Ray Caesar is a 3D digital artist. Although his works are created in the same way movies like Shrek are – his works look more like strange and wonderful oil paintings of bygone eras (from Georgian to Victorian to the 1950s). That is one thing that sets this artist a part…
Elizabeth McGrath is a sculptor, painter and a singer who was born in Hollywood, California. Her work is classified as Pop Surrealism.
She was raised a Catholic by very religious parents – her mom wanted to be a nun and her father wanted to be a priest. But of course she wasn’t the little angel mummy and daddy had hoped for – she was a typical rebellious teenager who considered herself ‘Punk Rock’. She was kicked out of seventh grade. On her thirteenth birthday her parents told her that they were going to take her to a wild animal park but instead dropped her off at a southern Baptist home for girls. She has this to say about it:
‘It was horrible. We drive up to this gate and it opens. My parents are telling me, “We’re just gonna get directions. We’re lost.” As they’re driving up, the gate slams shut behind us with barbed wire. Then I see these Christian weirdos coming. I went crazy and wouldn’t get out of the car. They finally dragged me out and locked me in the “G.R.” room — the “Get Right With God” room. It was a little closet with religious tapes playing outside the door. It was hell. They said, “You’re here for a year.” I thought, “I’ll escape. They can’t hold me here.” But they could. It broke my spirits, but then again I was a bad kid. So, I don’t know what I would’ve been like had I not gone there.’
In an other interview she says that she was always getting into situations where she would have to do a lot of community service. She was sent to complete her community service with her dad who worked in the LA county morgue. She spent a lot of time in this morgue putting toe tags on people and filling out reports on how they died. Here is a bit about that in her own words:
‘One of the jobs was just filing reports on how people died. I wasn’t supposed to read the files, but of course I did. It was mostly pretty boring, but there were interesting things. After doing it for one summer, I started a tally on gang-related deaths vs. other weird deaths. Like, “they got shot, and they had spaghetti for dinner.” Most of them were gang-related, but out of every 20 boxes of files, one box would have the interesting files. Weird stuff that happened: weird murders or body parts found or something, and half of those would be suicides. By doing this, I figured out that a lot of women committed suicide in their mid-to-late thirties or early forties. They all had cats and left suicide notes. Most of the men were in their late forties, and most of them did it in their garages, by hanging or shooting themselves.’
Elizabeth says she always dabbled in creative things but didn’t do much art in her teenage years as she was busy playing in punk bands. She started out doing menus for her aunt’s restaurant and flyers for her punk bands. Then she had a friend who worked at a printing company called Kinkos and she and her friend decided to create a magazine about bands that they liked, because they felt like the bands that everyone they knew liked were being ignored by the media.
Elizabeth had no formal art school training but did go to school for a year for fashion design. From there she started working for Trashy Lingerie in LA where she would get all sorts of weird requests to make anything from dolls, to fairy wings to giant surfing santas. It was there that she made a toy called ‘The Junior Meth lab’ which looked like a science kit but had crack pipes and things in it.
Her art, presumably the dolls and things that she made at Trashy Lingerie, got noticed by an animation director named Fred Stuhr who did a lot of the early Tool videos. He hired Elizabeth to do work on some videos and animation. She worked for Fred Stuhr Animation Studios and then another studio. She says ‘I never really dreamt of doing anything in the artistic world until I started working on videos. That sparked all kinds of creative ideas for me. I couldn’t stop.’
The work she is now known for are sculptures. She brings to life some very strange creatures that are inspired by religion, consumer culture, urban life, music videos, Edward Gorey, The Victorian Era and nature. They often look like taxidermy animals that are given tattoos and clothing. One of her works is a deer’s head on a wall with tattoos and power lines for antlers.
Both a work of art and a functional telescope, the Oddie II 9 inch refractor was built to replace the Victorian Oddie I which was destroyed by fire in 2003. It is not a replica but it is in the spirit of the original Oddie which was built in 1890. With modern optics and a Victorian aesthetic, it fits well with the Steampunk theme typical of it’s creator’s work, artist Tim Wetherell. The Oddie II was recently delivered on a vintage truck to Mount Stromlo observatory on the 100 year anniversary of the original Oddie arriving. Read more about the Oddie II on Tim Wetherell’s website where you will find heaps more pictures, a radio interview and a news clip: http://platypusart.com/wetherell/sculpture_oddie2.html