Lizardo Diablo

It’s not everybody who gets fascinated by lizards. What’s to account for such tastes?

Amy Ziman, Lizardo Diablo, 1997, 7.5″h x 11″w x 7″dAmy Zinman was always a pushover for rescue animals, but most of those have been the predictable dogs and cats. So what was her entry into the world of the little horned creatures? Amy says, “I was living near a reptile store in Hoboken, New Jersey. I just went in and stared at them. They were so exotic, you could picture them walking around with dinosaurs on the horizon. Their colors and textures appealed to me so much that I just started imagining making them out of polymer clay.”

Imagination turned to action, and for the next year, prior to the MIPCES invitational event, Amy engaged herself in “a little bit of insanity.” Constructing a polymer lizard 11 inches long, 7 inches wide and 7 inches high “was immensely challenging because of the scale. I was working with uncured polymer, and just getting it structurally to stand presented lots of technical difficulty.”

Amy Zinman, Lizrdo Diablo detail, 1997But even more difficult was the external ornamentation of the lizard’s body, a covering accomplished with thousands —– let me repeat, thousands — of tiny hand-formed balls of various colors and hues which had to be individually applied to the polymer base. Imagine Pointillism in three dimensions.  Amy remembers that “getting the little pieces to stick was a huge issue. Liquid polymer wasn’t available back then, that would have saved me months of work.”

Once finished and satisfied with her reptilian creation, Amy’s next challenge was to set an appropriate price for its sale. “It was a year’s work; how do you set a price on that?” In the end, the MIPCES catalogue listed $7500 which was a very big ticket for polymer in 1997.  “Some people thought I was insane.  Others thought I simply didn’t want to sell the sculpture.  But I did!  I have mixed feelings, because I still love “Lizardo Diablo.”  I gave him that name, the Devil Lizard, because he was so much trouble to make.”

Lizardo Diablo may have been a devil of a project but that didn’t keep Amy from making a companion piece.  Amy, herself, has a devilish and quirky sense of humor.  Because this piece made her laugh, she named it “The Guacamole Act” after a favorite moment from the original film version of “The In-Laws.”  Guacamole was NFS at MIPCES and remains a favored pet in Zinman’s home.

Amy Zinman, The Guacamole Act, 1997, 4.5″h x 15″w x 6″d

I cannot remember a time in my life that I wasn't interested in looking at art, talking about art and the making of art. In 1990 I earned a Phd in art history at the University of Maryland. My first experiences with polymer clay were in 1992, but I consider my real work with the medium to date from 1999.