Thursday, August 24, 2006

Greg Broadmore and Weta Workshop

"Act Now!" Poster
(Click for Larger Version)

Manmelter 3600ZX
Sub-Atomic Disintegrator Pistol
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Goliathon 83
Infinity Beam Projector
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FMOM Industries
Wave Disrupter Gun
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Introducing Dr. Grordbert's Infallible Aether Oscillators, for all your pachyderm-vaporising and martian-defying needs! Designed by Greg Broadmore at the Weta Workshops (the same guys who did all the creature effects and design for the Lord of the Rings and Narnia films,) these alternate-history rayguns are absolutely crammed full of steampunk goodness. They don't appear to have been released to the general public yet, but once they are, you'd better believe I'm going to be doing whatever it takes to get my hands on them.

Really detailed and inventive prop design is an art-form unto itself. While I must admit that I have a bit of a weakness for functional art and Broadmore's rayguns are pretty much the anti-thesis of "functional" (...unless they aren't, in which case I'm definitely buying them,) this is some of the best prop work I've ever seen - which should come as absolutely no surprise, considering the source. While effects houses like Industrial Light + Magic are known for the sheer overwhelming bombast of their mostly-CG design, Weta stands head and shoulders above anyone else working in the industry on the combined basis of realism and imagination: they don't just design a sword, they design a sword with bits of rust flake on the hilt and chips and cracks in the blade and possibly weathered fabric from an old tunic wrapped around the handle. There's a lot of enthusiasm and care put into everything they produce, and I can't help but admire them for it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ron Mück

Ron Mück, who previously did special effects work for film, particularly the Henson Company's classic "Labyrinth" (in which he also contribued the voice of Ludo,) creates these incredibly detailed and realistic sculptures of people along a wide range of scales - some are merely a foot and a half tall, while others, such as the jolly bald fellow above, sit upwards of seven feet tall. (For more examples of Mück's work in context, see here, here and here.) The surreal atmospheres of his installations are fascinating in and of themselves - it's like walking into a large room populated by mostly-naked giants and pixies who glare at you, unmoving, out of the corners of their eyes, if they deem to notice you at all. Despite the painstaking attention to detail, however, there is a slightly surreal and even numinous quality to his sculptures, particularly in the context of a gallery showing. Mück is one of those artists whose work speaks for itself, but if viewed in relation to their environs gain an additional level of impact. A sculpture of a gigantic naked man sitting on a fluted marble pedestal is one thing, but when it is leaning against the gallery wall looking slightly perturbed in the direction of the viewers, it becomes something else completely.

For more of Ron Mück's work, see the James Cohen Gallery entry here and the Wikipedia entry here.