Robo Crow blog post
I began creating the Robo Crow, as I had really liked how the Mechanical Owl had turned out and wanted to do more animals using a similar idea. Some people had said my owl looked like something they call ‘Steampunk’, so I thought I’d research this style for inspiration. From doing this, I got the impression that Steampunk was kind of combination of victorian steam engineering aesthetic, mixed with goth and sci fi themes. My owl even though does have characteristics of Steampunk, I would not really categorise it as this, because it has a much brighter, graphic, street art style overall. But I did find this darker, more industrial style appealing and decided to add elements of this to my crow. I didn’t want it to become purely Steampunk, as I never really like to jump on a band waggon or for my work to be categorised into a particular genre. So even though I took inspiration from Steampunk, I tried to add enough different elements to keep it original. For example using an expressive wash as a background, and using mid 20th century industrial engineering as inspiration, rather than victorian.
I also felt with a lot of my current work, that although I had been pleased with the technical aspect, much of it seemed to lack mood or atmosphere, so I had this in mind when creating the crow. I wanted to convey a sinister, dramatic experience for the viewer, as I had been getting a bit bored of the more cute, twee character that a lot of my wildlife drawings had. I tried to achieve this by using a number of different visual effects, for example the absence of any real colour, I mainly used muddy browns, blacks and greys. Also the form of the bird is very angular and spiky rather than smooth and flowing (characteristics that quite often appear in my work). I think also there is a natural gloom about industrial machinery, and a kind of anti-nature deadness which adds to the feeling I was trying to convey. Also its probably unfair to the crow as a species, but I think most people would see a crow as quite a sinister creature in its appearance.
In completing the picture, I next had to frame it. A frame can completely change the effect and character of an image. Therefore I was very careful of the style of frame I was going to use for the crow, especially after all the time and consideration I had put into conveying a certain mood within the artwork. For instance if I had put the crow in the modern white painted frame I had used for most of my other recent work, the dark gloomy atmosphere I had created would have been partly lost. Because this type of frame conveys a sense of freshness and light, the complete opposite to what I was trying to achieve. Even if I had used the black version, the smart modern style would ruin the grimey industrial feel of the picture. After a long search through different moulding types, I found the perfect frame. It had a finish that looked just like raw iron and a profile that had detail which could resemble cog like teeth on its surface. Making it look as if it could be piece from some steam aged machine. (Image of frame moulding below).
To see the how the Robo crow looks finished in its frame, please go to the Framing bog section of my site. Thanks