Back in the days when I made "Hatchet Fish", I made almost everything the same way. Using an Oxy-Acetylene Torch, I would fuse welding rods of various thicknesses together into the shape I wanted. It was very tedious. I never kept track of how long a piece would take - I just figured if I made at least $5.00 per hour I was living high. I doubt, though, that I ever made that much.
But seriously, tedious, mind-numbing tasks to an artist are like a "runner's high" to a jogger. It is an almost trance-like experience. I guess it turns on all the "right brain" stuff. To this day I still really enjoy it. I just don't have as much time for it as I did back then (before mortgages, wife, kids, etc., etc.)
The idea for "Hatchet Fish" came right out of an old book of copyright free clipart. It is an actual deep-sea fish, although I believe it is only a couple inches long in real life. For my entire life, something I have enjoyed right to my core is taking a two-dimensional image and making it three-dimensional.
After building up the "Hatchet Fish" body with the torch, I used a similar technique to make the lacy fins. I added a little brass to the eyes, sandblasted it, tempered it with the torch and sealed it with oil. One interesting thing about this piece is its base. In those days (in Billings, Montana) I got my pieces sandblasted at Billings Monument Company. They made headstones there so they were also a good source for pieces of marble and granite to use for bases. At one point, they were contracted to make replacements for damaged headstones at Custer Battlefield. They had the old broken ones there and I was able to buy some (they were going to be trashed anyway). The base on the "Hatchet Fish" is a piece of one of those old, white marble headstones from Custer's Last Stand.
For more information check out my website. http://www.jppendergrass.com
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