Chris Sickels, the creative force behind award-winning Red Nose Studio, creates an eccentric world we'd all like to visit. Endearing characters and intricate sets draw you in with wit, intelligence and charm. His 3-D illustrations are built from a variety of materials. Sets and puppets are a combination of wire, fabric, cardboard, wood, miniatures, found objects and anything within arms reach. Any object is fair game, for one illustration he constructed an old-fashioned canister vacuum cleaner from a jumble of materials including a garlic press, a tire gauge and the cord from an old electric skillet.
These found objects can often be the deciding factor in the size of the puppets for an illustration. Generally the puppets are 6 to 8 inches tall but the objects used can dictate puppets of another size making scale a pivotal component of the work. "The objects take the pieces in different directions," Chris says. "It's not always in your complete control. So you have to work with the objects instead of trying to bend the objects to fit your idea." In some cases the environment or the puppets themselves are more important than the objects used. "If it's more about the puppet itself, then usually the head will kind of start it, because that head is the emotion. In a lot of my pieces, the characteristics in the face are the soul of it. So the face is usually one of the first things to get done." he explains.
Chris describes his magical work, saying "The sculptures sometimes look pretty crude, or the stitching is really rough, or the buildings are painted really sloppily. They're not poetic, there's no rhythm to them, there's no math to them like a good poem. But that's how my work is. My work isn't really graceful. It's usually pretty awkward - like if the puppet moved, he'd fall off or he'd trip or he'd run into a wall. It's a bit of beauty and a bit of awkwardness. And I think that's kind of how I am."
Chris' illustrations appear in advertising, magazines, books, newspapers, packaging, character development and animation. His work has been honored by virtually every award institution or annual and has been featured in How, Print, Creativity and 3x3 Magazine, as well as in a number of art and design books including Taschen's Illustration Now!. He has twice been honored with the Carol Anthony Grand Prize award from the Society of Illustrators 3-D Salon. Two of his short films, The Red Thread Project and Innards were selected to screen at the 2005 and 2006 Los Angeles International Short Film Festival.
Read our 2012 spotlight feature on Chris and his artwork here.
February 25, 1974