Illustrator Chris Sickels, aka Red Nose Studio, works in 3-D. His Sculpey clay, wire and cloth characters, roughly 6 to 8 inches high, inhabit tabletop universes of cardstock houses and damask lawns under painted skies. Props are fabricated from paper, discarded plastic and all sorts of repurposed bits and bobs.
Sickels’ meticulously composed scenes are infinitely fascinating. His subjects can be charming and funny, like his goggled pilot flying a running shoe or an artist painting black stripes on a yellow cat, or they can be disturbing, like the images in Sickles’ The Look Book with its headless gauze chicken and an inexplicably impaled squirrel.
Sickles’ portraits are gorgeous and witty: Dickens is carried aloft on the wing of a feathered pen, Edgar Allen Poe has an inevitable raven perched on his head, and a witch makes herself spookier with a flashlight under her chin.
Sickles’ patchwork Frankenstein Monster is discombobulated by a fading rose. A distant windmill evokes his movie adventures. The illustration was created for the Halloween 2007 issue of READ magazine. The cover featured Boris Karloff in his burned Bride of Frankenstein makeup.