Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ronnie the flayed gent

Hey there!

It's been quite a while. I haven't been doing much arts 'n crafts lately, lots of new things going on, plus I discovered Skyrim and that mofo has been eating much of my free time between work and the girlfriend.

Nevertheless, I still enjoy each and every opportunity I get of making some cool stuff, and such an opportunity happened recently, so of course I took it and rode it aaaaall niiiight loooooon (and then some.)

Basically, a local metal band who had their album cover designed by the good folks at Le Mur Insolite (of which I've been a resident artist for a year now) approached them recently for something a bit bigger. So, Anktil, the co-owner of the gallery, amazing artist and good friend of mine, thought including me in the deal.

We basically had to create a life size flayed body prop, that needed to be hidden inside a wooden crate, and could be pulled up and hung by its feet at the right moment by pulling a chain linked to an attached gallows. Oh, and the whole thing had to fit inside a Honda Civic.

Patrick took care of crafting a collapsible gallows and a big enough (but small enough) crate, while I was tasked with creating the dummy.

I unfortunately didn't take many pictures, and since I lost the cable to charge my nikon, the pictures I have come from my shitty cell phone. Sorry about that!

Pictures and more info after the break!

Ok, so for the design, we had a quick and slightly unclear sketch made by their guitarist. They wanted the whole thing to remind people of the "I" in their logo, and we needed to have it ready by the time they did their album release, so that left us a couple weeks.
Logo designed by Synbryo

I started out by evaluating what the materials would cost me and whipping up a quick sketch just to make sure we understood each other, and that it was doable within our budget.

For the body itself, I started out by making a duct tape double of myself. It's the easiest way I could find to create a strong, flexible, cheap body form, and it worked out pretty well! I shortened the limbs and the torso a bit (because a 6'3'' corpse wouldn't probably fit inside a honda civic), and then made some "bones" for the limbs using PEX pipes covered with pipe insulation, made a spine out of thick rope, and I stuffed the whole thing with poly fill.

I made the hands out of wire covered in foam, same thing for the toes, and as for the head, I bought a foam wig form for around 5$. I used some monster clay (the best oil based clay around, IMO) to build of the features. I then covered it with a few layers of papier maché. I removed the papier mache shell from the head, emptied the clay, and glued the shell back on. I threaded the rope I used for the spine up through the skull, and covered the whole deal with a few more layers of papier maché for strength.

I then proceded to add definition to the torso by gluing strips of soft foam where the ribs and the hip bones should be.

Afterwards, it was simply a matter of covering the whole body with latex soaked paper towels and cotton batting to create the flesh/skin. By far the messiest part of the process.

 Sorry for the messy room. 
Making a full size skinned corpse in a tiny 1 bedroom flat is dirty work.

Once that was dry, I painted the whole body with a 50/50 mix of latex and acrylic paint, to create the look/color of raw flesh. I then pulled some tan colored nylon stockings over the different parts of the body, covered those in liquid latex, and then tore some holes in them to add texture and show the raw flesh through, like skin that would have been torn off.

Nice granny panties, Ronny!

Once the dummy fully covered (and the granny panty like part removed), my part of the work was done. The only thing left was to test the whole rig to see if it performed as intended.

Aaaaand the gallows are too short. Dammit!

Well, that's what happens when there's not enough communication going on in a project. That was easily fixed though (I let my partner do it. Doesn't get any easier than that.)

We let him keep a bit of dignity too, 
since he was very Ken-like down there.

 The pulley is an antique, 
we didn't have to change a thing to the patina.

The final pictures don't do him justice; he looked terrific on stage! Hopefully I'll find some better quality shots soon, if I'm not mistaken a pro photographer was in the audience taking pictures.

All in all, we managed to pull it off pretty well, and the guys were really happy with their purchase when we unveiled him to them. That in itself was a great payoff, and I hope he'll last through years of metal shows and abuse!

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