Cash has been working with marginalised groups for over 20 years, focusing particularly on adults and teenagers with learning disabilities. She founded Redstart Arts in 2011 to create a platform for artists with learning disabilities. She holds an MA in Inclusive Arts Practice and currently works as an Art Educator for the Royal Academy of Art. Cash lives and works in London.
David is twenty-eight; he works in 2 and 3 dimensions, in figurative and abstract forms. He is interested in working with a variety of materials such as cloth, plaster, card, and stone. David is non-verbal communicating largely through actions and Makaton, a form of sign language used by people with learning disabilities. David’s family are Chinese and the language spoken at home is Mandarin, although David also understands English. David has a personal assistant, Tom, who supports him in accessing his interests in the community on a daily basis. David lives with his family in London.
The Building of Rhino Head no.3
I decided to work with David again on Rhino Head number 3 as we had established a good working relationship that felt important to continue.
We began as before by making drawings as a way to set the scene. We then built the structure as we had for the last rhino.
The tricky part was how to come up with a third idea that complemented the last two. We wanted to keep with the music theme and ideas floated for some time. I thought particularly of David’s skills but was also open to the fact that when bringing new ideas to David, we are often met with surprise at his innate talents. We defiantly wanted to keep in with the music theme but we were interested in using a completely different material as well as a different way of working.
After plowing through some ideas with friends we settled on the destruction of vinyl records, criminal I know, but it was too good an idea to let go.
David was a bit trigger-happy with the hammer, thank God for the safety goggles! After thinking through this health and safety nightmare, we decided to do all of the smashing up within the safety of a bag.
Having made the structure of the head in ‘Day 1,’ we set about gluing on pieces of vinyl records as an experiment.
We loved it, but could see that we had to make a darker surface to work on in case of any gaps forming. We therefore went back to the original idea and covered the head in black gaffer tape, then set to work on smashing, gluing and placing the fragments of vinyl records onto the structure.
We were really not sure whether this would be a usable hook for the headphones but we were determined to finish it and leave the decision with Paul.
Fragmented vinyl records can be quite sharp and a bit catchy. Another possible health and safety nightmare for the general public! We solved this problem by applying a heat gun to the particularly sharp areas, softening the points.
The eyes were formed from the centre hole of the record surrounded by the curved grooves. We used about 8 records in all, so not too tragic.
The Building of Rhino Head no.2.
As a preliminary day David and I spent sometime looking at images of Rhinos from the Natural History Museum, which David and his personal assistant Tom had visited. We made drawings and David immediately wanted to work on the wool felt that I thought may be a good starting place for creating a texture using graphite sticks. David decided to draw rhinos onto the wool felt and cut them out. On one of the rhinos he cut off the legs so I provided him with safety pins, with which to reattach the legs. We then did a lot scribbling with the graphite sticks to create an effect inspired by the textural skin of the Rhino. We cut this up and began to pin the pieces together.
Having made a paper pattern from a drawing I cut the pieces out of plywood, which we screwed together to build the structure of the head. We then taped a bin bag to this and filled it with builders expanding insulating foam, a strange experience. This is always a bit of an unknown, as we never really know which way the foam is going to expand. But David particularly enjoyed this part, making lots of noise in the process.
The next day we were able to peel off the bin bag that left us with this very deformed swollen Rhino’s head. It was in desperate need to be carved into shape. This we did with a bread knife, as it gave a finer cut than using a saw.
We began to make a patchwork skin from the pieces of graphite-enhanced wool felt, fastened together with the safety pins. We covered the surface of the head, paying particular attention to contrast the shading of the horns and eyes in order to highlight these areas. The ears were a bit floppy so we reinforced them with plastic.
David’s enthusiasm was incredible for scribbling, cutting and pinning.
He had clearly studied the Rhino incredibly well as his attention to detail was evident.
Tomorrow we’re picking up the completed juke box from the workshop and installing it at the Royal Festival Hall.
This short video shows the amazing work that artists Matthew Cheeseman and Cash Aspeek have done in creating a rhino head out of gaffer tape. Thanks again to Unibond for all the gaffer and Arts Council for the funding.
While they worked they would often listen to Beethoven, so it seemed fitting to use Daniel Wakeford’s track ‘Beethoven’ for this film, and Daniel features on the jukebox too.
Now I’m back off to setting up the iPads.
Todouno Band from Argentina with a classic slice of punk rock. The opening track on Wild Things 2 - brilliant!
We’ve been looking round for just the right sized flight cases to load everything in to and it seems they just don’t make them so been on to the people at Dragon Cases who are making bespoke cases for us and now busy getting hold of all the other bits and bobs for the big build day.
There’s always that terrible ‘Spinal Tap’ moment I always have when ordering things that have to be made to make sure we don’t end up with our equivalent of a scale model of Stone Henge! I’ve chekced and checked again though.
This week we’re going to concentrate on loading the App up with all the music and work out the best way for all the photos and biogs to appear for the exhibition audience.
The gaffer arrived thank you Unibond! The head was still sitting over three heaters and there was one part still sticky and gooey. Whilst drying, Matthew made some ears and we then cut up the tape. There was a bit of excitement for us as we blew a fuse when we put the radio on. We located the fault to a dodgy extension cable. Once fired up again we had classic FM blaring (Matthew’s choice) and the head dried off quickly once we taken off all the plastic to allow more air to circulate. We were able to improve on the shape by carving with a serrated bread knife. The small plastic model was really useful for this. Once the head was carved and bits of shaped insulating foam added to areas of need, we were ready to begin taping the beast all over. Supplied with a table full of torn pieces we set to work until it was covered.
Then the detail. ears, eyes, lips and nostrils. These were all made separately with the same two materials and then added. Over tea we looked at areas that needed adjustments which resulted in cutting a bit more off the horn, it was a bit too fat. Matthew attached the ears to the front horn which I thought looked rather good, but we decided the audience would find this arrangement a bit hard to cope with so with a bit of anatomical research Matthew positioned them on top of the head. Jo came in to the finished product and took some photos of us posing.
One down and two to go!
Matthew and I are to make a rhino head for the wild things jukebox. The rhino head is the logo for wild things music. The idea was to use this huge powerful image of a rhino as a place/hook for the headphones, which will allow an audience to listen to their selected tracks on the jukebox.
I met at the Blue Room, Phoenix, in Brighton. This is the studio of the Rocket artists of which Matthew is one. I came with a trolley full of resources and images of rhinos, which I had collected from the Natural History Museum in London. We were keen to make the rhinos have their but during my recce I could see that there really was no space for this kind of activity. The Natural History Museum have four full-size rhinos and the baby. Some were larger than others but they were all still huge. They were black rhinos, which meant that they were grey in colour. We began by making drawings from the photographic images and video I’d made which we viewed on the computer. This gave us a sense of shape, form, and texture of the rhino.
We then made a paper pattern for a plywood inner structure. To aid our model making we had a small scaled model from the Natural History Museum to work from to help us get the correct dimensions.
Having drawn round the paper pattern on the plywood I cut it out with a jigsaw. We also needed a disc with a hole in it at the back of the head to enable us to attach it to the lid of the flight case. We added a few blocks and screws the extra strength and very strangely put the structure into a black bin bag with the horn poking through the bottom, just like your rubbish does to annoy you. We tapped the bag to the structure to make a kind of rhino head shaped balloon. We adorned surgical gloves, sprayed water into the inside, then vigorously shook a can of insulating expanding foam for 30 seconds. We took turns to squirt, shake, and squirt again. The expanding foam gushed out expanding madly for a while, then it ran out of energy and kind of dribbled out with less gusto. When the can was finished we allowed the insulating foam to continue expanding and we manipulated the contents by pushing it around the balloon so that it was filling all the right places to create the rhino head shape.
The idea is to create something that’s easy to use and fits with a rock ‘n roll look so after initial ideas about ‘tardis’ style central consoles we’ve come up with the idea of fixing an iPad in to a flightcase and making a sculpture of our famous rhino head logo as a real headphone stand.