I start with the question for those who can/want to answer it but dont care to go through my intro. And it's about antler. I’ve read posts here and elsewhere, watched videos but I’d like to get an answer from someone who has used antler before. Remember that I live in the Netherlands and can’t get any moose stuff here, just European stuff.
What exactly is inside the antler? I mean: I bought at the market 2 saber-tooth tiger fangs (legal and all). Beautiful material but when I cut them open, “sand” (the pulp?) came out and they were hollow. I hoped they’d be more compact.
Which antler would allow me to carve a small figurine through and through?
The road (55 years till now) brought me here, to sculpting and carving.
I studied and worked as documentary film maker. That put some money on the table but not much happiness in my heart. Then I studied multimedia (early 90s the web was a baby). That too didn’t make me very happy and it became clear that it was me not fitting in, there’s nothing wrong with these jobs.
I was just not ready to take a chance on what I wanted the most: to draw, paint, and sculpt. After all, going to a Dutch faculty of the Arts, I was told that the art I liked was dead and money comes from slicing sharks, if you get my drift. So no drawing lessons!
Luckily for me, I had my nosed pushed into it by serendipity. As I got partly, physically disabled and could stay home with sufficient cash to cover the basic needs, what had I to lose?
I assembled my own curriculum and started to study on my own. I met people who encouraged and guided me, got books, video tutorials, pencils and after one year of drawing like possessed, I had my first (small) exhibition in Rome.
I’ll jump over the painting year, as I moved to sculpting clay. It’s a medium that really speaks to me and helps me speak out for me. My touching sense is right on the level of the sight, in terms of the volume of information that enters me through the touch. Simply put, I love touching, following shapes and textures.
I worked for one year in hard, sculptural wax. I can hold a wax work in my hands while working on it. Clay doesn’t much allow you that. But who buys wax? And it’s not so much about buying my works but to me it’s a sign of recognition that my “babies” are liked and are adopted by a “parent”.
Moved to bronze. After 4 statues, I gave up. The bronze was not made by me but as you know, modeled after the wax statues I made. No fun in that, I want to see the work coming out of my hands, finished. Besides, once you make a mold for the bronze, the point is to produce several clones, hope to sell 1-2, and cover the huge kiln costs. I’m not into clones.
We came to present date, 2017 saw me carving wood. I love very fine wood, ebony and such. I got myself a Dremel and some knives. The Dremel was dead in 2 months so I moved to a Proxon with a flexshaft and bought off someone an older carving machine, also with a shaft, for very fine work (a dentist could use this one…)
As I said, making medium, small and very small statues/objects allows me to hold the creation in my hand. And that’s also the purpose of my sculpting, it always was: touching the statue(tte).
Of Greek-Italian blood mixture, I grew up with huge statues. Museums don’t allow you to touch even the smallest ones. This has determined my opposite direction of movement. If you buy something from me, it can’t be to decorate your home and dust it off now and then. It’s got to be small, so you get closer to discover the work. Hold it, turn it, it triggers thoughts like people who meditate or prey use their beads for this purpose.
The materials I use are carbon based, stuff that had a life before, to which I return one, of some kind: wood, bone, ivory. Save for the cow wood, which I get at the butcher, the ebony and ivory comes from antique fairs. I buy broken pieces or something nobody would buy again to decorate their homes, because the market of elephants of letter openers is gone.
my website in dire need of update is mongraffito.com it only has drawings, taking good photos of small statues doesn't come easy to me. On Instagram I'm MonGraffito, there I sometimes post work videos or images and hope in a week or 2 to open my Etsy shop.
thanks for reading this, greetings