alacranpic1.jpg

Sala-man-der

Artist

Justin Nepomuceno

Model

Justin Nepomuceno

Materials

Fabric, Foam, Wire, Plastic Ornaments, Cardboard, Fibers, Adhesives.

Artist Statement

The ManneqArt competition gives everyone a chance to express themselves in a non-traditional manner. I’ve never been a 3-D artist. Most of my work and training has been in illustration and design. However, after learning that one of the themes was amphibian, I instantly knew that I wanted to be a goofy gaudy lizard. I already had lizard-like tendencies. I just needed to look the part.

The process of creating this artwork was a lot of grueling “touch and go” focused learning. Working with Lee Andersen helped me understand the use of fabrics and hand stitching, which were completely new to me. But the real saving grace was working with Jill Kyle Keith, a seasoned puppeteer and costume designer. I went to her workshop where she taught me techniques like foam carving and wire working. With this all being new to me, it obviously took a couple tries to get anything remotely usable. Jill offered to help make specific parts of the artwork, but I’m very stubborn and insisted that I do it myself. Once I conceive my artistic vision, it's very difficult for me to accept that it won't turn out the way I want it and that sometimes I might need help. This issue of mine can be crippling, and in some cases like with SalaMANder, it doubled the production time.

All in all, after hours of hand stitching and carving, hearing the audience’s “oohs and ahs” made the whole process worthwhile. I learned an incredible number of new skills and discovered that I love creating sculptures and costumes. I can’t wait to see how the process goes next year, now that I am a bit more seasoned and a little bit slimy.