Part of this recent obsession stems from a show I saw last summer in L.A. featuring the work of John Frame, a very very very inspiring exhibit.
That was not the only source of my inspiration, however. For many years I have dreamt of creating fortune telling automatons such as Zoltar.
Here's a odd fortune telling machine I came across on Coney Island...Granny knows best...I think I like Zoltar better....duh!
Granny sees...an little boy fetching her a nice cup of tea...
Here's a groovy one I found in Oaxaca, Mexico:
Another inspiration was the automated window displays made by Baranger company.
The largest collection of Baranger displays is located in Wisconsin at the amazing House on the Rocks, which also houses oodles and oodles of other machine operated people, places and things. Here's a little video I made last year when Katherine Engen and I visited that palace of Pandemonium.
Last Summer Andrea and I visited the Marionette Museum in Lisbon. Pretty nifty. They had a very nice collection of marionettes from around the globe. One of the more interesting displays was the Vietnamese Water Puppets. The stage is actually waist high deep pool. This type of puppetry is different because the mechanisms come from below as opposed the traditional strings from above.
But perhaps the most inspirational thing was that silly B.B. gun game in front of the Oaxaca City cemetery during Day of the Dead. Shoot the target and the puppets start to dance....a normal thing to do in front of a graveyard.
So finally I have embraced my inner-puppeteer....though, I still hate Kukla, Fran and Ollie (that show gave me the willies).
deMent-triloquisms and Mixed Media PupetryI have begun with simple talking heads based on Mexican Dia de los Muertos. They can even carry a tune...sort of...
And for those of you who know the ever enduring tunes of Eduard Khil here is a remixed version of his masterpiece Trololo:
And of course these led to the more complex Spinny Headed Super Freak:
Currently I am working on this strange little dude Despite the prominent lower jaw, ironically his mouth will stay shut and most of the motion will come from his arms and legs.
Well...since I'm in a toy-making mood, I thought I'd leave you with a horrifying memory from my childhood...the Child Catcher of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as he searches the Toymaker's shop.