The Internet Craftsmanship Museum Presents:

Mark Ho

Added to museum: 9/2/05

Animatronic human sculpture in bronze and stainless steel

Mark Ho in his shop with finished sculpture. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)

Introduction…

Although this is artist Mark Ho’s first large project, we felt it exhibited such good design and craftsmanship that visitors to this museum would like to see it. We usually honor established craftsmen who have paid a lifetime of dues in learning their craft, but Mark has taken an interesting path and done a lot of learning in a short time to create this single piece. He shows much promise to move into new and even more creative areas with his work. His first artwork, ZOHO Artform 1 took over six years to create. The use of hard, shiny and decidedly “non-human” materials to replicate the delicate and subtle movement of human body presents an interesting contrast, and the actual execution is stunningly done.

About the craftsman…

Mark Ho is from Amsterdam, Netherlands. He got his early training in film making as a director and script writer. During his second year at the academy he worked on an animation project that required the building of a puppet that was capable of many movements. He designed and built the puppet in metal and learned much about working with the materials. The project also got him started thinking about making the “ultimate puppet” that could duplicate the grace and range of human movement.

 

As he continued to work in film he found it wasn’t really what he wanted to do. Mark notes, “I finished my study and doubted my future as a director or scriptwriter. I learned that I like to work alone and to have total control. In the film industry you are dependent on crew, budget, producers etc. I decided to learn everything about metalwork. When I work with metal creating something from a to z, making even the tools myself, it is the ultimate work for me. It is a beautiful mix of precision, patience, skill and designing, and also that feeling to give shape to a material like metal.”

 

ZOHO ARTFORM No. 1 can take any number of natural human poses due to the large number of moveable joints paralleling human form built into its structure. (Click on photo for larger image.)

Making the prototype

Mark found a metalworking artisan who was willing to work with him and show him the techniques of machining metal. He doesn’t have a sculptural or metal education background. He says, “I am self-taught, but I did learn a lot from a craftsman, which was very much like a mediaeval master/ workman relation. At first I was visiting him almost every day at his magnificent workshop. I was learning by watching him work. Then he told me I could use his metalworking machines. I stayed there for more than two years.”

 

Mark Ho at work in his well-equipped metal shop. His drill press, lathe and Cincinnati milling machine can be seen. (Click on either photo to view a larger image.)

He began by making the hands, with the idea of making them as small and detailed as possible. The rest of the puppet is made up of other individual projects taken on one at a time. Regarding quality of work, Mark says, “If the first project (the hands) turns out to be very good, you’ll have to continue at that level.” Once he was half done, there was no turning back. The rest of the parts had to be made to the level of quality of what he had already started. He was now too curious to see how it would turn out when finished and never considered giving up, although he says he did have a few “difficult moments.”

 

The entire project took six years before Mark had a prototype that he was satisfied with. At this point he said, “No more adjustments.” Now that the period of development is over and every part is documented he expects it will take about five months to build a second one.

 

What the future holds

Every part is shaped out of solid pieces of bronze and stainless steel. Many parts are made with tools that Mark had to make himself. He mainly uses two metalworking machines: a lathe and a milling machine. Mark says his future designs (ZOHO ARTFORM No.2, 3, etc), might be other puppets, but not on this scale. They will contain mechanic parts but will be hand-made in limited editions.

Specifications of ZOHO ARTFORM No.1

Height: 16.93” (43 cm)

Weight: 13.2 lb (6 kg)

Number of parts: 920 (of which 101 are found in each hand)

Number of mobile parts: 85

Material: Bronze and stainless steel

 

Details:

The parts are all handmade. The object comes with a magnetic base which can be de-activated. All joints are adjustable and easy to remodel, allowing the object to take on any position. This offers a challenge for those who continually seek to create a new, authentic, original and unique sculpture.

 

Exclusivity:

ZOHO ARTFORMS No.1 will be limited to a maximum of 25 original, handmade metal sculptures.

 

Contact:

Mark Ho, Amsterdam, E-Mail: mark@zoho.nl

Web Site: www.zoho.nl

Here are several examples of Mark Ho's work:

(Click photo for larger image.)

A seated pose shows the natural and relaxed attitudes that can be achieved in the poses
Balance is much like that of a human.
Action and movement are shown in this graceful dance pose.
Details of the shoulder and back joints can be seen in this detail.
Waist and chest joints can be seen here from the front. The magnetic base can be deactivated in order to remove and re-pose the artform.
Two artform figures appear to inspect the machine upon which they were created. (Larger 1200 pixel tall image--click thumbnail to enlarge)

New Submissions Welcomed

If you have additional information on a project or builder shown on this site that your would like to contribute, please e-mail craig@CraftsmanshipMuseum.com. We also welcome new contributions. Please see our page at www.CraftsmanshipMuseum.com/newsubmit.htm for a submission form and guidelines for submitting descriptive copy and photos for a new project.

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