Before & After: Two-Liter Artistry

Eric Barclay

One way to remove the evidence of my, er, I mean ANYONE'S serious Diet Coke addiction is the recycling bin. That way may be eco-savvy, but the neighbors can count, so it's not terribly stealthy.

Perhaps illustrator and character creator Eric Barclay's way is better. And way more colorful than just green.

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Here, he's turned a two-liter bottle into a happy sculpture, "Ranjit and Indira," easily the starring prop in a bedtime story or happy afternoon daydream. He's also quick to share a how-to: The bottle was filled with plaster (for weight and stability) and then prepped with a spray primer. "Some of the more distracting crevices," adds Eric, "were filled in with acrylic modeling paste and then sanded smooth."
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Eric then applied gesso so that the surface had a bit of texture to it (acting somewhat like a high-adhesion primer). He used matte acrylic paint and coated it all with a spray varnish when completed. The final sculpture weighs in at about 15 lbs.

Growing up, one of my favorite games was when one person drew a scribble then passed the paper to the next player who would then turn the doodle into a drawing. I have a feeling Eric Barclay would be pretty kick-ass at that game, and in 3-D, to boot. He's brought his owls, penguins, pooches, pandas and fancy ladies to life with detergent bottles, soda cans, squiggly light bulbs, wood scraps, a vibrant color palette, a huge dose of imagination, and a poem or two to give his creations an instant narrative with plenty of room still left to finish your own story, or start a new one. They're definitely more décor than plaything, but an ideal addition to nursery or playroom either way.

Eric's trend to turn cast-offs into characters and critters started, as any good idea does in a cartoon, with a giant light bulb. But Eric's light bulb wasn't in a bubble over his head. "My first sculpture was made with a street lamp bulb that had been in my garage for a few years. It was just so huge and unusual that I just couldn't throw it away... it just needed to be something besides landfill." He combined the bulb with other garage finds (in this case, a wood scrap) and the tools of his more typical trade: primer and paint, and he was bitten by the bug, with no bottle, jug or Coffee-Mate cast-away safe from his fanciful eye. Says Eric, "I really enjoyed the process of creating something dimensional and began confiscating items meant for the recycling bin and experimenting with different paints and materials. The act of redeeming something that others view as worthless has a strong appeal to me."

Well, I would never call a Diet Coke bottle worthless. But I agree with the philosophy.

Read the story of this two-liter escape, and see more of Eric's animated world (and a picture of this handsome Nigel Barker look-alike) on his blog.

More Info: Eric Barclay

(Images: Eric Barclay)

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