Snake-Human Hybrid

Christy Taylor

Berea, United States

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Artist's Description

I’m selling this work independently. Send me a bubblemail!

This is a one-of-a-kind sculpture. Not one before it and not one since. It is the only one in the world of its kind.

Dimensions: Same size as an adult human skull. Comes with make-shift stand.

Links to 5 images of this sculpture:

Artistic Process:

I created this sculpture as part of a class I took in 2007 at Berea College. It took 2 months (or more) to complete. The process is as follows.
The project began on paper, designing a hybrid of a human skull and X. I chose a snake because I simply like snakes. After I created a full set of sketches I presented them to my professor who (finally) accepted them as good enough. Then, I began sculpting the actual shape of the skull that would resemble the finished work. In full dimension, I sculpted from grease clay in the dead of winter with Grade II (medium firmness) clay that had to be heated on top of a kiln before it could even be manipulated. It was very daunting and my wrists have not forgiven me still. After all the final knit-picking was over, I covered the sculpture with linseed oil and began to place metal shims to line the areas of the sculpture that would become parts of the mold. I was able to make two separate parts. It was necessary to do that because the class was being directed towards making a mold that was reusable. I never reused mine. However, after the shimming process was complete, the fun part commensed. I mixed a balance of plaster and warm water into a crappy little red bucket and started tossing plaster at it sculpture. Thank God for garbage bags, they kept the studio relatively easy to clean up afterward. Layer after layer of plaster was added, letting dry between applications. Then, I placed three metal rods onto the outside of the mold and secured them with cloth impregnanted with thin plaster for framework. Once the plaster was bone dry, I began pulling off the metal rods and pulling out the shims. The next process was rasping (ow!) down the plaster systematically to reach the linseed oil line. Once there, I began to carefully crack the mold off of the prototype sculpture with plyers. After a couple hours of slowly excavating (or so it felt) the plaster off of the grease clay sculpture, I had two very nice mold peices. However, the snake teeth had not come out and were broken. I had to decide what to do about that later.
With two separate peices of a mold that would puzzle back together to create the same sculpture I made from grease clay, I began the process of making a polyresin mixture that would act as the sculpture. So, I mixed some horribly-smelling polyresin with a catalyst and spread it over the internal parts of the mold where all the little details were. I did that three times. Then, I did it again except this time I layed little swatches of fiberglass fabric-esque stuff (that I had to cut for myself and I itched for weeks) all in the polyresin mix. I did that about 4 or 5 times until I got a very strong mold peice. That took forever.
I broke my mold. I broke it because I was tired of trying to pry my pretty polyresin mold peices off of the plaster. I took a hammer to it in the dead of night in the middle of winter. When it was finally free from all the plaster, even the little peices of plaster that was stuck in the details of my final peice, it was time to start the puzzle work of fitting the two peices together. Now, these two peices had fiberglass swatches and polyresin buildup all over the outsides so they weren’t even close to being able to fit together. With a big electric rotary sander, I slapped on my goggles and face mask and started sanding down the edges to make them fit together. That took a lot of time and thought. About nine straight hours later, I had two mold peices that fit together for the most part. I started sealing them together with some kind of super-duper bondo stuff. Then, I had to sand that, too. My hands, at this point, were bleeding and blistered. That made me sad. I pressed onward, though. The deadline was approaching and I still need some snake teeth. Sanding, sanding and more sanding had to be done to the entire surface to make it took presentable. I was then ready to make the teeth for the snake part of the skull that didn’t make it through the mold setting process. I ended up cleverly sealing into place some small metal rods for which to sculpt some teeth. I sculpted them with pure bondo and that proved to be challenging. However, it worked. I stepped back and looked at my finished peice. I decided that it needed a coat of spray paint so I could see if I needed to sand anymore. Once the paint dried, I wanted to cry. I had to go back and re-sand a lot of it. After so long, I kinda gave up on the sanding and accepted sanding-defeat. My hands were in nasty shape. I spray-painted it again and called it complete. That night was the best nights sleep I’d ever had.
Skip forward a year or more. Mr. Snakey-Man had been living in my bathroom for a long time collecting dust. I’d been through a slew of doctors visits and emergencies with Diabetes and had to have surgery for my stupid gall-bladder. I decided that my sculpture had a long stay as my intimidating bathroom decor and it was time for it to make someone else happy. So, in hopes to help pay down some of my medical bills, I decided to paint the sculpture and sell it. Here it is! Oh, by the way, I got an A+ on this project and an A+ in the class. Commend William Morningstar for instructing!

Artwork Comments

  • MarcoMeyo18
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