A friend of mine mentioned that he was going to submit several paintings for the inaugural "Make It So" fan art exhibit and cosplay event at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs (see the "Doom" painting). It sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun, so I decided to submit a piece as well... Watchmen themed.
Concept & Design
My vision was of a chunk of concrete -- a remnant from the prison, like a column -- with a battered cafeteria lunch tray atop it. Maybe the tray was stained with the blood of its victims. Maybe it had a comically distinct impression of a person's face embedded in it. Embossed in the concrete slab were Walter's immortal words.
I knew it would be nearly impossible on my budget and in the limited time I had until the exhibit's intake (9 days) to pour a column of concrete the size of which I had in mind and then have any hope of it curing in time or of me moving it, so I decided to scale down the idea to the size of an end table. I built a form frame out of two-by-fours and heavy particle board, designed to support the concrete and a flexible sheet of Lexan plastic, which would serve as a smooth, curved surface for the front of the piece onto which I would set letters for the embossed quote and credit. (Plexiglas, I learned, broke when bent around a curve this tight.)
For a pour this smooth, to maintain the integrity of the embossed letters, I went with Portland cement and sand, which provides the optimum strength while guaranteeing a smooth finish and reduced air bubbles.
I added a cubby hole to the back to help reduce the weight of the piece and also so the owner could make use of the space (for their Rorschach mask, grappling-hook pistol, fedora and overcoat).
The letters were laser cut wooden craft letters, which I hot-glued to the Lexan, upside down and in reverse, since I was working from the top down. I used hot glue so the letters would not pop off under the stress of the Lexan being bent when inserted into the form frame.
I ordered the stainless steel lunch tray online from a restaurant supplier, beat it up with a sledge hammer and welded a peg onto it so it could be mounted in a hole in the concrete and appear to be balancing on one corner.
After curing, I hand painted the embossed letters with black acrylic.
* Exact phrase may have been "...locked up in here..."