Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas & Interview

A glimpse of the ethereal here as we focus on Los Angeles based artist Roberto Benavidez and his glorious Hieronymus Bosch inspired Piñatas.

A wondrous weave of both Mexican and Medieval European influences, It’s not often one stumbles across work as fabulously genre-bending.

Intrigued, I contacted Roberto to find out more…

Roberto Benavidez - Bosch Bird no3

You have a wonderfully enchanting style, can you give an insight into your background and route to becoming an artist/sculptor?

I grew up a closeted gay boy in rural South Texas. There wasn’t much available in terms of art education apart from the performing arts so that is the route I pursued initially. I had always been drawn to crafts like sewing, embroidery and collage but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I began to entertain the idea of pursuing a career as a sculptor. It really coincided with my coming out fully as a gay man and embracing what my true passions were. Over time I’ve moved from clay to metal casting, to paper, mainly sticking to figurative forms.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

I’d rank your Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas as some of freshest work I’ve seen for a long time, where did the initial idea spring from?

Thanks, that’s very kind of you to say. I’ve had this idea for some time now. I’ve always been a fan of Bosch. The idea of blending this traditional Mexican craft with Bosch’s imagery was quite exciting to me, something a bit outside the typical piñata imagery. There is also the context behind each being rooted in sin so I thought it to be the perfect pairing. I also felt like this bleeding of cultural artistic forms was in a way representative of me as mixed-race.

Roberto Benavidez Bosch bird no2

Obviously no need to reveal all, but can you possibly reveal some of the processes involved in rendering your creations, and an idea in the timescales involved?

I use traditional piñata making methods to create my piñata sculptures: a paper mache form covered in crepe paper fringe. Since everything is done by hand it takes many hours to create one piece. The 6 foot Bosch giraffe took a good week to sculpt and about 2 – 3 weeks of fringing. I work alone and can be quite obsessive, so over time I’ve come to where I place each individual piece of serrated fringe separately, which is a crazy thought but the results can be spectacular. Even the creation of the fringe alone is very time-consuming, sometimes combining multiple layers in many steps to achieve a desired color or texture – all before even applying to the paper mache form.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

In addition to your 3d work your obviously equally accomplished as a 2d Artist, do you have a preference for one or the other or are they intrinsically linked?

I much prefer sculpting to 2-d work. It is something that I have learned comes quite naturally to me and I trust my instincts more in the 3-d form. Most 2-d projects I approach more as studies.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Is there a particular piece your particularly pleased with, and why so?

My last piece is always my favorite. It sometimes feels like my connection to a piece wanes the further time moves me away from the creation of it. I find I am always excited for the next piece – thankfully this does not carry over to my personal life. 😉

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Do you work with any digital aids or are the processes entirely analogue?

Well, I am able to print very small details from The Garden of Earthly Delights because there is now a large file available online – does that count? I usually use printouts and comps of images to use as reference for most of my sculptural work. But there is no 3-d scaling work or anything like that.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

Could you give us a clue to future projects you have lined up or wish to try?

It’s hard to say what project I’ll be working on next. I have many concepts in mind and will see what project pulls me.

Finally, do you have any upcoming Shows / Exhibitions coming up? (and if so where)

Not at this time but I hope to have news about that relatively soon?

Many Thanks, Roberto!

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

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As a footnote to the feature and a testament to the supreme craftsmanship Roberto deploys, here are some of the painted creatures taken some of Hieronymus Bosch’s original nightmarish masterpiece ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’.

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

 

 

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch - The Garden of Earthly Delights

Finally to see more of Roberto’s breathtaking creations and check his latest work visit his portfolio site at robertobenavidez.com or follow via instagram.com/roberto_benavidez

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Adam Makarenko – Exoplanets & Interview

Sci-Fi-O-Rama resurrects with a very special feature on Canadian miniature Photographer and Film Maker Adam Makarenko.

An award winning multi talented Artist Adam’s obviously involved with a plethora of supremely interesting visual projects, but it’s his outrageously ambitious ‘exoplanets’ mission we focus in on.

Adam Makarenko Exoplanet

Exoplanets of course are rarely out of the news these and the science to hunt them has come along way since the first definitive detection back in 1995 (Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva). Fast forward 22 years and as of the start of April 2017 confirmed exoplanets number over 3,500 and range from huge gas giants right down to worlds a similar size to our own precious Earth.

Just how earth like are these worlds, and are they suitable for life ? These are the tantalising questions cosmologists and biologists face today. To answer is a mammoth technical challenge, not unlike Adam’s endeavour to experiment and construct his vision of these far flung worlds in miniature.

The Star Wars Space Armies of John Mollo
John Mollo Starwars costume sketchs

(1) Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith – evil figurehead of the Imperial Forces. (2) A member of Darth Vader’s Guard Corps. Notice the Vader style helmet. (3) This Imperial AT-ST pilot wears armour in the style of the Stormtroopers.

Just in case you’ve been living under an icy rock in a galaxy far, far away you may of not noticed one of two things. Firstly Sci-Fi-O-Rama hasn’t published any new material for eons, and secondly there’s a brand new new Starwars Film out. So then, in an effort to bound the two together here’s a rare gem I’ve managed to unearth featuring the original trilogy’s Oscar winning Costume designer John Mollo.

What follows is a selection of Mollo’s costume designs and notes for ‘Starwars: A New Hope'(1977) and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980).

“The first Darth Vader was wearing a motorcycle suit, and a sort of opera cloak, and a Nazi steel helmet, and a gas mask, and a medieval breast plate, all from different departments, all brought in together and put on, and it seemed to work”

John Mollo Starwars costume sketchs

(1) The design for the uniform of General Veers – again with a Vader-Style helmet. (2) An Imperial crewman, one of the lowlier members of the Imperial caste-system. (3) An Imperial Officer. The echoes of the German WWI are strong.

All drawings are rendered in an weighty rudimentary fashion that really signals the utilitarian ‘used-future’ aesthetic of which the Starwars films are so synonymous with. There’s something of an everyday feel here that is forever Starwars, suffice to say they really pack a punch.

On the Empire: “We agreed early on that the army should have a booted look, like the Germans in 1939, but actually their tunics look more like the 1914-18 ones. They’re cut longer. You try not to make the connection too obvious”.

John Mollo Starwars costume sketchs

(1) Princess Leia Organa – attired for survival on the snowy wastes of Hoth. (2) A Crewman of the Rebel order lipitor canada Alliance, dressed for the Icy conditions on Hoth. (3) Rebel Generals are dressedalike. Note the goggles, worn by Imperial Generals also. (4) The original design for Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness).

“George wanted Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) to look like a cross between a monk and a samurai knight. It’s never really the principals who pose the problems, so much as the practical stuff for the extras. I remember, for the rebel pilots who have air hoses on their chests, we suddenly went out and got bath overflow pipes for them from the ironmonger’s outside the studio. We bought fifty, and he looked rather surprised.”

John Mollo Starwars costume sketchs

(1) Luke Skywalker in his combat outfit, his light-sabre slung from his belt. (2) The familiar garb of Han Solo, retained from the first film. (3) The bulky attire worn by the men who fly the X-Wing fighters, the Rebel Pilots. (4) The Rebel Snowtrooper, burdened with the equipment for sub-zero survival.

“Uniforms are really difficult to make so that they look good. It’s very easy to make them look bad, Basically, George wanted the Empire to look like Fascists, and the rebels like casual Americans. The storm troopers are in white instead of black so it’s less obvious. Their headgear is a cross between a flying helmet and a gas mask. Their costumes are guite flimsy, really.”

All images, caption notes and quotes hark from an interview with John Mollo conducted by Nicholas Leahy (1980 I’m guessing) and featured in the 23rd edition of Starburst Magazine.

Starburst is a long running British Sci-Fi publication that began in the late 70’s and exists now in both digital and print format, Each issue is bursting at the seams with Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy treasures with particular focus on TV and Movie. To be honest browsing through fifty or so publications acquired I was stunned at how many features concerned material I’d never heard of.

Watch this space.

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Foss by Jeff Love

Foss by Jeff Love

Sci-Fi-O-Rama proudly present a very special feature on Chris Foss, as profiled by Jeff Love, owner and admin of the sublime Sci-Fi art blog Ski-ffy.

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Born in 1946 in Guernsey, Channel Islands, Chris Foss is a British illustrator and a powerhouse of science fiction design and invention. His work is a celebration of future machinery, impossibly sized constructions exist on a planetary scale; a showcase of hardware so large that the human figure is dwarfed by comparison.

Chris Foss by Jeff Love

Arriving in the SF illustration field in the early 1970s, he is a cult figure, influential and universally admired. For British SF and SF art, his work can be seen as a catalyst; his prolific output was used abundantly in the UK paperback market, particularly by publishing houses like Panther, Coronet (Hodder & Stoughton) and Granada. Foss’ iconic paintings adorned the covers of American classics; E. E. Smith’s Lensman and Family d’Alembert series, reprints of the works of Asimov, James Blish and Philip K. Dick. These colourful scenes of gargantuan spacecraft, space-scenes and enormous robots not only influenced an entire school of imitators, but instilled a love of future-tech amongst several generations of science fiction fans.

UI BAKA

UI BAKA

Sci-Fi-O-Rama returns with a quick feature on a rather special Tumblr known simply as ‘UI BAKA‘.

Originating from ‘The Land of the Rising Sun’ this Tumblr celebrates the art of sci-fi interfaces with a particular slant towards Japanese Anime, something we’ve shamefully rarely covered.

So what to expect? Well all things bright and beautiful of course, and in this case that’s glowing wire spheres, rippling sine waves, flickering binaries and a large dollop of a targeting reticles.

Indeed whatever the incandescent element, and no matter the function, as long as somethings spins or pulses, it works.

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