Today’s entry is one of those instances where an art piece was started, stalls out for a few months, and then is picked up again. In this case the main subject completely changed. Let’s first see how it came to life, with its start in February of this year.

Interesting objects can often form the basis for my artwork. In this case it was these rusty pieces of metal, one that almost looks like a belt buckle and the other two a spiralling ladder:


I have piles and piles of boxes in my studio, and during the next stage, they were scattered everywhere as I sought the ones that would work to house the above metal objects. I settled upon three boxes, 2 mirror holders and some small wooden legs to serve as the start of this piece:


The first challenge was how to incorporate the belt buckle looking piece into this piece. I cut out some plywood to fit into oval hole of the top mirror base, and then cut out a shape in the plywood for the buckle thing to be placed into. After a bunch of persuasion and a whole lot of modelling paste and glue, it seemed to work. Also added at this point were an ornate tray in the far background, and two cool looking dragons, whose former job were candleholders. I’m hoping they find their new career more satisfying:


And here is the obligatory angle shot on a black background:


Last year, as some of you know, I created a series called the Carnival Discardia. In the process of it, I created a little species of creatures called LUKS, or little undead kids. My initial thought for this piece was to make a couple Luks for this piece, one at the top of the ladder, and one dangling for dear unlife at the bottom of the ladder. As seen below I finished one of them and placed it:


Maybe not as obvious in the detail photo above but in the full shot below, there is a disparity between the Luk and the rest of the piece, which has a somewhat Eastern feel with all its ornate details.


The last thing I did in February was make the following pattern based on the background tray. I scanned the tray in, created some layer effects, as well as some color editting, and then printed it out. At this point I was stumped as to what I would use for a replacement figure, so set it all aside for a few months and worked on other things.


Fast forward to July! At this point I was in the middle of working on the Trickster series. Cheri, noting that this ladder piece had been neglected for awhile, thought that it had a Chinese feel to it, and maybe could somehow make the subject the Chinese Trickster and Monkey King, Sun Wu Kong. Sounded like a great idea, so I looked up some stories about him.

There just happened to be one that was a perfect fit for the existing piece. Sun Wukong was mischief maker, and had just escaped from Hell. The Gods, hoping for him to be less of an annoyance, promised him a spot in Heaven. Elated, he made his way up to Heaven, but little did he know that his role would be to clean up after the celestial horses. This would make him rather irate, and he would continue to cause trouble.

So I got to work on a monkey:


The body of Sun Wukong is primarily made of latches and drawer pulls. The style of these materials already were better suited for the existing piece, and he has an animated quality that would bring this piece to life more than the poor Luk. I don’t have any more progress shots at this point, probably because I was so focussed on finishing it.

The first finished piece shows a closeup of Sun Wukong climbing up the ladder. I wanted to maintain the feeling of him bounding up the ladder, so took several tries attaching him in a way that he didn’t actually feel tied to the ladder.

Sun Wukong - Detail Left 1

You can also see that the pattern I created was applied to the top mirror base. This was a technique where I took the printout of the pattern, covered it in acrylic gel medium, let it dry and then rubbed out the paper. The image transfers from the paper to the gel.

Sun Wukong - Horses Detail

Above you can get a glimpse of the celestial horses that poor Sun Wukong would have had to clean up after. With flying horses come nasty surprises.

The name of this piece is Sun Wukong, named after its Monkey King subject. It is 21 x 10 x 6 inches and self-standing as well as can be hung. As noted above, it is part of my Trickster series.

Sun Wukong

Sun Wukong - Right View

Sun Wukong - Left View


Ladderway to Heaven
Tagged on:                                 

2 thoughts on “Ladderway to Heaven

  • April 15, 2015 at 4:46 am

    I just saw your piece at the airport, I always look at the art while waiting. It looks great in person and it is so interesting to read the back story about it.

    • April 15, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Hi Gretchen! Thanks so much for taking the time to come here to read about this piece. Really appreciate it and glad you like the piece!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *