Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Creative Souls featured artist Tracy Rapier

I would be happy to share anything I know with you about epoxy figures . I find that working in layers , letting one dry then going on top of it with another seems to look the best and keeps you from bumping into wet areas that your happy with . For armatures , I carve dense foam for the waist and torso , then aluminum wire ( 14g ) for the arms and legs or if its bigger than 4" I use combination of wire and wooden dowels . If you want to make your mixture a little more creamy or give yourself a bit more time , make your mix A side rich , you can be off on your mix by 20 - 25 % and it will still kick off . I find that all the gear going on the figure is easier if I sculpt it separately , then put on later ( again layers . ) . Think of dressing a figure in the order a person would actually dress , from the bottom up . If you let the clothing layer beneath dry completely first , then the next layer you put on top of it will give you more options as you can cut hard edges and make wrinkles , frays , etc easily as the layer underneath is already hard and wont stick to what your trying to do ( look at Mellisas armor plates ). A heat gun is a fantastic tool for epoxy . You can force set a layer with it if your on a roll and dont want to stop , just be very sure you back off at least a foot or it will bubble . Experiment with the bubbles , its a cool affect if thats what you want , sculpt an area , then make sure its very wet ( if it turns white your good ) then pound on it with the heat gun about 3" away ! makes cool " rhino skin " , its random and hard to control . A dremmel tool is also a must with epoxy as you can carve in very cool patterns and textures with it ( clothing patterns ) . Epoxy takes texture pads very well also . Alley Goop is good for making those , paper thin is what your looking for on texture pads .
Also , if you want a hollow cavity , get balsa foam or florist foam , carve your shape , then cover with epoxy , let kick , then dig out the foam and you have a hollow piece . Make sure you paint the foam with latex or acrylic BEFORE adding epoxy . What this does is keeps the foam from denting more while you handle it and prevents the foam from creating a grainy dust that makes it hard to cover . Epoxy doesn't like to stick to unpainted foam . Learned this the hard way lol .
When you do layers of clothing ........ all you really need to fully detail out is the area that people will actually see . For example , look at my pic of " Dr. A " ( the purple guy reading from a book , not sure if I named him on this site ) His innermost shirt is only a one inch wide strip of epoxy . The multi layers on his vest that went over it are actually just a long skinny cone of epoxy smashed off to either side , then textured , the only layer he is actually covered completely with is his jacket as it is the final layer ( just like we would dress in real life ) This saves on material as well . If that makes sence .
Making an Art Journal: Now that your playing around with epoxy , you can also use it for making art journal covers . An easy , cheap way is to go get some plastic for sale signs ( they are flat and very thin ) , sand both sides , go to town with your epoxy and paint , then simply glue onto your journal . I use contact cement as it will not come off . Pictured below is my actual sketchbook done this way , you can even make frames out of the epoxy for photo inserts if you want .

Interview by Bernice Wagnitz & Tracy Rapier, interview can be found at the Creative Souls website, under the groups section "Sharing Techniques"