Cuevas de Altamira

   by Silvia Souza and Andrew Johnson for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Cave at Altamira

Inspiration Artist: unknown various

Silvia was fortunate to visit the real cave years ago before they recreated the replica that is visited today. We both have Spanish heritage and wanted to do something Spanish. We liked the idea of making a comical piece where the bulls would be posing.
The cover of the box was taken off and several other pieces of paper were stripped from the box to get a brown base. These were saved to be used for rocks and stalactites. The stalactites were made by rolling the paper, the rocks by scrunching and wrapping the paper around itself and gluing. The box was crumpled to create creases, cut and manipulated to create the cave. The interior was painted in various layers and different earth tones to recreate the feel of the cave. Some extra levels were added using the cut away cardboard. The ceiling was drawn with the charcoal from the burnt stick and then drybrushed with color.
It was important to us that the bulls appear to be really posing for their portraits. The bulls and painter were first wireformed and then the wax clay was applied to the form. One of the bulls has a wood block center. Hair was created from the rope strands. The clothing was cut and painted from the canvas and the belt was another piece of the rope. We disagreed on whether to make it female or male but in the end the wireform made it easier to make it a woman painter. The figures were all painted with acrylic paints.
We believed our artist would be very creative and ahead of her time, so she has a drawing table and drawings she has sketched out on “hide” made from paper. The table is made from a board and rocks piled up on wire. The rocks were made from the wax clay. As were her painting bowls. The brushes were bits of cardboard that were burned on the end.
Lastly, since this is in Cantabria, a lush green landscape was created using the paper shreds, water and glue, and then painted with greens.

We are a mother and son team