Halloween: Patrick O'Treaty the Graveyard Keeper

A sketch of a character currently being assembled in my ghastly, grim garage.

Although I've posted numerous doodles of possible residents in the past for my lawn that are yet to be realized, Patrick O'Treaty spilled onto a sketchbook page last night and I immediately grabbed the hot glue gun and started making him a reality. He's the perfect greeter standing at the entrance to the graveyard, a sort of creepy host to the haunt.

Many October yard artisans have created great ghost stories behind their entire Halloween themed temporary art installations. I love that. Last year, I posted simple tales thought up for a few props, but I've yet to fully imagine the saga that explains the whole yard.

I believe Patrick O'Treaty knows that story and wants to tell it. Hopefully as I build him, he'll share it with me.

Creative Inspiration: Illustrator Bob Peak

 I first learned his name when I fell in love with the movie poster for Excalibur long ago in the '80s (which was then and still is, one of my top ten favorite films). The return of traditionally illustrated movie posters is long overdue I think. These images are as memorable and legendary as the films they were created for.

68 Days 'til Halloween: The Heckler

On my list of things that I love every Halloween is the kid "heckler".

It's the one Trick or Treater you can hear coming from the end of the driveway announcing themselves with statements like...

 "This ain't scary!"

Up close, they do some annoying head shaking dance while chanting...

"Oooo Frank-en-stupid, you're soooooo scary."

Of course they still want candy, but instead of saying "trick or treat" they act as if it's a showdown...

"What ya gonna do Frankenstein? HUH? I'm taking the candy! Come on, you gonna stop me?

I give them the candy, just to move things along. Next, they usually stand off to the side and heckle for a few minutes or so, reveling in their perceived victory over the monster. I wait patiently, doing nothing.

Once they grow bored and decide to move on I strike. When they turn around to leave, I stand up and walk fast, but quietly, catching up to them. When literally inches from their heels, I'll silently follow until they spin around sensing a presence and see me towering above them.

The heckler always... ALWAYS... shrieks and runs scared down the block.

Revenge is a dish best served stealthily.

71 Days 'til Halloween: Monster Eye Evolution

Most ideas start with a sketch. The first incarnation of this prop was a smaller creature made in 1996 (I know I have a picture of, but still looking for). This doodle was well after that creation depicting the ideal version.

Halloween 2000. Pressed for time, I went with a clunky robotic looking neck.

Halloween 2004. A makeover which fell apart shortly before being finished. A pity because it was looking far closer to the original concept.

Halloween 2006. I went Great Stuff foam crazy. It was planned to be part of a larger radioactive dump idea with many more canisters strewn about, but never happened.

Halloween 2007. Dressed it up with ivy and placed in a garden pot. Actually turned out looking pretty good especially adding a few more potted plants around him.

Halloween 2008. Moved the monster eye idea into a window becoming a cool illusion that it follows you. For details on that, click here.

The eye took a break in 2009. Halloween 2010? I'm thinking about combining the original idea with the moving eye illusion version creating a new character. We shall see.

My New Boat

Niece Devin recently took courses in a summer long children's art program. She chose to study ceramics, jewelry making and woodworking. I attended the last day presentations for family members were the kids showed off their projects and talked about what they learned. To my surprise, she had made me this little boat in woodworking.

She pointed out the glued on details and proudly told me...

"It's stuff I found in the scrap pile".

73 Days 'til Halloween: Looking Back

My temporary Halloween themed public art installation, also known as a yard haunt, back in 2000.
This was literally thrown together in a couple of hours one afternoon a day or so before the 31st. Everything had been at my girlfriend's condo where we hosted a Halloween party the weekend before.

The sitting ghost mannequin was a favorite of mine. Her simple customizing (just paint, some draped fabric and hollowed out eyes with a light bulb shoved in her head) looked good and creepy in the low light. The open bench space made a fun photo-op for a few folks that night. I acquired her through my Mom in '98, who was working for Robinson May Co. at the time. They were closing down their Sherman Oaks department store and getting rid of old display stuff. She was missing an arm and had numerous cracks... no, not my Mom, the mannequin.

She was actually one of two figures I was able to get, the other became my False Maria aka Spooky Robot Lady who still haunts our dining room every October. I ended up selling the "sitting ghost" at a garage sale when I moved to a new place and I've regretting it ever since.

This mummy and coffin were dressing for Sci Fi Channel's SCI FI Buzz, a set I designed years before. Both props have long since fallen apart and just crumbled away. As a matter of fact, the electric chair that I use every year (and you can sort of see silhouetted on the porch in the top picture) is the only remaining prop I have from that show. I'll never get rid of it and try to keep it in good shape, as both a great Halloween decoration and nice memory from the series.

The Area 51 alien eye was the one all new prop I had made that Halloween. It's still around today, but it's gone through numerous stages of evolution over the years. It's last appearance was 2007 as a one eyed plant type creature.

My zombies back then were just painted "bluckys" with minimal, if any, customizing. Parts of these guys have been used in some of the undead characters I've made in recent years. The gravestones were last minute additions I knocked out really fast using chunks of leftover upholstery foam from a job and pieces of old drywall panels.

My Cabinet of Curiosities: A Little Princely Sword

This is the latest acquisition for my cabinet of curiosities - a princely sword. This tiny weapon cannot be linked to any known world culture or period. Interestingly enough, it seems to be made from particular elements found only in asteroids, but no metallurgists or archaeologists can confirm this for sure. What are the facts are on it's old label. Click images to enlarge.

I realized it had been awhile since I created a new prop for my children's story themed oddities and this idea, inspired by The Little Prince, has been in my head for some time. I took it's design directly from the illustration by author Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

The blade is foamcore, The hand guard is one half a $.99 cent "candy ball" found at a party store. The grip is a cut dowel wrapped 3 times in felt which once painted has a nice rotting leather look (string pulled tight around it creates the ribbing). The pommel is a plastic Xmas ornament. All was given a faux rust treatment with acrylics. The label was done in Photoshop, printed and aged with coffee.

It think it's a fun addition to the Bumble tooth, Sleepy Hollow horseshoe. Capt. Hook hand and Washington denture.

Creative Inspiration: Hillary Scott

I've just discovered this artist via John Rozum's blog. Not only is the "collection of curiosities" theme of Scott's work (for the show he's working on in this video) right up my alley, but the low budget materials he uses brings a huge smile to my face. Look for the googly eyes as rivets, I've used them for that exact purpose as well on projects.

Creative Inspiration: Pronoun Trouble

A classic moment from a Chuck Jones directed Looney Tunes.

Happy Friday the 13th!

In celebration of this special day, here's a small portfolio of past Jason inspired cartoons from Para Abnormal (including today's new one).

Creative Inspiration: The Agony and the Ecstasy

These scene from the film encompasses everything one might experience beginning a new project. The amazement of being hired. The possibilities of what it could be. The self doubt. The offer of very little money to do.

August Began In Akron For A Sliming

Just came home from a four day trip to Akron Ohio where I made slime and art directed a mini stage show version of BrainSurge for LeBron James' annual Bike-A-Thon charity event. I'm in the these pictures, but don't try looking for me though... I'm behind the logo on the curtain, holding the ladder for the basketball star.

Props for GingerDEAD Man 3

Scratch one of the nerd/geek career bucket list. I've just designed and created a few intentionally campy props for a Full Moon movie... Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver.

Although an extremely fun project to do, there was little time and little budget. Which of course are restrictions I'm well experienced working under. What money didn't buy was found in my stash of junk. Another argument in favor of my pro-hoarding lifestyle.

Time machine prop...

Time machine remote control...

Roller disco "Skate Wheel Cleaner" barrel...