In his embryonic state, the Boy began as a collection of found objects: old silver goblet, ceramic head reject, odd-lot creamer, vintage soda cap, broken jewelry. Sculpy clay was the facilitator that brought the disparate pieces together and, after baking in the oven, the Boy emerged whole and ready to be king whenever the call came. (Figure 1)
I fell in love with my strange new sculptural assemblage. The Boy Who Would Be King may have been small but he had a very large personality. He continued to enchant visitors until the vacuum cleaner incident. With a careless sweep of the suction head, his pedestal wobbled and, like Humpty Dumpty, he took a great fall.
I repaired him but he was never going to be the same. But I had become very fond of him and didn’t want this to be a premature ending for a character that had shown so much promise. So I digitally photographed him and, using a PhotoShop feature, I altered the image by painting on it and brought him back to life.
In his new life, he existed as an original within my computer. I began to try out all the PhotoShop tools on him and selected the “poster” filter, added new coloring and lighting, then finished the piece with manual drawing using my computer mouse. This version brought out the Boy’s querulous, pouty side. Hands on hips, he looked mightily miffed but, at what, he wasn’t sure.
I was quite happy with this new digital fine art print, but I knew more could be done to fulfill the Boy’s potential. With acrylic paint on gallery-wrapped canvas, he became even more brilliant, more obsessed with self-importance. I used a kind of baroque styling on his costume and crown. In a nod to the original assemblage, I attached a soda cap, sea shell, stars and a bit of old earring to enhance his festive look. Now this was a Boy with attitude, and he knew exactly what he wanted!
I decided to create a series of paintings based on the life of this character. The second in this series has the Boy Who Would Be King putting his wooden soldiers through their paces. One has definitely fallen down on the job – and he is not pleased.
So he struts about, practicing his royal demeanor, preparing himself to sit on the throne. He is always ready to take over his father’s kingly duties if called upon (and always wondering how long he must wait).
From a box of found objects came an assemblage which, in turn, was the inspiration for a digital fine art piece that blossomed into an acrylic painting and a series. So the moral of this story has to be: if you discover a character, place, shape or texture that takes hold of you, just go with the flow – the journey will be worth it!