Sampling: A Showcase of Fanciful Figures
The Sampling section of our September/October 2010 issue offers a showcase of fanciful figures. The included artists create very narrative pieces that often approach the world with fun and their own sense of humor. Here we share additional work by each artist.
Jan Huling received her BFA from Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri. She started her career designing greeting cards and has worked in product design. She is also a children’s book author (Puss in Cowboy Boots [New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002], with her illustrator husband, Phil Huling) and will have a second book out next year. A little more than a year ago she became a full-time “beadist.”
She loves to laugh and likes to look at the humorous side of life. Her patterns are neither sketched nor planned. Her work is inspired by a continuing fascination with indigenous and popular culture and world religions. By juxtaposing icons with an eclectic assortment of objects, the viewer is challenged to consider common images within an altered context. The dolls she frequently includes in her work explore dreams of childhood removing them from the realm of cherished playthings. www.janhuling.com.
Bunqee, 2010; beads, mixed media; 10" x 5½" x 5".
Image courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York.
QeeSahib, 2010; beads, mixed media; 19½" x 15" x 12" inches.
Image courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York.
New York artist Don Porcella creates whimsical and subversive sculptures and installations using pipe cleaners. He received a BFA in painting and drawing from California College of the Arts in San Francisco and an MFA in painting and drawing from Hunter College, New York; he also has a BA in psychology from the University of California at San Diego in LaJolla. Growing up in suburban California, Porcella draws from his experience of “strip malls and shopping mall culture.” His strong interest in comics and the absurd reflects the influence of the many science fiction writers living in the San Francisco Bay area. The handmade quality of his work and “non-traditional modes of art making,” along with his appreciation of folk art and outsider art, comes in part from the influence of his parents; his mother Yvonne Porcella is a well-known fiber artist and his father made and fixed most anything by hand. www.donporcella.blogspot.com.
Dick, 2009; pipe cleaners, handmade packaging; handweaving; 11" x 6" x 3". Image courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery, New York.
Jerk, 2009; pipe cleaners, handmade packaging; handweaving; 12" x 7" x 3". Image courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery, New York.
Monkey, 2009; pipe cleaners, handmade packaging, handweaving, 12" x 7" x 3". Image courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery, New York.
In August 2006, LaVonne Sallee saw altered Barbie dolls in the window of the Market Street art gallery in San Francisco and stopped to look. She fell in love with the work and was inspired to create some of her own. It was not so much the connection with Barbie but rather how entertaining and humorous these dolls were that Sallee enjoyed, and she wanted to keep that good feeling going. Within days she started shopping at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales to purchase used Barbies (and other fashion dolls), clothing, and props. By the end of 2009 she had created more than 250 pieces. In January 2009, she opened her “live and work space” in old town Vallejo, California, calling it the O. O. A. K. (One Of A Kind) Gallery. www.ooakbarbies.com.
Diego Rivera Mexican Maiden w/ Calla Lilies, 2007; pink ruffled skirt, white iridescent blouse and typical blanket wrap, calla lilies, terracotta pot; painted, sewn; 7½" x 6" x 11". Photo by the artist.
Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss W/Barbie & My Scene Boy, 2007; yellow velvet with a gold colored loop design, dress; painted sewn; 9½" x 7" x 7". This piece won a First Place Ribbon, at the International Fashion Doll Convention, 2008.
Photo by the artist.
Kristen Walsh of Middle Haddam, Connecticut, uses needlefelting to convey the “goodness, humor, hope, and possibilities that are within us all.” With no formal training as an artist, Walsh’s inspiration comes largely from her natural curiosity and from watching people interact with one another. She has always been passionate about fiber, making most of her own clothes in high school, which led to knitting, and knitting led to spinning, which progressed to needlefelting. Her greatest compliment is when people stop and smile at her work or when the occasional observer is touched in a way that brings them to tears. The connection her work creates with its viewers gives her the confidence to delve more deeply into her creative process. www.scrapfelt.com.
Flasher, 2009; wool figure with wire armature, cotton trench coat, buttons; needlefelted, machine-stitched; about 24" tall. Photo by the artist.
Ready for the Beach, 2009; wool figure with wire armature, organza ribbon; needlefelted, handstitched; about 15" tall. Photo by the artist.