Dennis Larkins, called Dream Puzzle. Dream Puzzle conists of five panels measuring 18″ x 24″ each, but becomes an enormous 7 foot wide mural when put together. We were honored to have the chance to sit down with Dennis and learn more about Dream Puzzle and his process to create this masterpiece. This is what he had to say: As with all my original paintings, done in sculpted relief, Dream Puzzle began life as a detailed drawing, or in this case, a series of five drawings, joined together to form one complex image. The basic idea was to create a five panel “mural” as an integrated piece but capable of being separated into five independently viable paintings, each ultimately the basis for a unique Moonalice event poster. The visual content I choose typically utilizes image fragments from retro-pop culture (a form of shared visual vocabulary), juxtaposed to create a surrealistic scenario meant to inspire an “open-ended narrative” which allows for a wide range of potential interpretations. Literally, the viewer becomes the storyteller. The construction and development of the paintings is illustrated by the series of accompanying photos. The process begins with enlarging the original drawings to full painting size which results in a template for sculpting parts as well as transferring images and registering placements of dimensional “assemblies”. Some 3-D details, especially in the background, are applied directly in lowest relief onto the panel while other larger shapes and objects are sculpted elsewhere in the studio to be applied as separate elements. The 3-D buildup is fashioned through a series of multiple layering, eventually to be blended together through the illusionistic painting to follow. Once the sculpture process is complete, the painting begins through conventional methods, first by “blocking” basic colors and then by building up the various objects, characters and effects through a series of light and dark steps, toning and color glazing, detail painting, etc. and finished with strong black line and highlights to achieve a “cartoon realism” finish. For the Moonalice posters, the paintings were individually photographed in high resolution and, as they were selected for their particular events, I created hand painted graphics which were inserted, via Photoshop, into the painting images.
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