Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A sadly destroyed fishie

Things have been a little nuts on this end of late-- a whole crew of us went to Burning Man this year and our projects took on a life of their own, so I was more or less out of commission on painting for all of August. I spent probably 40 hours making a 7 foot long angler fish suit, and was really, really pleased with how it turned out. But then on the drive down to the burn it rained for 12 hours straight, and no amount of tarps proved to be enough to protect my fishie. It was sadly destroyed by the time we got there. Its tattered remnants are in my basement, and I'm hoping to fix it back up for Halloween, but I'm still a little too sad about the state it is currently in. Here's how I made it and what it looked like before its untimely demise:

Phase 1: I took an old external frame boyscout backpack that I'd found in a free pile and stitched little pockets to insert PVC into. I used bailing wire to create a rough frame for my body, then used wood glue and parchment vellum to start making my skin.

Phase two: The skin was pretty much on, I built up more layers of wood glue and paper and eventually switched to elmers glue (I went through almost 3/4 of a gallon on this project....) because I needed it in bulk. I added a rough coat of tissue paper to start creating the colors I wanted.

Phase three: The skin was on, I'd attached a tail, and started being more attentive to detail in the patterns of my scales. Here I am taking it for a test stroll on our street, you can see the fangs of Bill's amazing pterodactyl bike (I'll post pictures of that later) on the right.

Phase four: I cut out each scale and individually applied it. This might sound like a masochistic amount of work, and you would be right to think that, but the ultimate effect when the fish was lit (did I mention that the whole fish is a lantern? Like I said, I got a little carried away) was totally worth it.

Phase five: Late stage test run. Fins and flippers are on, wiffle ball eyes are applied.

Phase 6: Testing my fangs! Bill and Andy and I all hand soldered all the LEDs for our costumes. Later we discovered that there are basically LED christmas tree lights that one can buy that would have made out lives about a million times easier, but we became pretty damn adept with our soldering by the end of it, so I'm actually fairly happy we went the labor intensive route.

And this, my friends, is the final product with little dangly front light and all. To tell you the truth looking at this picture makes me a little sad. Sigh. Oh well! I will fix it for Halloween and it will have its moment to shine (quite literally).

I have a few other random things I've been working on of late. I was going to post them now but all this talk of my fish has left me wanting/needing a beer.


  1. THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!!! wow...
    in awe

    also love your deck.

  2. thanks! I was a very, very sad panda when it got destroyed....