This is the second piece in a three piece set created for an art exhibit organized by environmentalist Holly Hawk for the Art Institute of Hollywood. You can find the first part to this post with more info on the project and exhibit here.
This piece is 18 x 24 inches and is the largest of the three. After creating the dirt footprint scene I wanted to create the second piece as a deeper view into the bees world, I wanted to show the destruction at home. I decided to create a hand-sculpted honeycomb that is dying and rotting away as the bees struggle to keep it alive.
STEP 1: I sculpted the honeycomb out of polymer clay. I roughed out the shape, smoothed the surface, and then using the head of a bolt I tediously stamped in row after row of honeycomb cells.
STEP 2: After the entire honeycomb was sculpted I baked it in the oven until it hardened. The first layers of color I applied with an airbrush. I wanted to make the honeycomb look as if it were dying and partially rotting away so I made parts of it gray to look decayed and dried out. After airbrushing in colors to each individual cell I switched to acrylic paints and dry brushed in further texture over the decaying sections.
STEP 3: I took a cradled birch wood panel, painted it black, and poured a thin layer of resin into the bottom. Next I took the painted honeycomb and set it into the resin and let it cure overnight. Once the resin was hardened and the honeycomb was locked in place I began adding in the dead bees. I staged them to look as if they were alive and struggling to keep the honeycomb vital. I added several thin layers of resin over the bees and honeycomb and let each layer cure overnight securing the entire scene in place..
STEP 4: To bring this piece to a finish I poured a final layer of resin that encased the entire frame. In the end the resin ended up being about an inch deep and the final piece weighs close to 20 pounds.
Here is a photograph taken of the final piece. Photographing through an inch of clear resin is very difficult for lighting and focus, the colors of the bees show up much better in person.
Thank you for viewing! Below are a couple more snapshots from various stages of the process.