JIM DORAN

I loved “Welcome to Marwen”

Steve Carell in the excellent "Welcome to Marwen"

There are a few movies that are in constant rotation in my studio/home. I watch and/or listen to them while I work and/or workout. I’m not saying they are cinematic masterpieces, only that I love them. It’s the highest praise I can give. These movies continue to provide rewards with consecutive viewings.

I just saw Welcome to Marwen, it immediately earned a spot on my tiny, exclusive list.

Steve Carell plays Mark Hogancamp, an artist who had his memories and drawing skills beaten out of him outside of a bar when he drunkenly admitted he likes to wear women’s shoes.

Welcome to Marwen Gals

Much of the narrative takes place in Hogancamp’s yard, in a model town he created called Marwen. Barbie like action figures (the characters in the film actually call them action figures, bless) interact with a puppet figure Hogancamp. It’s an elaborate coping mechanism that highlights the resilience of imagination. He stages realistic scenes and photographs them. The shift between two worlds – a miniature facsimile and the “real” world – is enticing. Plus, the bad guys are Nazis and they are repeatedly pummeled by his stiletto wearing female protectors. The sets are wonderful. And Carell’s Hogancamp is endearing without being sappy. He finds peace and acceptance in his internal world – who doesn’t want that?

I read a shitty review of this film (there is no shortage of them) that noted Welcome to Marwen is for people who complain about Hollywood’s formulaic films. I went to see this with a friend, and we both thought the movie felt “loooooooong.” But, that’s not a bad thing, and I also think this deserves several initial viewings. Does it have some problems? Probably. But it’s so good.

The real Mark Hogancamp

It’s directed by Robert Zemeckis, who directed Back to the Future movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Cast Away, and Forrest Gump.  I think this film is a labour of love, and perhaps wasn’t really positioned to be a blockbuster. I don’t care if it was. I’m glad they got this story out into the world. There’s even a nod to Back to the Future.

Printing Action Figures

Following up on the idea of making action figures and monsters from other toys, I have been experimenting with scanning my figures and then printing copies of them.

To start with, Leezle and I downloaded a MakerBot project from Thingverse.

rocket

We printed it.

leezle-and-the-maker-bot

printing

test

Someone at Thingverse commented that it’s “Sad that it’s such a lo-poly model. :/” Still, it was a fun start.

Next, we scanned some of the cowboy figures I made.

blue-cowboy

blue-two

We had a few false starts and bad scans – this is a time consuming process (noted by Leezle). My favorite 4 armed cowboy is red plastic, and it did not play well with the red laser scanner. I switched to blue, who is a rather lumpy. I’ve read that painting a figure white helps, but I’m not ready to sacrifice red to that (also, he’s currently living the March Madness Diorama).

in-process

After the scan was complete, I worked on cleaning up the figure in MeshMixer.

scan

 

 

The Madness of March: Spring Fever

Here’s a closer look at the Dioramas I took to Diorama-rama II.

To address the theme of “March Madness,” I thought I’d ignore the sportsball and explore the strange, strange energy that Springtime brings:

  1. How weird I think Easter is as a “holiday,” which combines egg laying bunnies and people rising from the dead (z o m b i e s), and
  2. Spring Fever!

I started with Spring Fever, as it was low hanging melons, er, fruit. I have a couple of “cute” tins that I’ve never been sure how to use, so I added bunny tails and a blue eyed blonde.

spring-fever

basket

spring-fever-scale

Next, I wanted to use another odd box that’s been on my shelf for a while, which bears the inscription  Recuerdo de Esquipulas (I remember Esquipulas)

mm-bottom-view

Esquipulas is a municipality in eastern eastern Guatemala.  This city is known as the main point of Central Catholic pilgrimage, as it is the place where they worship the Black Christ of Esquipulas. It is also sometimes an alternate Universe.

MM

I was able to add some of my action figures (cactus head and surrender cowboy), as well as Ms. April from the 1970’s. It looks fabulous in a dark room when the interior diorama light is on.

glory \Ms.April

In my mind, these two pieces actually work together. Neither of them rely heavily on paper cut drawings, which is something I’ve tried only once before.