This upcoming show at the Plaza Theatre appears to explore your own fairy tale-like universe. What can you tell me about the show?
The show's title is The Small Game of Revilo, primarily because the land in which all my little creatures are coming from is called Revilo. It originated because all the sculptures I had done up to this point were much larger and I wanted to try and do some smaller pieces that would maybe be a little more mammal oriented and looking less like dragons and things like that. But as I was moving along, I ended up doing a few larger pieces as well.
Revilo is kind of where I see myself retreating to to create characters and storylines that could eventually influence my son's life through creative storytelling and parables and things like that.
Is Revilo based on anything or is it a creation all your own?
It's my own creation. I wanted my characters to feel like they all belonged to one cohesive universe and not necessarily feel like they were from earth, or even a parallel universe. I wanted them to feel like they had their own world.
You mentioned the size of the sculptures, which is something I was going to ask about since the Plaza offers a much smaller space than Alcove did. A lot of the stuff you showed at Alcove, especially in its last show, was pretty huge.
I've done one piece as small as a rabbit's head, basically. Then I've done one that's probably the size of a wolf for this show. There's a total of eight sculptures, and I'm also going to have four watercolor studies that are very light-colored filtrations of some of the creatures I've created.
Your sculptures are very unique in that they are simultaneously very life-like, yet very fantastical looking. Tell me a little bit about the process that goes in to creating one of your typical works.
When I first started, I was just customizing smaller vinyl toys that were meant to be painted on and things like that. I was already ordering artificial animal eyes from a taxidermy shop and from there I decided to sculpt a tiny vulture head. So I did a series of these vulture heads and I liked the idea of them and that they were starting to look a little more like they could actually be alive. Then I looked through the catalog that the taxidermy place sent me and I realized there were all these styrofoam bases that people used to put the carcasses of animals on, so I ordered one of those foam bases and decided to start sculpting on top of that.
From there, I used an air-drying clay that I sculpt on top of them, then I've started incorporating other elements like buying weird animal horns on ebay and porcupine quills, and also casting certain things out of resin. With some of my pieces I've made molds for little elements like scales that would be on an alligator or dinosaur, then cast those out of resin so I could replicate them over a large area of the creatures.
With some of the stuff you've seen at Alcove, I cut ornate plaques out of rare hardwoods and tried to make them more like traditional taxidermy that you would find in a hunting lodge. But with four of the pieces from this show, I've sculpted backgrounds almost as though [the creatures] are coming out of their environment, so they weren't necessarily hunted and it's like you're looking into their world a little bit.
Pairing The Dark Crystal with this show seems like a natural fit. How much of an influence would you say films like that, and the other works of Jim Henson, had on the work you're doing now?
I'm sure it has an underlying theme somewhere in the back of my head and I do believe my subconscious has referenced that. I remember seeing all the Muppet movies and movies like Labyrinth and knowing there were these fantasy creatures that somehow I believed to be real. Going back and watching The Dark Crystal now, the pacing is so much slower than modern movies. It's amazing to me how much harder it is to watch it over and over again where as a kid I could sit there and watch it every day.
But just seeing how someone could make so many different creatures come to life has definitely influenced my work and my style and the way I look at the creatures I make.
The Small Game of Revilo. Art opening at 8 p.m., movie screening at 9:30 p.m., June 7. Through July 3. Additional screenings of The Dark Crystal at midnight June 10 and 3 p.m. June 12. 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. 404-873-1939. www.briancolinart.com. www.plazaatlanta.com.
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