The Birdman Reliquary Cabinet

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“The Birdman Cabinet” (Reliquary of a Spellcaster) 20.75x11.5x5” mixed media.

The latest addition to my Dankquart Collection series is this reliquary cabinet featuring a fully sculpted bird man skeleton artifact, opening doors with an interior triptych painting, and a selection of spellcaster’s possessions hidden behind a removable panel.

The central part of the piece was purchased many years ago at a flea market, part of antique schoolhouse clock. I inverted the cabinet and created a base for it to sit on. From there the cabinet was divided into upper and lower halves. Two doors were created for the lower half, the upper half made use of an existing small glass door.

I knew the glass door would be the perfect showcase for a skeletal artifact and with a door that opened and closed as easily as this one did I would want to make the item inside removable. That meant that the skeletal remains would need to be finished all the way around rather than having a front only finish which would have been much simpler, but not nearly as interesting!

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The old cabinet was also deep enough to allow me to create a removable panel in the lower section, a secret compartment, behind which I could include an assortment of odd items. These would be things used by a spellcaster, presumably used to create the bird-man hybrid creature whose remains hang above.

When building a piece like this so much of the work is determined by the size of the parts used in its construction. That means that I can get a basic idea of what I want to design, paint or sculpt, but need to customize the finished art each step of the way. For example I knew I would be painting a three panel piece that would be revealed when the lower doors were opened, but did not know the actual size until the door and panel pieces were cut and fit, and using an old cabinet like this means there can be a lot of custom fitting.

Here are a couple of shots of the bird man skeleton being sculpted. This began with a wire with a styrofoam ball on one end that I used to bulk out the skull. I worked this piece in stages using epoxy clay. One session for the base of the skull, the next to create the spine, etc. I wanted to add a freestanding rib cage, a lot more involved than sculpting a rib cage shaped lump of clay. I decided to try bending wire loops for each rib section. The ends of each rib was then epoxied into a hole drilled into a corresponding vertebra. After the epoxy set I was able to form clay around each wire and then sculpt the ribs individually.

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While the ribs cured I moved on to making arm bones. These were each made as separate parts, as were the shoulder blades and collar bones. When ready they were assembled with epoxy and then molded together. The final skeleton sculpt was then given multiple passes of acrylic paint and glaze for an aged look. He was later fit with a hanger for mounting in place.

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In between sculpting sessions I worked on the door painting. This was really a fun piece to paint. I bled the composition across the three panels which really expands the width of the entire piece when the doors are opened. The final painting was treated to an application of three part craquelure varnish.

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The cloth tabs at the base of the painting allow for removal of the panel. Inside this area I added a couple of dividers and then made up a few of the spellcaster’s special ingredients. Bones, a fang, a red tailed hawk feather (found on a dog walk), some antique bottles filled with colored liquid, and a candle which has obviously been lit in the past. All of these are removable and could be replaced with different items if desired.

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The exterior was given a coat of varnish. I was careful not to erase the beautiful patina that already existed but added the rope twist pieces on either side topped with human and bird skulls, one on either side, referring to the birdman composite in the middle. Bone decorations were made for the doors, (a right and a left), and as a final touch I created a latch using the original hanger that came on the old cabinet.

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These pieces are extremely time consuming to make, nearly as complex as the Azure Angel reliquary I built but on a smaller scale, however, tremendously satisfying as completed projects. Hopefully more in the series to come.

“The Birdman Cabinet” is available for purchase. Please inquire by using the Contact page here.

Monochromagic 2

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I have a new drawing in this WOWxWOW online group show opening July 5. “Forest Satyr” 11 x 9.75” image, graphite on 16.25 x 15” paper size. For purchase information contact sales@wowxwow.com.

Prarie Gothic Show

genesisshrine3Very happy to announce I’ll be a part of this fantastic group show sponsored by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance. I plan to show 5 pieces including “The Genesis Shrine” above. Show info follows. Hope to see you at the opening!

PRAIRIE GOTHIC

Like fireflies emerging from the shadows at twilight, the dark side of the prairie and the mysteries of the midway will be revealed to the more curious among you.

Featuring works by: Kass Copeland, John Walker, Robin Power, Jake Saunders, Larry Tuckman and Kevin Blake.

OPENING RECEPTION JUNE 21ST 5-10 PM

JOPLIN MARLEY CO-CREATIVE SPACE, 9911 S. WALDEN PKWY

Open during the Uprising Summer Solstice celebration, Private viewings may be scheduled upon request.

Closing Reception 7-10pm, July 20th.

Curator: Sal Campbell sal@beverlyarts.org

HEY! Magazine Interview

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(Cover art by Mike Worrall)
Happy to announce my feature in the current issue of French new contemporary art magazine, “HEY!” is now live. Several of my reliquary and mixed media pieces are presented along with a brief interview. This is a great art magazine who’s editors are working hard to present the best in new contemporary artwork to an international audience. In addition to my work there are write ups covering the work of artist Mike Worrall among others, along with a great section of Japanese artists. This issue is well worth the purchase price and is available now for download. HEY! #7 Season 2, https://www.heyheyhey.fr/en/
The print edition will be available in September.

Painting Presentation and Demo

Monday April 8, 7pm, I’ll be giving a presentation to the Downers Grove Artists Guild at the Downers Grove Public Library. I’ll be speaking about my work, how I began my current series, and doing a little painting too. These events are always a lot of fun so if you’re in the area please come join us. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Black Moon Voyager Prints Available!

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I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be working with House of Roulx, the premier print edition gallery, to offer a signed limited edition print of “Black Moon Voyager”. These prints look tremendous. Produced with archival inks on heavy paper stock, there will only be twelve available in the edition, with an exclusive smaller run of three hand embellished, one of a kind variants available. Each variant stays within a theme and remains true to the Dankquart Collection look and feel, but each is different as well, no two alike, so they are great collector pieces. I’m happy to be able to offer these beautiful prints and really proud of the way the hand painted versions came out.

These pieces will be available exclusively through House of Roulx and will drop March 7 2019. Previews are available at www.HouseofRoulx.com. Type “Walker” into the search bar to see all the variations that will be available on release.

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Black Moon Voyager

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“Black Moon Voyager” 14x14” mixed media on panel. SOLD

The third in my Voyager series of paintings, and a subset of the Dankquart Collection, Black Moon Voyager is a fresco inspired piece created with actual and trompe l'oeil style texture, cracks, and aging. The central fractured painting sits above the base panel and has been finished in a gloss varnish. The area surrounding the painting has a matte, textured, old plaster/stone appearance that compliments the painting and reinforces the broken fresco feel.

The framed original is sold. Prints of this piece are available in a signed limited edition for $60, or in a special embellished version (only three embellished available) for $120 through House of Roulx. For more information or to purchase a print please see my page on the House of Roulx website here.

The Mystic Voyager

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“The Mystic Voyager” 14x11 (18.5x15.25” framed) Mixed media on panel, wood frame with epoxy clay ornament. Created for “Nocturnal Bloom” an online group show with WOWxWOW.com. Show runs Jan 11- Feb 1 2019. The first painting in my Voyager series. More photos here. Contact sales@wowxwow.com for purchase information.

The Genesis Voyager

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“The Genesis Voyager” 14.5x11.5 (shown with a slight crop as the image will appear when framed.)

My first finished painting of 2019 is this mixed media piece, “The Genesis Voyager”. It actually began as an experimental piece, but one that would continue within the latest framework of a new series of portraits. I started with a piece of cardboard that I had been saving. I liked the tone and texture of the stock and thought it would look great as a base for layering transparent and semi opaque layers of color. So I sealed it with a textured clear acrylic gesso and tucked it away until the right project came along and this new series of paintings seemed a perfect fit.

Work began with an experimental approach, that is trying some different layering combinations, etc, with no expectations of having a “keeper” painting. But I reached a point where the piece just fit so well with the other two I had already created, and I was so happy with what was happening on the board, that I decided to take it all the way to a finished work.

The techniques I’m using are really more of a throwback then anything new to me the major difference being the surface I’m working on, and even that isn’t totally foreign, I’ve worked like this before. One thing that is different is that I’m working on surfaces other than my usual prepared mdf panels, although the first three pieces in the series are mounted to mdf.

Here are a couple of in progress shots that I posted on my Instagram account, and please follow me on IG if you are so inclined, @walkerbrushworks.

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A photo taken early on as color is being laid down in broad sweeps. This was shot at an angle to show the surface texture. Lots of “grit” to work with.

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This was taken the next day. I’m probably close to laying in the basics. from that point I start to “mold” some of those abstract areas and create images or suggestions of things. The embryo peeking out from the left side is an exception, I wanted him to be much more developed.

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The side of the artwork after mounting the cardboard to mdf. The mdf is sealed with acrylic all around and after mounting the sides are sealed as well. The painting was then finished with a couple of coats of semi gloss varnish.



Waking the May Queen

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“Waking the May Queen” is my contribution to Modern Eden Gallery’s December/January group exhibition, “Night Garden”. As described on the Modern Eden website the show features, “selected contemporary artists exploring the subjects of nature and earth magic, flora and fauna, death and wilderness—with a nod to the nocturnes of Whistler, the notes of Chopin, and the gardens of Hieronymus Bosch.”

This is another terrific show at Modern Eden with a great line up of artists and I’m so happy to have been invited to participate. The show closes Jan 4 so hurry over and catch it while you can.

More information about “Waking the may Queen” at the link, please contact Modern Eden for purchase inquiries, info@moderneden.com