Giant Beastie Robo Machine (and His Cosmic Friends)!


Giant Beastie Robo Machine (and His Cosmic Friends)!
⊛ cut paper + washi + chiyogami + metal /wood
⊛ 21.75 x 17.75 • 550 x 450 mm


UPDATE 2015:   I wish I had a better image of Giant Beastie Robo Machine, but he is sitting in storage in the US, without enough nuclear power left to make the trip to Japan.  So sad.

"Natsukashii" is my favorite word not in the english language.

It pulls together the feeling of the word "nostalgic" with "Oh wow, I haven't done/seen THAT in ages!" with a dash of "That takes me back". All in a one word expression. Say it with a sigh of longing as you flip through your yearbook. Squeal it in delight as you ride a roller coaster for the first time since you were 10 years old. Mumble it through a satisfied mouthful of your mom's apple pie. It is my favorite Japanese word.

When Gallery 1988 LA got in touch with me an eon ago about taking part in Gallery Show - Under the Influence: The Official Tribute to Beastie Boys I got hit by my first wave of natsukashii. Time rolled back a little as I watched the video for one of my favorite BB songs "Intergalactic".

Not only did the video itself bring me back to a younger age, but the retro feel of the video called back to the Japanese Kaiju monster movies of the 1960's. After a little bit of research, I was thrilled to find out that the main inspiration for the video was "Giant Robo" (ジャイアントロボ ), known in the US as Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot.

That's when the tidal wave of natsukashii really slammed into me.

I knew this robot.

Oh sure, the haziness of time had made me think that it was a Godzilla flick, and that the robot had looked like Ultraman, but I clearly remembered watching the last few minutes of the show on TV.

It was the first time my childish brain crashed into the idea that a hero could die.

As for the piece itself, it is one of the biggest cut-paper projects I've made yet. Not only is there a big ol' robot, but there are two smaller pieces as well. Both the Beastie Boys Power Ranger type guy and the Tentacle-faced baddy can be attached to the Giant Robot's chest. Kinda like a transformer, but with no vehicle shape and a whole lot more funkiness.

A surprisingly huge amount of time went into figuring out how to attach the smaller pieces to the big one.

At first I had hoped to use magnets. It would have been simple, easy, clean, and downright appropriate. Sadly, the smaller pieces kept sliding off. Back to the hardware store(s) I went. In the end, I found a nice combination bolt + washer + hook set which did the job nicely. And I've got to admit, the bolts look awesome on the mechanical man. I wish they showed up better in the photograph. I feel the same about the gold-sheened designs in the shoulder pads and feet. I found a great piece of washi paper that lent itself perfectly to the effect I was going for.