Artist Teddy O'Connor goes both ways: He works in three dimensions, creating mixed media assemblage works, but for the last couple of years, he's also been hard at work making comic books infused with a funny, personal Teddy vision, about the lives of pyramids and other rarefied nonsense. "As an artist," he says, "I like to divide my time between illustration work and other mediums. "I think it's important to have your hands in other things, just to keep you inspired."
And because he's inspired by the superheroes of his youth -- the X-Men and other folk imbued with singular powers who carry personal baggage all the same -- and planned to do a project with a superhero theme, Teddy chose to work with an age group still young enough to thrill over their superhero fantasies when he applied for his residency at Denver's PlatteForum, where artists work with youth.
The result of this meeting of open, imaginative minds, Jump Suits: an Outis Space Venture, opens with a reception tonight from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at PlatteForum, 1610 Little Raven Street, and considering that its centerpiece is O'Connor's monumental orange pyramid structure covered in found-object space detritus, it's going to be well worth seeing, especially if you like comics.
During the last six weeks, O'Connor and his Colfax Community Network mentees imagined their own superhero characters, who went on to star in collaborative comics and kid-made costumes of plaster-cast masks and capes and whatnot, all of which will be on display, along with each child's vision of space detritus. "We've described each character and its world, both on the page and in space," he notes.
As for Teddy's pyramid, he says, "I was thinking about pyramids before I got to Denver. I had the idea for a comic strip where the main character is a pyramid. There are already three episodes of "Adventures of Pyramid." At first, I thought it would be more about the shape of the character and fitting it into other shapes in the environment, but instead it became a sassy comedy about a pyramid that loves classic rock and gets into trouble all the time."
Here at PlatteForum, he knew he wanted to do some kind of mixed-media sculpture that would be large and fun for the kids; the orange pyramid is the product of all those things colliding in space. But the adults, in turn, will certainly enjoy the kids' masks and jumpsuits, as well as their objects, which will be displayed on pedestals. Following is a picture journal of the project. Photos courtesy of PlatteForum.
Teddy created the comic-book frames and did the lettering; the kids filled in the spaces with their own characters and drawings.
Plaster casts for mask-making.
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Jump Suits continues through January 7 (the gallery will be closed for the holidays from December 24 to January 2); visit PlatteForum's website or call 303-893-0791 for information.