Babe, (the 1995 animated family movie), Looney Tunes characters in Movieworld, the colourful koala sculptures all over the Gold Coast and all three floors of Gold Coast City Gallery this March have something in common. The common denominator is John Cox, Gold Coast based animatronics wizard, who has dazzled the movie industry and audiences alike with his lifelike monsters and characters for years.
Animatronics is the art of using a robotic device to bring lifelike characteristics to an otherwise inanimate object; humans, animals, plants, mythical creatures or even monsters. It is a multi-disciplinary field, which integrates anatomy, robots, mechatronics and puppetry resulting in a lifelike animation. The international master of animatronics, John Cox, brings you the art of making monster in his touring workshop How to Make a Monster – the art and technology of animatronics and the last chance to see this workshop will be at the Gold Coast City Gallery this autumn.
John Cox and his Creature Workshop have created some of the most memorable creatures and characters in TV and cinema such as Nana, the St Bernhard dog in the film Peter Pan, the crocodilian that put crocodile into Crocodile Dundee and the whole farm yard full of pigs, sheep, cows and the sheep dogs in the 1995 movie Babe. By the way, his work in Babe won him the Visual Effects Academy Award in the same year.
But John Cox isn’t just an animatronics genius. He is also a sculptor with public artworks installed across the Gold Coast streetscape and a regular exhibitor in sculpture exhibitions such as the Swell Sculpture Festival. One of his biggest public art projects on the Gold Coast has been Animals with Attitude – Gold Coast sculpture trail – where he has designed koala sculptures and various other artists have painted them. And if you are interested in seeing some of these sculptures, head to the newly refurbished Broadwater Parklands and find his piece from last year’s Swell Sculpture Festival, Blue Perspective, permanently installed in the northern end.
In the How to Make a Monster exhibition John Cox will take you into a journey from designing the monsters and creatures to story-boards and maquettes. And of course he will show how the actual pieces are sculpted, moulded and finalised. You will get a backstage view on how the animatronic mechanisms are designed and installed to create the bones and muscles that bring monsters to life.
How to Make a Monster – the art and technology of animatronics is exhibited over three levels at Gold Coast City Gallery from 26 March until 12 June. For further details and to book your ticket visit the website.