Sunday 13 May 2012

Steampunk- The Angel of Britannia

   Long time since the last post, largely due to Super Crazy Laptop Death, caused by a combination of a faulty piece of virus-scan software, a virus, and my foolish attempts to use the Isambard Kingdom Brunel Mk1 Steam-Driven Laptop I own.  So without much further rambling, an update!

The Angel

   This is something that started with the Britannia Model Village project, and ended up in the Steampunk project.  Being as the Steampunk stuff is set in an imagined 'past' of Britannia, it made sense to backdate some of the visual imagery.  That and the fact that I was too lazy to design a load of new iconography contributed to this piece of miniature sculpture.
   In the Model Village project, the titular Britannia was represented in Government/Propaganda by the winged angel design, below.  This appeared on posters, vehicles, everywhere an official logo needed to be seen.
   Taking inspiration from the Angel of the North statue, I decided to make a version of the Angel to appear in the pics; in particular a shot of a militarised border between Cumbria and Yorkshire.  The statue was a classic cobbled-together-the-day-before-the-shoot project, built around a barbie doll bought from a charity shop (believe me, not the most embaressing props-purchase at a charity shop I've made as a photographer), a flower pot, some modelling clay, and a bit of scrap card.  Detailing didnt need to be up to much as it was only going to be seen blurry in the background.

 The completed model as it appeared 'on-set', photographed at the seaside at Port Carlisle during one of the many shoots carried out there for the project (being as the other location availible was our cat-shit-filled back yard at the student house).  To the obvious and lasting delight of Amy who was assisting with the shoot, the model of the angel was so recently-completed that the paint was still wet, and managed to stain the back of the drivers seat in her car when we were driving back.

   Forward to the Steampunk project, and the need to recreate the statue.  This time more effort would go into it, for a rather more extravagent piece.  The original model was long-since destroyed when the majority of the model village props were cleared out before I moved house.  So the only option was another embarassing trip to the shops to purchase a donor-doll, and then to cobble together anything else from bits in the scrapbox.

   The idea is that in this 1901, Steampunk-version of Britannia, there are numerous statues like this, celebrating all thats best about the power, industry, militarism (all the jingoistic Victorian/Edwadian values really) of the country.  And thus the statue of the angel would sit atop a load of sculptural representations of factories, mills, trains, warships, etc etc.  There was a sketch done in readiness for this, but generally if it looked to scale and was spare, on it went.

Once again, the wings were cut from 3mil mountcard, the base this time is 5mil foamboard. sheeted with card and stone-printed paper.  As can be gauged from the above shots, the piece is pretty large, unwieldy, and difficult to store/move, to the ongoing delight of Amy who has to put up with me filling the house with this stuff.

What a difference a coat of paint makes, though its still a little too glossy, and needs weathering to remove the shine.  So far though the Angel has appeared as a background object in one of the test shots for the project, as well as this quick concept montage, seen below.  A few tweaks remain to be done on the piece before it can be properly called finished however.

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