8-year-old Comox Valley girl completes Getty Museum art challenge and adds pop culture angle
In a pinch – or a pandemic – a marshmallow can play the role of a pearl.
That’s what a Comox Valley family discovered when they took on a challenge from the J. Paul Getty Museum in California to recreate famous works of art using materials found at home.
âWe say we use trash from all over the house, and that’s literally it,â said mom Ali Roddam, professional photographer at Black Creek.
They started with a redesign of The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. Using only items they could find around the house, Roddam dressed his eight-year-old son, Dylan Roddam, as the daughter of the iconic painting.
They found beige towels to recreate the subject’s top and wrapped Dylan’s blue T-shirt around his head to mimic the scarf. Thanks to bread baking fueled by the Roddam pandemic, they had used handy parchment paper to complement the scarf.
They didn’t have an exact doppelganger for the beaded earring that gives the painting its name, but they did have a bag of marshmallows left by a bonfire, so they topped off the look with an edible accessory glued to it. Dylan’s ear.
It was Dylan’s favorite part of the outfit. âThe whole time she was so excited, because she was like, ‘Can I eat the marshmallow after?’ “said Roddam.
Marshmallows sometimes double as an incentive to help Dylan stay focused during the few hours it can take to create an image.
One of the biggest challenges for Roddam is getting the perfect lighting. For Dylan, it still holds. To recreate an image of singer-songwriter Post Malone holding a bottle of beer, she had to hold a bottle of soy sauce while her mother took the picture.
âThe bottle was really heavy, so I had to put it down and pick it up and put it down and pick it up,â Dylan said.
âShe’s a bit of a squirming worm, so trying to get the right angle can be difficult sometimes,â her mother added.
They decided to turn to well-known pop culture images to continue the project. Roddam started sharing the photos on his professional Facebook page.
âThe response has been simply overwhelming. People were going crazy, especially since she’s eight years old and it’s hilarious when she’s dressed up as Bruce Willis, âRoddam said.
The recreation of a scene from Die Hard – in which a battered John McClane (Willis) crawls through a vent with a lighter in hand – is one of Roddam’s favorites in the collection. It’s also one of the few that she touched up a bit in Photoshop.
âI gave her a receding hairline, because it’s funny – she’s a little girl,â Roddam said.
Dylan crawled into a cardboard box covered with foil to recreate the vent, and his older sister Mikayla – who helps with some of the more difficult props – stepped in to make a Zippo lighter out of erasers and paper from aluminum.
Some images are so similar that people found it difficult to tell them apart at first glance.
âKurt Cobain’s was so blunt that people literally said they’d missed it and couldn’t understand why two pictures of Kurt Cobain were posted until they looked at it again. So this one. , I feel like we’ve nailed it, âRoddam said.
Taking pictures with her mom is to avoid boredom for Dylan while she’s not having class.
âIt’s normally the best part of my day,â she said.
She loves reading the online comments left on each photo, but her favorite thing is spending time with her mom. âI spend time with my mom because normally she works and everything, so now we can really bond,â she said.
See more images on Ali Roddam’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bellaphoto.ca
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