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Dan the ‘Monster Man’ - The Best DIY Dragons EVER!
Around the Pacific Northwest I am known as Dan “the Monster Man.”
A reporter and photographer showed up at my dingy little apartment close to the zoo (appropriately). I lived on a busy street and was known to the locals as “the crazy guy with all the monsters.” They asked questions and took pictures and two weeks later the article appeared (with my baby face) on the front cover and the headline “Dan the Monster Man.”
I made my first monster along with my fifth grade students. I wanted my kids to do an art project that I knew would be successful. And I wanted it to be messy and take some effort. Paper mache monsters fit the bill perfectly. I developed my unique variation of paper mache combined with cloth and glue in an attempt to make our projects stronger. There was lots of Elmer’s glue at the school and I had kids bring in old bed sheets. That cloth skin certainly did add strength. The cloth also opened possibilities for detail not afforded by traditional paper mache.
The bottom line is that most paper mache artists sculpt with some armature material like chicken wire and then put a “skin” of mache over it. I actually sculpt with paper mache balls and then add a skin “cloth mache”.
That book detailed the making of a “Screamer”, a monster just like we used to make in my elementary classroom.
That book, and the sequel to my first were in print for 25 years around the world.
Before you leave, perhaps you’d like to have a peek into my studio. Well, it’s my old studio. I’ve since remodeled. This photo is a few years old. Still, it’s fun to do this. Click on the (link) photo below and it will take you to the work of renowned Virtual Reality photographer Bradford Bohonus.
The bottom line is that, after all of these years, I still love this art form. It “feeds” me the right way. It is a wonderful vehicle for artistic self-expression. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Period.