I cannot recall what Interwebs chase led me to the work of artist Scott Radke, but I am absolutely transfixed. His sculptures are creatures from another reality, unraveling strange stories to enchant me.
It's the faces that are most striking. With the most subtle hint of a crease, a sideways glance, a slight turn of the mouth, Radke creates poignantly expressive characters.
I am reminded of the human-faced sphinxes of MirrorMask, and also a bizarre Dreamcast video game called Seaman that obsessed my husband for some time, where one is obliged to care for a creepy half-fish-half-man. What is it about animals with human faces that makes them both so compelling and so disturbing?
Like the beasts in Spike Jonze's interpretation of Where the Wild Things Are, Radke's creations embody the most raw of feelings, the very roots of emotion. Angst, frustration, boredom, jealousy, bliss... all play out in the textures of their features.
What are their stories? What has befallen these fragile creatures, with their stirring human-like faces and organic beastly forms? What gives them such sturm und drang, such beautiful fragility?
I read a 2006 interview with Radke where, when asked where he got his inspiration from, he replied, "something pretty and dirty together," and I understood. His creatures are the perfect marriage of both the lovely and the ugly, the tragic and the comic, the playful and the serious.
See more of Radke's work on his Livejournal blog, Flickr stream, and his Web site.