Tai Tai’s, plaster and fibreglass painted in acrylic
(Above) These Tang ladies are a modern version of the ceramic Tang Dynasty figurines of their day or affluent Tai Tai’s. The word Tai Tai directly translates as Big Big, too much or a certain type of affluent wife. Though Tai Tai’s today tend to be a lot skinnier, these ladies are both wearing low cut typical silk Chinese style patterned outfits. The traditional terracotta figurines are often sculpted holding their dogs, which I have replaced with handbags & glasses of wine socialising at private views or functions around town. (See the HK painting section.)
(Above) The slightly disapproving mouth is an actual life cast of someone’s mouth. The rest has been sculpted and exaggerated around the lips which were the starting point for this piece, the heads are slightly larger than life size. The clay hair was combed with a fine comb to get the texture & lines with the red hair comb pressed into the clay & cast during the mould making process.
Tai Tai, (right) many of the traditional figurines often wear long sleeves & very low cut even topless outfits, often the sleeves trail down to the floor and their hands are buried underneath the fabric. This was made partly from a life cast, later exaggerated & built onto the finished plaster. It was worked in direct plaster a rather unforgiving material, clay being a lot more pliable. The design on the fabric of her dress is taken from a typical modern Shanghai Tang silk fabric design.
(Left) are my version of Tang figurines, the three ladies in the front row are holding their little dogs & have large Tang style hair do’s, the ladies in the back row are the modern day version, dogs have been replaced by designer handbags. One Tai Tai is wearing a denim trouser suit, another a modern black & white design, many of the designs were lifted from glossy society magazines.
Above is a slightly larger than life sculpture of Penny/Robert my transvestite friend & mews who introduced me to a side of London that features in many early sketches & reliefs of London Drag Queens. I took a show up to the Edinburgh festival in 1988 accompanied by an entourage of Drag queens who featured in the show. I became a catalyst for a rather nightmare scenario part of which which was filmed on BBC documentary “The Lanes” (see video). The above table is the reverse of the Allen Jones table of a woman on all fours in thigh high leather boots.
(Above) Is a self portrait sculpture made in Baroda Faculty of Fine Arts, the photo was taken standing out side the front entrance, where I was a student in 1982-1984. This is the only student work included in this website, but in many ways it tells the story of where my work went from there. As I have continued to travel & watch the world, seeking adventures & trying to understand different cultures, often the traveller, voyeur which this small piece was about all those years ago & the start of making painted sculptures.