Nanaimo News Bulletin
Hungry Bunny, the large, pink, hammer-shaped rabbit sculpture in Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park evolved from a creative mind, 3-D digital modelling, skills of craftspeople and a photograph of a three-metre tall pole.
Dale (Dasch) Schulz, a Nanaimo artist, illustrator, designer and owner of Dasch Studio, photographed the pole where the sculpture would be positioned in the park to get a sense of how big to scale up Hungry Bunny’s digital model.
Similar techniques helped create a dog sculpture atop the roof of Dog and Suds, on Wilgress Road.
“The models work in the real world when you can find a way to transpose them,” Schulz said.
Schulz, 56, knew he wanted to be a professional artist since sold his first drawing at age 8 for several dollars for a piece he called Le Derrière, which drew stong inspiration from Pablo Picasso’s Nude (1931).
“It was done in blue pastel and then I was hooked, you know,” Schulz said.
Schulz started working commercially when he was 15, designing and painting store Christmas windows and drawing editorial cartoons for the Nanaimo Daily Free Press. He was also one of a two-person team who designed the early issues of the News Bulletin in the late 1980s.
“Over the years, I’ve done all kinds of stuff in town; built displays and did logos and set-painting and set design and theatrical posters and whatever I could to use up my creative energy and try to make a dime,” he said.
He’s also worked for clients across Canada and the U.S., designing graphics and models for marketing campaigns for C-FOX Radio in Vancouver, Sobeys, Manitoba Telecom and others.
Schulz has worked with digital since 1999, but he still starts projects using traditional pre-digital graphic and design skills, by sketching ideas out with pencil and paper, taking measurements of items with metal calipers and visualizing and working out ideas in the real world before he turns to the computer – skills he said are either lost to some extent by younger generations of designers or are divided up among several members of a design team.
“Man, there’s some kids out there who do some amazing stuff, right, but, you know what? Here’s the funny thing. A lot of them don’t know how to draw,” he said. “We’re in to the age of the specialist these days … and I’m generalist.”
His 3-D renderings of vintage tin toys won the December Foundry Modo Toy Contest grand prize, a $1,200 illustration software package,.
Modo, produced by software company Foundry, is a set of 3-D modelling, rendering and texturing tools for creating everything from artistic illustrations to digital models, which periodically hosts challenge contests for its users around the world.
“I enter a few of these competitions because I like how much people share their techniques and their approaches and it’s kind of neat to see what people think about when you say, ‘Build a toy,’ right?” Schultz said.
Schulz built two digital models from actual 1950s era tin toys, a boat and a bus, from his vintage toy collection and created a finely detailed virtual display stage with lighting, packaging, even a company logo, Daschco Toys.
Overall, the creator of the Hungry Bunny said he’s had a satisfying career in the arts.
“It depends how you measure success,” he said. “Monetarily, I don’t think I’ve been very successful, but you know, I have a certain amount of freedom at my age that a lot of people don’t and I can say that I’ve turned my hand to a lot of real neat creative projects.”