and I quote

march 2012

click for permalink March 30, 2012

So, Project Makeover: Mannequin Edition is going very well... Especially the research portion of the project, which is usually my favorite part of any project. I've found amazing things... Great warehouses full of mannequins in varying degrees of disrepair, representing every style that's come and gone from fashion over the last century, in every shape and color on the continuum from photorealistic to sci-fantastic. It's inspiring and alarming what you can create with mannequins as a medium. But we're not quite there yet...

So I started with wall putty, the kind you use to fill small holes from nails or thumbtacks (unless you're a college student, in which case you use toothpaste). It's fun to work with because it goes on like pink cake frosting and dries in about 15 minutes to a chalky, white drywall consistency. But it's less work if you wipe off all the excess with a damp cloth before it dries completely, then sand and repeat as needed.

So, first I filled all the little cracks and holes and dents, repeated a couple of times to build up the areas where major reconstruction was required. I was actually surprised at how well it worked. Not that I didn't think it would work, I just thought I'd have to repeat the puttying and sanding process several times before it looked right. But that was the easy part. The color matching has been another story.

I took a tiny pencil eraser-sized chip of paint off the back of her head and wrapped it in saran wrap so I could compare it with swatches at this local paint store on Granville Island where they mix their own acrylics on the premises. When I showed the chip to the girl behind the counter she said it looked a very nearly perfect match to something they call Raw Titanium. So I bought a tube of that and she gave me a sample of burnt sienna and a sample of red, which would be more than enough, I figured, since it will probably only take a few drops of one or both to make the Raw Titanium match Maddy's tres, tres caucasian "skin tone" (Maddy is short for Mad Mannequin, by the way).

So it turns out Raw Titanium is way too yellow and adding a toothpick-sized swipe of burnt sienna or red instantly made it several shades too dark and too pink, like bad Cover Girl foundation from the 80s (shudder). So I was back on the sky train the next day to find a tube of Titanium White, the original non-whole wheat variety.

Mr. Pink is convinced this whole project can't be done right without spray paint, so this week we went to Home Depot where I'd always assumed they could custom match paint colors and mix it on site and all that. But they don't. They just eyeball it like everybody else and then mix it according to the formula on the label. I walked around the store with Maddy's leg draped over my shoulder in a black "landscaping sized" garbage bag, her foot sticking out of the top so I could hold it up to all the swatches until I found the closest match, which I figured was just a matter of time...

The only one that even came close was something called Antique White, and the paint guy stayed past closing time to mix it for me. We chatted about mannequins and he told me he collects those little porcelain animals. He has a friend who's got her own business doing restorations and repairs on porcelain antiques and fine china. She was recently commissioned by this guy to repair a life-sized anatomically correct porcelain lady doll that he keeps on a table in his living room (I naturally thought of the Bronze Lady Coffee Table from You Suck at Craigslist's Hall of Fame). "Wow... creepy," I said. The paint guy said, "You have no idea. It's even creepier than you can imagine." He told me the thing must have cost the guy tens of thousands of dollars to have custom made.

At the last minute, he asked me if I wanted to try out the color before I bought it. He painted a spot on the bottom of Maddy's foot and it was immediately clear that it was nowhere near the right color. I left half an hour after the store closed with nothing but a few foam brushes and now I'm back to mixing small batches of acrylic out of the tubes — equal parts Raw Titanium and Titanium White, with a pixel and a half of red and burnt sienna. At least now my trial and error in small batches method doesn't leave brush marks.

Still, none of the parts I've painted blend perfectly yet... I just hope a month from now I don't find myself thinking, why didn't I just go to Sherwin Williams and get them to custom blend the right color and throw it into one of those DIY spray bottles?

No, I have faith... I did go to art school after all. It couldn't hurt to put my education to use once in a while. And she already looks way better than when I first brought her home. I just have to keep looking at these pictures to remind myself. One or two more coats of paint in a few spots and then comes the really fun part... Wig shopping!


click for permalink March 3, 2012

This is SO awesome! I'm regressing to my 13-year old self before my very eyes...

James Dempsey of the Independent sums up the fan furor over Peter Weyland at TED2023 thusly:

In space, no one can hear you scream, but the collective squeals of anticipation crying out around the world are positively audible."

Screech, hiss, spaz...