They won’t engage in a wild rumpus, but the monsters created by a half dozen Dobson Academy middle school students will have their own mash of sorts most of next week at the Vision Gallery.
The occasion, which is unrelated to a graveyard smash, is a show at the Chandler-based art gallery featuring the paper mache work of six Dobson students that took months to complete. It was a bit of a bifurcated process — art teacher Daniel Langhans said there was an overlap between the end of the last school year and the beginning of the current one — but the six students did spend 90 minutes a week for about three months working on their projects.
The end result: six paper mache monsters that are about two-and-a-half feet tall or long, and were created with loads of imagination.
“You have a humongous creative license; I think that’s why children like monsters and zombies and creatures,” Langhans said.
The monsters come in different sizes, forms and colors. One looks like a mash-up of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a vampire and a rather angry frog, while another student went with a snake-like figure with a unicorn horn and two long, rather disturbing teeth popping right out of its mouth. The red substance outlining the mouth of the snake thing adds just a hint of menace to the little monster.
While the monsters differ, the students all started with the same raw material they had to shape and mold to fit what their imaginations demanded, and got to top it all off with a set of eyes befitting a mounted buck. That’s a real mounted buck — Langhans said the eyes were picked up in bulk from a taxidermist, and they give the monsters just a dash of discomfort from the verisimilitude.
“When you pop those on, it jumps from really neat to creepy, but not too creepy,” he said.
After the students completed the project, Langhans said he searched for a place to put them on display for the public, and figured a public space would be an opportune option. That connection led to the Vision Gallery, which decided to display the work of the students who were in fifth and sixth grades when they started building their monsters.
What makes the project impressive for Langhans is the skill level it takes to build the monsters, as he said paper mache projects like this are often reserved for high school students. But Langhans said he wanted to challenge the kids who, despite not being among his top students, had the drive and desire to finish their small bits of terror.
“These were the students that really wanted to do this project,” he said.
The students’ exhibit begins Sept. 17 and ends on Sept. 21 at the Vision Gallery, located at 10 E. Chicago Street in Chandler. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. It is also open this Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. for the Chandler Art Walk.
More information about Vision Gallery is available by visiting visiongallery.org or calling (480) 782-2695.
“This show, I think, is going to be pretty great,” Langhans said.
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