In ABANDONED CARS, I produced a series of “collectible cut-outs” seperating several of the graphic short stories (see the ABANDONED CARS section of this weblog). For FOLKTALES, I intend to produce a couple dioramas, the first of which is my homage to the great Temptations, my favorite Motown male vocal group. My dioramic depiction features the “classic five”Temps – David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, and Paul Williams (and back when Ruffin, Franklin, and Otis Williams still “conked” their hair – a painful, scalp-burning method of straightening hair that African-American men used in order to sculpt their hair into a pompadour. Malcolm X describes the process very thoroughly in his autobiography). I’ve always been a big fan of the playful and intricate cut-out dioramic scenes created by Red Grooms, so I can’t say this is entirely an original idea; the development of the free-standing cut-outs from Abandoned Cars to dioramic scenes seemed like a natural evolution. It is, in fact, something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. So far I have finished the cut-out of David Ruffin, one of my favorite soul singers of all time, who wasn’t always the Temptation’s frontman, but very often was. I also have finished Otis Williams. Below are the cut-outs in both 2 and 3-D (both seperately and together). But first, I want to introduce you – for those who haven’t a reference point for the Temptations – to the Temptations in action, circa mid 1960’s. In my opinion, never a cooler vocal group ever existed – and they were never cooler than when David Ruffin was their frontman.
Here are the cut-outs I’ve produced so far, starting with David Ruffin in 3-D:
Here’s Ruffin in 2-D:
Here’s Otis Williams in 3-D
…Otis in 2-D:
…and Ruffin and Williams together in 3-D:
Below is the concept sketch depicting how the diorama should generally look when it’s complete. I expect that it’ll change and become more refined as I progress, but this is a fairly useful place-holder:
I couldn’t resist ending this entry with another clip of the Temptations in action. In this case, they perform two songs – the first of which is “The Best Things in Life Are Free”, which isn’t one of their best, but is cool just to see how the Temptations harmonized and danced in sync. The second song is “Wish It Would Rain”, which IS one of my favorites in their repetoire. Please stick it out through the first song to catch Ruffin in all of his thick-rimmed-spectacle & high-Pomp’d glory. It’s worth it.
Below is the sketchbook page depictingthe origins of the whole idea of using the Temptations. Most things seem to begin by doodling in the sketchbook:
…and below is another sketchbook doodle involving a Motown-inspired concept for FOLKTALES. Not sure in what capacity, though. Maybe seperating stories? It all seems to be about exploring ways to include the influence of music into the graphic stories…