Monkey Business

   by Dianna Smoot for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Self Portrait with Monkey

Inspiration Artist: Frida Kahlo

I decided to create a scene showing Frida Kahlo’s inspiration for “Self Portrait with Monkey” but also wanted to imitate her studio at Casa Azul as much as possible. The techniques and tools were challenging, as my experience is limited to that of a painter. I found myself looking for makeshift tools to help me complete the project and began to view my environment in a different way—letter openers, paper cutting tools and paintbrush handles became my sculpting utensils. There were many times when my plan did not go as intended and I was forced to regroup and start over. This was particularly true in working with the wood blocks as it was difficult to get clean cuts with a handsaw. In the end, I learned a lot by participating in Mystery Build and I can see the scope of my future projects expanding as a result.

Materials Used:
The monkey was constructed using wire, glue dots and clay and his red ribbon is made from rope strands, glue pellets and paint. Frida’s body was created using wire, clay, styrofoam and a wood block. Her dress is made from the project instructions, canvas cloth and a belt made from braided rope strands and glue. Glue pellets, paper strips and canvas form the flowers in her hair. She holds a paint palette that is part of a wood plank and a paintbrush formed with wire, clay and rope strands. Her in-progress work of art is on a piece of cut canvas board.
The Mystery Build box was used to make the house with the window being constructed from the canvas board cellophane wrapper, wire and cardboard trim. On the outside, canvas cloth was used to make the title being carried by a little clay bird. Cardboard was used to form the planter and it was filled with plants created using unraveled rope, paper strips, glue pellets, wire and the Mystery Build instructions. These pieces are held together with polymer clay while styrofoam and cardboard give them stability and differences in height. Inside the studio, the floor is made of wood and the rug is a painted wood plank. The shelf and window trim are cut from cardboard. Dowels and pieces of wood blocks formed the table and easel. Her smaller artwork is painted wood plank pieces with cardboard frames. Rope, clay, wire and wood shavings were used to make the plants and vases in the studio. On the table, the books are made from cut canvas board while the flowers are rolled paper strips with wire stems.

This is the second time I am submitting my project. The first time my computer froze up and restarted. It made me worry that the submission did not go through so I am trying again.

This project has been so much fun-- thank you! I am looking forward to ordering the 2014 kit!