Sunday, February 1, 2015

Touch Down!

It's that time again...

For this installment I thought I would break down how I made a dead couch potato. I may have been a bit ambitious with this one, although I feel there's some room for improvement it was a fun project. I titled this piece, "ZombieSlob" and it was inspired when my mom had given me this old jewelry case that was made to look like a miniature couch. The miniature TV actually broadcasts whatever is within the zombie's field of vision! Let me tell you how I did it.

Let's begin with the head. For the head I used a resin casting of a sculpture I had. I used a dremel tool to shape the face and grind away parts for that zombie-rot look. Below you can see the markings I made after I already had a shape I liked.

Here you see the couch that was originally a jewelry case. I stuck the head on an armature and sculpted some hands out of sculpey, then sat him down to help envision the piece. The first prop I made was the bag of chips. Simply printed a picture of the bag I downloaded from the internet, cut out the window on the front of it and laminated it with clear packing tape. I pinched the bottom shut and crimped the bag to appear more realistic.

To make the chips I folded some sandpaper in half and glued it together back to back. Then I painted it orange and cut it into small triangle shapes. They look tasty, but I wouldn't eat them if I were you...

Here's a photo to show the scale (along with some other props of pieces I was working on at the time).

In the background you can see the coffee table I made out of wood. To make the television I used a small cardboard box. At first, I was going to make the television a more modern version. I placed a small block on the back of the box and heat formed a piece of fun foam. Then I cut the vents by burning slots into it. The result was satisfactory,

I made the front panel of the TV in a similar way. But it was not to be. I ended up changing the style of the television into a boob-tube from a previous era. I still thought it was interesting enough to include in this presentation and I still used the front panel for the final version.

At the time, I had a couple of Haunted Mansion tribute pieces in the works so I painted them all at the same time. In the end, I did end up changing the sculpture of the zombie's face a bit but I sat him down on the couch to see how he was coming along.

Then I finally got the TV antenna attached and cut a wooden dowel to make that legs for the TV stand. You can see them laying on the rug. The rivets were used to hold on the aluminum tube at the foot of each leg. You can also see the aluminum frame I made to shape the screen to appear more like a vintage television.

Incidentally, I used silicone to make the buttons on the remote control.

Alright! I got the TV stand together and coffee table set up. The remote control is in hand and we're almost ready to party!

But first I had to add some of the other miniature props. You can see the miniature monitor that I will use for the television and the miniature camera which is that little black thing hanging on the arm of the couch near the center of the picture below.

If I had planned this out better in the beginning I would have cast this resin head to be hollow. Instead, I had to cut out a notch from the back of his head then hollow it out with the dremel tool in order to fit the miniature camera inside his head. Below you can see how I fit the camera into his head and ran the wire through his neck. You can also see the cables hanging out of the couch where they're hidden under the cushions and within it. 

Here's the cap that I re-attached to the back of his head once I had the camera secure.

The camera view is aimed out from the zombie's bulging left eye. You can see him looking at my studio on the screen placed in the cardboard TV box. Note the face of the television laying on the rug below. 

If you look closely on the TV, you can see he's checking out a painting I was working on at the time. Hey, don't sit on the back of the couch, troublemaker!

I made some small props to decorate the coffee table.

I got him this far, with the working TV and whatever, but the piece still wasn't slobby enough.  So I decided to add some stains here and there and make the place an utter mess. 

Here's the back view of the vintage looking TV. It's never plugged in... and yet it broadcasts!

After I added the mess, I went ahead and added hair to the zombie. I was going to make it more sparse at first but kinda like the color so I left it the way it was.

Below you can see where the power outlet and camera power plug into the back of the couch to operate the TV.

 In front of the miniature monitor I added a magnifying panel to accentuate the look. I heat formed it to bulge outward like an old TV would. You can sell these panels in stores for people to magnify the print when they're reading. For the other details like the speakers and dials, I just kit-bashed some old model parts I had.

And here is a picture of the reworking of the face. I prefer the jagged teeth.

As you can see, TV rots your brain.

You can click this link to see a short video of this piece on YouTube:


If you're in need of a professional photographer I recommend the work of John Calpin: