Original Cartoons, Art School projects, Plus other entertaining Odds & Ends.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Knot Here, and Knot There


Junior Block Project #4 is composed of a found wooden chair, an old walking cane, and many yards of cotton cord. This piece was inspired by a clever book I found titled "Why Knot?" written by the famous tightrope walker, Phillipe Petit. Monsieur Petit discusses and demonstrates the how's, why's, and histories of 80+ knots in a very entertaining way. He apparently knows how to tie hundreds.  I used about 20 different types of knots on this piece, with some of my favorites being repeated several times. I don't think I ever really counted how many total knots there are; but of those only nine are functional, and actually hold the chair together.

In these modern times of ours, knot tying is fast becoming a lost art. The tying of knots has been largely replaced by: Duct tape, Zip-ties, twist ties, Super Glue and so on. There are kids I know who grew up never knowing how to tie even a simple knot because their shoes had Velcro straps instead of laces. There are only a few professions remaining that still require knot tying. These usually involve livestock or boats of some kind. I'm hard pressed to think of any leisure activities that make regular use of knots. Camping perhaps? Mountaineering and sailing, for sure. This is indeed a sad state of affairs. However, there is still hope. Perhaps such films as "50 Shades of Gray" could spark a new public interest in "recreational" knot tying. But a mere hope is all that it is.

The multiple non-functional knots I used in this piece to represent our society's loss of it's general knot knowledge and usage. There is also a certain pathos and a bit of irony in the idea of using a cane, designed to aid and support a human body, to repair a chair which is another structure designed to support the human frame. There is a little obsessiveness in the abundance of the non-functioning knots.

I felt I had no other choice than to title this piece as, "This Is Knot Your Seat".





The dramatic lighting effect was both loved and hated by my classmates. What do you think? 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Untitled" : A Performance Art Piece

This is project #3 from the Spring semester of my Junior Sculpture (or Block) program. Please watch this 1 minute video, and if you find yourself intrigued then you can read the "inside story" below. Enjoy!





I became aware of these "Drawing Robots" a few years ago, and thought that at some point I'd like to do something with them.  These little robots run on batteries and have a small motor with a short axle. At the end of the axle is a small yellow plastic disc mounted in an off-center fashion. As the motor turns the axle, the weight of the off-center rotating disc, creates a wobbling motion which then causes the robot to move in a circular way.




My goal was to make these little robots do something they weren't designed to do. In this case, to make sound. On one robot I substituted the pen-legs for a ping-pong ball, the spring from a doorstop, and a wire brush. This one became known as "the Sweep Bot". Also, I glued a short metal rod onto the "wobble disc" and added a nut to the end. This put substantially more weight further out from the center, and created a very exaggerated wobble.




The same enhanced weight arrangement was added to the second robot along with golf tees for legs. This one I named "Tap-Bot" as it literally tap danced when the motor was turned on.

The third robot was given the same weight set-up as the other two. Long, thin dowels were added for the legs. Bells were affixed to the legs and the whole thing was wrapped in a sheet of Mylar. This one I named the "Tall Bot".




The two short bots were placed in small wooden boxes with holes drilled into the sides. These enclosures amplified the sound produced by each one. The Tap Bot was especially loud as you can hear in the video. The Sweep Bot did produce a "whooshing" sound, but it was not loud enough. I purchased special light bulbs to use as footlights that were designed to change colors automatically or in response to a remote control.





In the video the flying bot finale was a complete surprise to my audience. When I'm working on a project I tend to keep some aspect of it a secret. I like to surprise my professors and the other students when it comes time for our presentation and critique. The professor who was grading my project said "I've been teaching a long time and I've seen a lot of  strange things. That was one of the strangest! I want to congratulate you Buck, on allowing yourself to get so...weird".

I was at loss as to what to call this piece. In the past I have stated that naming something "Untitled" can be a bit of a cop out.  But in this case I made an exception.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Planes & Grids



This is my second project for the semester. Two found birdcages were deconstructed and reassembled into a mobile (my very first!). I was inspired by a book on the works of Alexander Calder, who for all intents and purposes is considered the creator of the "Mobile". 





   

Sunday, March 29, 2015

13 Sculptures

Starting last January I entered into my Junior semester of Sculpture Block classes. "Block" refers to three semesters of intense focus on sculptural work, processes (methods in how-to make things) and concepts. One must submit a portfolio for evaluation by the professors in the department in order to get accepted. It is a small but vigorous program where students have regular access to professors and grad students for guidance.

The 13 sculptures project is the first and only assignment in the Junior semester of Sculpture Block at the University of Houston. The 13 is is a way to kick-start the students and get their hands and minds busy. The idea is to work fast, and not over think. We had two weeks to complete the work. I found that the two weeks went by very quickly! All future projects, ideas, and concepts must be generated by the students entirely on their own. Each student is responsible for exploring and finding their own "voice" as a sculptor.

The following are the best of my 13 sculptures. Some were made very quickly, and others were made with a bit more time and consideration. Most of these pieces were made with found objects.


 Iron Wood

Wire Play





Crumpled Screen


Blockhead


 Flying Glove





Sinking Balls






Trouble Chair



Wood Pile




Conversing Stones






Hair Ball






(Look closely, that's a ping-pong ball covered with my hair. Most of which came from the top of my head.)




Sunday, December 21, 2014

New BuckToonz for the New Year

Hello friends and fans.

BuckToonz has been put on hold due for a few months for a number of different reasons. I won't bore you with the how's and why's because I have good news to share. There are plans to resume regular posting (and the ensuing hilarity) in early 2015. I appreciate your patience and in the meantime, why not take a stroll down memory lane and re-visit some of your favorite cartoons of years past? You can access the blog archive located a little ways down and on right side of the page.

Wishing y'all Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year! Have fun and travel safe.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rhyming Time

I never fancied myself a poet, but on past occasions I've tried my hand at a bit of prose. Now wait...before you click away-- I promise this will be kind of fun.

This first one tells the tale of how I dealt with a roach infestation many years ago when living in a tiny apartment.

Roaches Goodbye

This war has raged here long enough
Tried traps and sprays and other stuff
My food and garbage they still eat
And run at night across my feet
But I'm a smart and clever man
For I have genocide in a can
I pull the tab, release the spray
And leave my house for the day
I come home late to a welcome sight
A victory won by chemical might
I walk the floor and then I feel
A hundred bodies beneath my heel

The city where I live was built in a coastal region that has a very high water table. The local newspaper once stated how that water table effects the structure of buildings across the city, and causes them to slowly sink a little each year. Around that same time I also became aware of how many people, including myself, who have accumulated large amounts of pennies, and stored them in big containers for a future trip to the bank. I then saw a "correlation" between these two things and came to the following conclusion....
Copper Deposits

They say this city sinks each year
A foot or more this time they fear
Its pennies saved in jars like mine
That sink this city over time

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Objectified


In this week's toon I'm referencing one of my own
sculptures, which can be seen here.
Is that a little weird or inbred somehow?