Hey kiddies! This is my new photograph called ROBOT. This time the theme is addiction and dependence, especially as it pertains to technology.
I began this project by acquiring the materials necessary to build a life-size Robot. I consulted with a local Steam Punk artist named Cliff Robinson, who helped 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.
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.
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.
See you next time!