Horrors of Paper-mache (or how I taught myself to make balloon animals)

More about school because that’s all I do these days; I also took a painting class. It was quaintly called “Painting 2” and was intended to explore and strengthen the art of painting in those of us lucky enough to pass “Painting 1”.

In truth, the class was more like “Define painting however the heck you want, but just make something awesome. I don’t care how you do it.”

Hence, one of my last projects ended up being a sculptural “painting”.  After my recent excursions with string, the medium was still on my mind. And somehow paper-mache seemed like a pretty good idea too (I believe I was suffering from a cold around this time). But paper-mache-ing string over a regular old round balloon was boring, I had to be NEW and EXCITING.

15 hours, several yards of string, a cup of flour, some glue, water, and too many popped balloon animals later, I got this. I spray painted it blue because the original white of the string was not working for me.

He (the above string mass in the shape of a balloon dog if you couldn’t tell) turned out better than I thought he would. But, I had this structure, but now what? I couldn’t just leave it like that.

So, I added something inside (which was reaaaaally hard to get a picture of).

Since it’s kind of hard to make out whatever the heck is in this picture, I’ll help out. Basically, there are two white feathers surrounding a small silver charm of a bird, suspending in the middle of the structure via use of clear thread, which happens to be more invisible than invisible thread. Such a pain to work with, but worth it.

The meaning is a tad complex and sadly hard for even me to understand (and I made it, I know). The structure of a well-known icon among children, a balloon animal/dog, has been created to be a “nest” of some sort to protect the small precious thing inside. In this case, the small precious thing is the innocence of childhood; a state that is not yet “corrupt” by the society around it. Yet, the nest is very fragile (seriously, one squeeze and this puppy is a mangled mess), thus showing how, regardless of efforts to guard it, child innocence and naivety can be easily destroyed.

For those who like to inquire deeper into art theory, you may ask “Why is this considered a painting?”

“Because I painted it.” would be my elitist snob artist response (I did paint it though!).  Though, I like to think that the process was more like “painting” with string-mache rather than “constructing”. This is my main reason for considering it a painting. Most likely though, I’ll use the generic terms of “made” or “created” when referring to this piece (or rather “this is my work”), but I’d avoid “sculpted” or “constructed” since I don’t consider it a sculpture.

But for those who don’t care about that, I hope it’s at least pleasant to look at. Most people found it rather “cute”, which could be good or bad, depending how you look at it. 🙂


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Filed under Art and illustration, General sort of posting

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