If this doesn’t get you in the Halloween spirit, nothing will. Member Joshua Hoffine (@joshuahoffine), who has a self-proclaimed interest in the “psychology of fear”, recently completed a new photo sculpture titled Robot. The theme of the piece is addiction and dependence, especially as it pertains to technology.
Hoffine recently went behind-the-scenes of his own process, revealing the complexities of creating such art, and has shared details of the creation of Robot with filmfetish.com/art.
This project began as a commission. An Electro Synth Rock band from Ontario Canada called Raggedy Angry sent me an email asking if I would be interested in creating cover artwork for their new album entitled HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS. I told them they had me at the word ‘Robot’! I pitched an idea involving a Robot with giant syringes for hands and sent them this sketch:
They liked my idea and I soon began acquiring the materials necessary to build a life-size Robot. My first move was to hire a local Steam Punk artist named Cliff Robinson to advise and help oversee construction. Cliff taught me how to paint plastic objects so that they looked like metal. The body of the Robot was made from a baby bicycle seat and a diaper genie I found at a thrift store.
I spent weeks rummaging through thrift stores and flea markets looking for potential body parts. I used pieces from Tonka trucks and golf carts, grape juice bottles, tripods, plastic plumbing elements, flashlights, toy lightsabers, and knitting needles. Rivets were made by spray painting ‘googly eyes’ and then glueing them onto the body.
The head was made from an air humidifier, radio antennaes, and different Star Wars ships pieced together. We placed a small LED flashlight inside the eye so that it would glow. It was important to me that my Robot have one red glowing eye like HAL in 2001.
I recruited my friend and frequent model Bob Barber to play the part of the Robot’s willing victim. Bob has played the villain in several of my photographs, including DEVIL, BABYSITTER, and most recently KEYHOLE. But this is the first time he’s been cast to play the victim in one of my images.
We glued latex appliances onto Bob’s arms to create the oversized junky track marks.
I used eye shadow to accentuate Bob’s gaunt features and bulging veins. I used black clown make-up on his shirt so that we would appear to be covered in engine oil.
We attached metal rods to the Robot’s arms so that my assistants Matt Tady and Demian Vela could puppet them into position.
We used Fullers Earth to create the atmosphere of steam. Demian and I made a rig with an air compressor to blast it into the air. The grit and texture of the Fullers Earth looked more like steam than the smooth fog I usually use.
After placing Bob into position, my only directions to him were to look as if he were in a state of religious ecstasy. I removed the puppet rods using Photoshop.
I also used Photoshop to replace the yellow plastic syringes with actual glass containers of fluid – in this case Barq’s rootbeer. I did this separately so that I would be able to backlight the fluid and highlight the air bubbles inside.
After photographing Bob with the main Robot body, we photographed the Robot legs. Here you can see Demian positioning a leg with heavy guage fishing line. The leg was made from a weedeater, a Star Wars lightsaber, part of a tripod, an old fishtank purifier, and bicycle sprockets. By this point I had run out of money, so I made only one leg and photographed it in four different positions, adjusting the lights as we went along. I added the legs to the original photograph in Photoshop, completing the insect-like Robot design I was aiming for.
For a limited time signed 13 inch prints are 1/2 price on my website. More Horror coming soon! See you next time!
Originally published on Joshua Hoffine’s blog.