The artist vaulting over a balcony

I’m half way through my final life-size model. Here is the initial sketch idea.

The piece was inspired by walking around the college and finding a suitable dramatic location. – the central staircase. A friend suggested the idea and I liked it immediately as it worked on several levels. Including referencing a famous photograph by Yves Kline:

I used the same method and filmed video footage and modelled this in Poser.

One of the problems of the piece was how do the hands attach to the balcony? This is a major point of weight distribution so has to be modeled accurately. Unfortunately Poser doesn’t allow you to fix hands in place across a pose, so after roughly fixing them by eye I had to export the model in two parts. The body and the hands seperatly. The hands could then be tidied in Rhino to fit the balcony and then added back into the finished 3D model.

I’ve decided to make this action continuous – or as continuous as possible (consisting of 80 frames). So all the space passed through is modelled. This creates a more fluid form, paradoxically also more static. I may paint this figure realistically too, so you can see the facial features. I’m pleased with the form – it reminds me of a flamenco dancer. This type of reading is not available to analysis until the sequence is actually modelled, which makes the process somewhat perilous, but at the same time exciting.

A big advantage of the continuous decision was that the slices for the model are much simpler to cut out although the large size has made it slower – the slices are larger than the card so need to be broken into segments – still 1 month of construction looks possible.

I built a maquette to try and figure out how to break the model down. It doesn’t balance on its own so I’ll have to consider some struts or suspension to secure it.

When making the model I’m considering several factors

1) Accuracy – I’m trying to make them as accurate as I can
2) Time – I only have 1 month per model
3) Weight – I need to be able to break apart, transport and rebuild the models.
4) Materials – I’m trying to waste less cardboard.
5) Strength – The model needs to be durable

The previous half-size model was made from solid layers of card. As this model is twice as large I’ve reduced weight and material usage by hollowing out the layers – and also on the really large parts missing out every other layer (using support strips instead). I’m confident that the papier mache will smooth over these gaps.


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