The husband and wife duo creates curiously creepy, macabre sculptures that make for unusual toys
Say hello to Cassandra and Ernie Velasco of Doubleparlour—and all of their little friends. The husband and wife duo is based in Lower Haight, San Francisco and started showing their work in 2007. Over the years, they’ve shown artwork at group and solo exhibitions mostly in the Bay Area. Although they work with a variety of mediums, their main focus is sculpture, hand-formed from an epoxy clay-like material. It was through this media that last year they received a nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Designer Toy Awards in New York City.
For their collaborative work, the pair continuously bounces ideas off one another and provide feedback. Their process all starts with an idea and then evolves as the piece is sculpted and built. Ernie sculpts and Cassandra paints, and the culmination is a unified, elegant body of work.
Whether it’s their eyes (or lack of them), their cringing—almost pained—facial expressions or little fang-like teeth, there is something very creepy about these kind of cute characters. Some of them blend elements of nature with their human form, while others are just marvelously surreal. Regardless, each one appears to be from another world that's both dangerous and playful. The duo tells CH, "We like our figures to exhibit personalities that range from curious to mischievous."
The last Doubleparlour show, "The Gastromancers," was held in San Francisco at the Modern Eden Gallery in 2013. The themes for the show addressed everything from early superstitions to the origin of ventriloquism, where noises from the stomach were thought to represent those of spirits and the dead. Now though, they find themselves most inspired by mixed media. They’ve recently begun adding different textures and materials—such as burlap—to their sculptures. As they say, “Our favorite sculptures are ones that were particularly challenging to make or have an interesting character."
In San Francisco, the Velascos recently curated a group sculpture exhibit at 63 Bluxome St. Gallery called "Entanglement," which runs through 27 June 2014. And, on the East Coast, there’s an upcoming opportunity to check out their work in the flesh. Doubleparlour will have artwork in the group show, "The Fourth World," at the Arch Enemy Gallery in Philadelphia from 6 June to 6 July 2014.
On 31 May 2014, Doubleparlour will release new resin figures, including some made in collaboration with a similarly toy-obsessed artist Scott Tolleson, called Weishaupt. The figures will be listed on their Etsy shop. The release will consist of five original one-off figures at varying prices and five collaboration cast figures for $200 each.
Images courtesy of Doubleparlour