To be honest, I hesitated writing about the Eckmans because I thought that maybe they were too commercial. But then I decided that I needed to remember how I felt the first time I saw an image of their work… I remember gasping and wondering HOW IN THE WORLD did they do it?!
So, because I felt such a strong response to the work, I figured I should pass it along. OK, so here is the first impression.
How was it for you?
Well… it is made with paper casts and then paper embellishments. This is not paper-mache. This is paper casting which is similar to wax casting or clay casting. When you know how it is done, it seems fairly amazing, eh? Think about how much time it takes to create all the fine detail work… wow.
HOW DO THEY DO IT?
What they do is they create a mold from clay and then press the paper mixture into that mold so the paper has the same shape. Then, they squeeze the beejeezus out of the paper mixture so that all the water is removed. Then, they dry that paper mixture so it hardens and becomes a replica of the initial formed mold.
As you can see, the formed molds are nothing compared to the finished piece. So, you can bet there are many, many painstaking hours of work to create a finished piece.
WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?
The Eckmans started as Ad Agency art people. They were graphic designers. But, as we all know, most graphic designers are artists of a different kind when they are at home… And, this was true of both Allen and Patty. Allen was always very interested in history, the Indians and all of their gear. Patty was always interested in Indians (she came from South Dakota) and wildlife. She loved to paint flowers, birds and animals. So, when this form of art burst forth from them, they naturally chose Indians and wildlife as their subject matter. Interestingly, both Allen and Patty work together on these. Collaboratively, they each create what they do best for an amalgam of the ultimate from both.
OK, so this is totally my issue and I’m wrong about it. My problem was when I went to their website, I saw many avenues to their art. You can teach yourself how to do it, you can purchase limited editions, you could purchase a booklet, you could learn how to make the flowers, you could learn the patented Eckman Method — it seemed very commercial.
But, then I thought about it… We, as a people, aren’t used to artists being business people as well. Obviously, the Exkmans are business people. And, there is nothing wrong with that.
Secondly, why wouldn’t someone want to learn how to do this?
And, why shouldn’t they get a patent to protect their discovery and hard work?
Limited Editions have to be available for the collector who cannot afford originals.
So, I stand corrected in my bias. I’m wrong.
As I’ve discussed above, there are many options on the website. So, if you like this work, please visit. I actually thought that I would like to learn this method since I love to sculpt.
I wonder if you can paint them? I’m guessing not since none of them are painted. Obviously, you cannot spill water on them. All in all, I find these fascinating in their detail and in their genesis. I love that someone thought of how to do this and then executed them so beautifully!
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this little jaunt into Eckman art. I think it is truly amazing. I think is is amazing that they thought of this themselves. I’m glad they carry the patent and I’m glad that they have a thriving business. Also, it is pretty cool that they are willing to share their methods and their art with us all.
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Our August Bucket Fund will benefit the equine charity BHFER. To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate $5, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)