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Bad JuJu

on March 25, 2013 - 8:24am

I am breaking my tradition of starting my show/convention season in late summer, and have signed up to do Art-O-Con in Burlington on May 5th. It's a new convention of really talented local artists with interests ranging from science fiction, to monster goodness, to things of strange and quirky beauty. If you - like me - love FanExpo best for artist alley, and seeing leagues of storm troopers and daleks hanging about, then you need to come out to this event. Besides, with a title like Art-O-Con II: the Wrath of Con, how can you resist?

Since this event is taking place so very far away from the leave-strewn season of hallowed Halloween, I wanted to make sure I had some smaller items on the table that might be more widely embraced than, say,  pumpkins during a month when more people are thinking about what to plant in their garden or how they'll fit into a summer dress rather than plotting Halloween celebrations (though really, who are these people and why are their priorities so skewed? *wink*).

That is how I came up with a collection of Bad JuJu figures. Talismans, if you will. Not quite voodoo dolls, but with all the hoodoo potential a ghoul might want. Adorned with feathers and fur (some with twine, or beads, or black rope), each hand sculpted figure sits upon a uniquely decorated open crate. People can leave the crate as is, or they can remove the paper filler and replace it with their own superstitious bits and bobs: some chicken bones, a lost tooth, some beach glass, little skulls, whatever they like. 

Since I'm planning on keeping one for myself (I think it's important artists keep one example of a collection they made), I might fill it with a bunch of items and have it on display to encourage people to get creative with their new purchase.

So take a look at the additional pictures below, and tell me what you think.

Did you know it's actually quite challenging to paint detailing that is purposely not neat while trying not to have an overall sloppy look?

I found myself repainting lines. "Too perfect. Too messy. Too perfect. Too messy."

So what inspired these figures? I have been a long time fan of the black and white film Freaks for many years. The one image that always gave me shivers was of the gentleman who had no arms or legs. When you are first introduced to him, he strikes you as a guy you could have a beer with. But put a knife in his mouth and have him slither his way through the mud on a dark, rainy night, with vengence in his can see how that changes things. 

I started sculpting little bodies that echoed his shape to some degree, but then pushed their detailing into a more sinister/less human appearance than the man himself, and tried to convey the feeling he gave me versus what he actually looked like.

The idea for the primitive decoration came as an afterthought, really. Sometimes ideas are like that. "Oh THAT is what you're meant to be? Ha! How did I miss that?"



bloody melly's picture

I love them! Especially the little black and white one on the bottom right. He kinda reminds me of a sock monkey!
I went looking around the 'net for you the other day because I had seen/heard anything for so long. Hope you and the fam and Monkey Boo are well

Ghoul Friday's picture

Thanks Mel! Yeah, I fell off the radar completely there, didn't I? If you ever get to REALLY worry, check my twitter account. If I haven't posted there in a week, something has gone wrong :)

Everybody is doing well here. A little stressed but nothing catastrophic. I hope you and yours are good too! 


Bonnie (aka RoxyBlue)'s picture

These little guys are adorable in a creepy tribal voodooish way:)

PumpkinBrain's picture

Wow, great work, I love them all. Especially the top right one. So inspiring...

Michele's picture

First time visiting your site. Love the idea of something ghoul-esque but not so tightly paired with Halloween. My favorites are the last set.

I stitch more than sculpt but can totally relate to the messy/too messy/too neat circle. I always try to make everything so perfect. But, perfect looks perfect and not artistic. Stray a little from perfectness and it shows like a glaring spotlight - "Hey, look, that stitch is too long and it's crooked!!!" Lately, I've been trying to go more crooked and color outside of the lines. It's fun but a challenge to balance the appearance of straight with being freeform. I like my results. And, I like yours' too.

Ghoul Friday's picture

When it comes to stitching, ALL of my work is too messy so I envy you on that front ;) 

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