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“Inflatable” Dinosaur Toys Are Actually Expertly-Crafted Ceramic Sculptures

With the right tools and techniques, ceramics can look like more than just clay. Artist Brett Kern demonstrates its seemingly shape-shifting properties with his clay dinosaurs that faithfully resemble soft, inflatable toys. To create this illusion, Kern forms creases and folds in all the places you’d expect for an air-filled object—its seams. The tiny wrinkles on the dinosaurs’ bodies, arms, and legs resemble plastic material being stretched and pulled. Coupled with shiny glazing, it’s as if these creatures could pop the prick of a pin.

Kern uses mold-making to craft his work, something that he compares to the fossilization process—an apt comparison, considering the subject matter. “Objects are covered in a material that captures their shape and texture,” he explains in his artist statement, “and this, in turn, preserves the object as a rock-like representation.” Kern goes on to describe his influences, which include movies, television, toys, and games from his youth. “I am a product of this specific time period, and I like to think of my artwork as the fossils that will help preserve it.”

Kern sells his “inflatable” creations in his Etsy shop.

Brett Kern: Website | Facebook | Etsy
via [Colossal]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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