Every month we choose one of our favourite creatives to TAKE OVER the Beautiful Bizarre Magazine social media for the day. Back in October we chose sculptor Jessica Dalva to share with us the artists who have inspired her through her artistic career. Just in case you missed it, below we present the full TAKE OVER.
Jessica Dalva // Hello beautiful bizarre friends! My name is Jessica Dalva, I am a sculptor and illustrator working in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I am so happy to be sharing a Very Limited list of some of my favourite artists on Instagram! It was extremely difficult to narrow this list down, and I’m sure many of these folks are familiar to you, but today I’ll be sharing just a few peoples’ work that inspires me! To tell you a little about my own work, I primarily sculpt spooky, cloudy-eyed ladies and wispy contorted animals, using a variety of materials and every possible small shiny thing I can collect. My work is often more of a three dimensional illustration than a sculpture with a solid freestanding subject made of a single material. I like to create weird worlds for my characters to live in, and often get distracted with repetitive tiny details to surround the subject. I use a lot of vintage textiles and small found objects in my work, bits of old things or pieces of dried plants and lots of sparkly rhinestones tucked into crevasses. I am currently working on a number of pieces for group exhibitions, coming up I will have a few new works for ‘A Box Full of Darkness’ at SHOH Gallery (@shoh_east_bay) in Berkeley, as well as group shows at Arch Enemy Arts (@archenemyarts) in Philadelphia. I am also making sculptures that I photograph for covers for an upcoming comic book series ‘The Dollhouse Family’ through DC Comics’ new Hill House Comics imprint.
Viriginie Ropars // The influence of Virginie Ropars’ work on mine is probably pretty obvious. We both sculpt spooky ladies with polymer clay, use a myriad of materials to embellish their costumes and environments, but the level of expression, detail and LIFE she creates with her pieces absolutely astounds me. I don’t know HOW she does it, but I am so glad that she does. Her figures are so alive — everything from skin texture and tendons in their hands to complex costuming that always creates such a cohesive world that each figure believably inhabits. Each piece tells a story steeped in unknown lore, and although there is a clear through line that distinguishes her work, every individual figure looks like it comes from a distinct world. Hi Virginie, let me know if you ever need an assistant. ;)
Fumi Nakamura // Fumi has an incredible drawing ability — soft, fine line quality and muted colours, paired with somewhat violent or gruesome subject matter, like snarling beasts and milky-eyed skeletons. The paintings and drawings are often almost a repeating pattern or tessellation, filled to the brim with meticulous detail and expression. I peered at the piece shown here at the @thinkspace_art “LAX / SFO : Third Time Is The Charm” show it was part of in San Francisco at @heronarts recently, and stood there, as close as I could get, examining the tiny details with delight for what felt like hours.
Allison Sommers // Allison Sommers has been a favorite of mine for quite awhile. Not only is Allison incredibly prolific, like, it seems as if there is never not something being created every moment of the day and night) she dabbles in and excels at a whole pile of different media, including collage, gouache painting, embroidery, and installation work. Each piece seems to include infinite layers of texture, tiny notes and poetic musings about the end of the world, subtly lovely color and undulating, mysterious globular forms. I love Allison’s use of forgotten or abandoned crumbs of humanity, from frames or display boxes that look like they bounced from a peddler’s cart in Victorian England and have sat under dust until she found them, to a collection of miscellaneous medical odds and ends, rusty shears and scraps of paper, arranged to complement the dainty apocalyptic microorganism painted nearby. Allison is the master of tiny gouache details and making oozing parasitic infections into something I’d want to frame and hang on my wall.
Lana Crooks // Lana Crooks is a very talented textile artist, making incredible soft sculptures, often of animal or human skulls embellished with handmade flowers and gems. From afar, they might look like the real thing, but up close you’ll see that the delicate piece is finely cut and sewn wool, felted, painted and decorated with glass beads, gems, embroidery and imbued with otherworldly creepiness. I honestly don’t really know how she makes these sculptures, a fact I love and don’t really need to know an exact answer to. Her work is complex, clean, and precise, allowing the inherent textures of her materials to shine, a combination that brings life to her fantastical creatures.
Alicia Ponzio // Alicia is a local San Francisco sculptor who I have recently been taking classes from, and she is both a fantastic sculptor AND an excellent teacher. Her methods and sculptures are very classical, building up forms in clay with a keen eye for capturing the live models’ expressions or gestures. Her work is precise yet loose, a lovely texture evolves from the way she presses bits of clay onto the sculpture, but each addition of clay is made with careful observation and confidence. It has been a pleasure watching her work, as she is extremely knowledgeable from her time training and then teaching in Florence, and years of practice. And, there’s something wonderful about working in a way that, if by some trick of time travel, she were transported back in time hundreds of years, she could continue to work with the same techniques, and her work would be just as respected and admired as it is now.
Lana Filiponne // Lana Filippone makes unbelievable porcelain sculptures, so delicate and detailed and perfect I don’t know how they don’t just crumble under the weight of their own perfection. I love also that she shares the process of the porcelain drying, one of my favorite parts of working with ceramics is the look of the subtle gradient from damp to dry clay. Her work has a huge amount of detail packed into tiny pieces, and the clay is sculpted so finely that her botanical elements look like they have just been freshly picked from a shiny all white and gold dream garden. The sculptures also often have a sort of reliquary-like aspect to them, with gold star bursts embellishing the jewel-toned backgrounds of the clean, crisp florals, creatures, skulls and the occasional mysterious eye. Please teach me how to sculpt with porcelain like this, Lana!
Caitlin McCormack // My good buddy Caitlin McCormack is just a machine. She crochets tiny skeletons, flowers, naughty bits and other creatures to create her ethereal, spooky pieces; pieces with perfect titles like “Piety and Abomination”, “A Werewolf of Truly Demoniacal Ferocity”, and “White Dick Tablecloth,” to name a few. She blends humor in her work with depth, immense technical skill, and a sprinkle of self-deprecation, which is always relatable to mix in. Her work is wildly complicated to make, something that I couldn’t even fathom creating, which is always something I admire in an artist – standing in front of it and thinking, “how the hell did she make that?!” Her work is one of those that you really have to see in person to get the full story, to see how each individual thread has been carefully splayed and arranged, each limb and rib made of hundreds (probably thousands?) of tiny loops and knots. There is wonderful dimension to her work, little spindly shadows of threads falling on threads, making a web of light and string and spookiness. I am lucky enough to have a small piece of hers, and it’s always the first thing people comment on when they come into my house, and then they stand there staring at it for awhile, moving their heads around goofily to see it from every angle.
This was the last piece chosen by Jessica Dalva for her TAKE OVER. Thank you again Jessica, we really appreciate you taking the time to put this day together.