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Picasso's Chair at the Cafe

   by Veronica Keymel for Re-Invent a Work of Art (2013)

Inspiration Piece: Still Life with Chair Caining

Inspiration Artist: Pablo Picasso

Like any dutiful art student I began my project by making a paper model from my sketches of a sculptural version of Picasso’s collage as a cubist café chair. This was to be absolutely sure I had enough material for my design. Next I began cutting out the necessary pieces from the wood blocks and thin boards using a Japanese hand saw and my jeweler’s saw frame. From there I started by building the base of the chair, while occasionally stopping to file up other wooden pieces for later.

Most of the wood to wood connections were handled by the Elmer’s glue for things such as the legs on to the oak board seat, whereas attaching the rope and wooden lemon slice shapes to the wire was done with the hot glue stick. Where the wire chair back arches over the piece and into the seat was accomplished entirely with a cold connection: the oak board was drilled with my Foredom flexible shaft tool and the wire fed through and bent flush to remain in place.

The most challenging part of the construction was to have the black painted letters J, O, and U standing up and sitting on the canvas newspaper underneath. In order to do this I drilled three more wire holes through the seat for each letter. Once the black paint had dried on the letters I hot glued a sharpened two inch length of wire to the back of the letters. Next, I placed the folded canvas on to the seat of the sculpture and pierced it with the sharpened wire over the hole in the wood, feeding the wire through so that it pinned the canvas in place and held the letter upright.

By this stage all the parts of the piece were painted, glued together, and assembled: all that remained was to stuff the tea cup with the brown clay and use the white Sculpey to make a frosting edge to the cake under the newspaper. Since this piece isn’t going to be shipped anywhere, it was not necessary to bake the Sculpey (plus I couldn’t find my toaster oven for it) and the clay’s natural plasticity keeps it stuck there without glue.

I chose a lesser known Picasso piece for this artwork for two reasons. One is that the rope and dark walnut like woods in the kit instantly reminded me of it; two is that it is one of the works of art from my art history days in college that I remember a lot of information about, such as it is the piece where he invented the medium of collage by attaching a rope and an oil cloth and the pun involved with “JOU” short for the French word journaux for newspaper but when pronounced sounding like a form of the word jouer meaning to play.

Though it may not be a popular work of the artist I could not get it out of my head and set about to just make a simple 3-D sculptural re-invention of it. I researched Cubist sculptures and related Futurist ones for inspiration and came across many mentions of how difficult those artists found it to be to make these painting styles into a physical object; therefore they didn’t make a great number of them. I had a bit too much pride, thinking it could not possibly be that hard to make a Cubist sculpture. I quickly discovered they were right; making such a sculpture is a massively difficult balance between suggestive abstraction and just winding up with a brown geometric blob. Although designing my work was challenging at times, it was ultimately a rewarding experience trying to make a purely two dimensional art style into a three dimensional one.

I chose a lesser known Picasso piece for this artwork for two reasons. One is that the rope and dark walnut like woods in the kit instantly reminded me of it; two is that it is one of the works of art from my art history days in college that I remember a lot of information about, such as it is the piece where he invented the medium of collage by attaching a rope and an oil cloth and the pun involved with “JOU” short for the French word journaux for newspaper but when pronounced sounding like a form of the word jouer meaning to play.

Though it may not be a popular work of the artist I could not get it out of my head and set about to just make a simple 3-D sculptural re-invention of it. I researched Cubist sculptures and related Futurist ones for inspiration and came across many mentions of how difficult those artists found it to be to make these painting styles into a physical object; therefore they didn’t make a great number of them. I had a bit too much pride, thinking it could not possibly be that hard to make a Cubist sculpture. I quickly discovered they were right; making such a sculpture is a massively difficult balance between suggestive abstraction and just winding up with a brown geometric blob. Although designing my work was challenging at times, it was ultimately a rewarding experience trying to make a purely two dimensional art style into a three dimensional one.

 


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