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08.06.2011 --

Giant Grizzly Garden Gnomes, the Clash and Other Such Riff Raff

Andrew R Shondrick --Grizzly in Gnome's Clothing

‘A Grizzly in Gnome’s Clothing’

The Holden Arboretum invited me to customize one of twenty oversized garden gnomes that they have on display this summer as part of their “Gnome and Garden” attraction. The gnomes were constructed out of fiberglass, coated in white primer and offered up to twenty artists with the promise that we’d work our wonders with them.

Andrew R Shondrick -- Grizzly in Gnome's Clothing

I submitted this digital mock up with my proposal and they delivered the gnome to me as it appears above. One thing I can tell you with the wisdom of experience is that living with a giant inanimate gnome for a couple of months is as unsettling as all can be. Every time you come home, wake up in the middle of the night or look up from checking your email it is there to stare at you with that pale, undefined glare and listless menace.

Just saying.


Also it would be fair to note that when one submits a proposal stating that they can transform a five foot tall gnome into a woodland bear there is a bit of false confidence that goes a long with it.

“Are you sure you can actually do this?” they ask.

“Sure.” I say.

“Well, how exactly will build it up and keep it weather resistant?” they query.

“Excellently.” I imbue.

I think most artist learn early on that assuming you can do something and then leaving it up to the ether to try to prove them wrong is about the only way to get anything done.

Andrew R Shondrick -- Grizzly in Gnome's Clothing

When pragmatics really did come into play I used a sheet of thick insulation sheathing from the hardware store to start the initial build up. It is dense enough to support a little bit of abuse while allowing a semi-detailed sculpt and since it is a weather insulator, it should have no problems dealing with climate at the arboretum. I used some razors to shape the foam and sand paper proved an invaluable tool for controlling the surface. Tooth picks and Liquid Nails held it all in place.

Andrew R Shondrick -- Grizzly in Gnome's Clothing

To finish the sculpt off I used Magic Sculpt, the same epoxy clay I used for the bunny Munny in my previous entry. It hardens to a really durable plastic so it too was perfect for this project.

Andrew R Shondrick -- Grizzly in Gnome's Clothing

Since the gnome had to stay family friendly and fun, I had make sure it didn’t get too dark when in the painting phase, (most of my paintings get considerably darker when I grab a brush). To ensure it stayed warm and active I mixed some light yellow in with the gesso before I gave the grizzly its first coat. The rest of the paint job was handled with acrylics which were a bit of a challenge for me as I almost always paint in oils.

Andrew R Shondrick -- Grizzly in Gnome's Clothing

Special thanks to Achilles Running Shop for sponsoring my gnome, Holden for inviting me and all the people who took and tagged me in the above photos which I stole for this entry.

In other news …

Andrew R Shondrick -- Bus Driver

‘Bus Driver’

I made three little digital illustrations for “Sandinista!” — a Clash themed show and the Zaller Gallery. This one was another Dave Desimone Production and I took it as an opportunity to reacquaint myself with the more creative capacities of Photoshop. Inspiration was taken from the song “Career Opportunities” off of their self titled album.

Andrew R Shondrick -- Ambulance Man

‘Ambulance Man’

Andrew R Shondrick -- Ticket Inspector

‘Ticket Inspector’

I ran them off as little 6″ x 8″ giclee prints and put them out for $10 each, ($30 for the set). If you are interested in owning them, just email me for more information.

To finish out the entry I’ll throw in a logo I made for my brother-in-law and some portraits of Jennipher Luc and her fiance.

Andrew R Shondrick -- Mask Logo

Andrew R Shondrick -- Jennipher Portrait

Andrew R Shondrick -- Jennipher Portrait