As part of planning my thesis show I am creating gesture studies of different prehistoric mammals to help me decide which to use as subjects.
This process starts with sketching particular animals in different gestures. I often base these gestures on observing modern day animals and drawing from life at zoos and natural history museums.
From these sketches and reference images I practice the proportions and musculature of each animal while investigating different expressions in gestures. These are very quick, timed studies that are made solid and then carved and refined once the clay has stiffened.
These gestures and animals lead to ideas for ways to introduce a human object. Here are some gesture and expression studies for this piece which features a semi-aquatic sloth enjoying a rococo style bath tub.
These maquettes are sometimes larger and more detailed. This allows me to get an idea of how I might build a larger version and allows for plans to scale up the gesture.
I often make larger studies of an animal’s head to work out different facial expressions and the gaze of the animal.
I am specifically choosing to work with animals that have very strange features. I find that this increases the viewer’s curiosity about the animal. These features also speak to the animals’ amazing ability to evolve and adapt. Sivatherium is a prehistoric giraffe that exhibits the evolution of the long neck over millions of years.