with Frode Bolhuis
Dressed in Soft Cushions and Bulbous Garb, Colorful Personas Emerge from Frode Bolhuis’ Daily Sculpture Project
Bound with colorful cushions and twine, draped in chains of spheres, or sprouting a single leaf from their head, the characters that originate in Frode Bolhuis’s Almere studio embody the Dutch artist’s playful imagination and desire for experimentation. Part of an ongoing sculpture project, the expressive cast is currently comprised of 117 miniature figures made primarily of polymer clay with wood, fiber, and metal additions, each of which has a distinctive personality.
Bolhuis (previously) began the project with the intention of creating a new work each day, although he shares that in order to refine the characters’ features and fashion their garments, he’s more likely to complete two per week. While much of his process remains the same as when he began the project in February 2022, the artist is currently branching into textile design in collaboration with the studio Byborre and a loom in his studio. He shares about the evolution of the collection:
I don’t know if they get better but they continually find new forms, forms I didn’t know of before I started. It’s like I’m getting to know myself through the sculptures. It’s a wonderful paradox that the set form, size, and discipline give so much freedom. It really feels as if I can continue this forever and continually develop. It’s magic.
If you’re in Philadelphia, you can see a few of the artist’s works later this year as part of Hi-Fructose’s group exhibition at Arch Enemy Arts. Otherwise, find more of the whimsical personas on Instagram.
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A Daily Sculpture Project by Frode Bolhius Spawns a Quirky Colorful Cast of Tiny Figures
Wander into Frode Bolhuis’s Almere-based studio, and you’ll be introduced to an entire cast of characters pinned to the wall. There’s one figure picking at the tufts of her broom-like head, another sporting a bubble gum pink suit resembling the Michelin man, and a woman swaddled in a cozy, fabric cocoon.
Sculpted primarily from polymer clay, the miniature works are part of the Dutch artist’s ongoing project that involves creating a few of the colorful personas each week. “They are small sculptures, intuitively made in one, two, or three days,” he says. “And the magic is that they start to live a life of their own. They kind of appear while working, one leading to the other, different every time.”
He’s made 65 pieces since starting the series in February—see the most recent addition on Instagram—with myriad garments and accessories crafted from textiles, wood, plastic, and metal and finished with paint and gold detail. Similar to other projects of this nature, the goal is “to be in the creative process all the time. Nothing big, long, or complex to take me out of that,” he shares.
Bolhius has a few works on view in a group show at Museum de Voorde in Zoetermeer, Netherlands, through July 10, and you can pick up a copy of his book Magic on his site.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.