Thursday, August 1, 2013

SDCC 2013 - Robert Williams & the Wheel 'O Fangs

Sculpture by Robert Williams.
Photo by Lord Cheez
One of the most stunning pieces of work on the SDCC exhibit floor was this huge wheel of teeth/fangs by Robert Williams displayed at the Gentle Giant booth. They had it situated so that you would be directly confronting it by walking toward it through one of the entrance doors and on the main aisle.

Meyer, Reynolds, Williams, Vitello & Stout
 At Williams' spotlight panel, the right people were there to discuss a whole overview of his career: Fellow cartoonist William Stout; Gwynned Vitello (president of Juxtapoz & Thrasher); Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics, who will soon be publishing the collected Zap Comics) & Karl Meyer (president of Gentle Giant Studios). While everyone got a few remarks in at the beginning, it soon became clear that everyone wanted to know what was up with that sculpture on the floor. The panel became a conversation between Meyer and Williams about his goals and the process of creating the sculpture.

Williams said "My goal was to do something no one has seen before. Action & color to attract attention and get a reaction. The wheel is about that momentary feeling of not wanting to stand in front of it."

Sculpture by Robert Williams
Williams continued on, talking about the painstaking process of creating it. He plotted it out with a computer tech from his drawings. From this they generated a scale model. Williams worked on the model, revising. They scanned the model and generated a full size version out of foam. Williams revised this one, adjusting and adding pieces. The foam model was cut into pieces, cast and reassembled. Williams perfected the sculpture and began painting. Williams talked about the importance of underpainting, and how he built up transparent layers of color to give in depth and immediacy.

Here's a good interview by Kenny Scharf about Williams' sculptures on Juxtapoz.

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