New York, NY (WiredPRNews.com) Artist Mike Drake wants you to know that, despite what you have seen in movies and tv, prosthetic glass eyes are not spherical. They are not like rubber balls or big marbles. They are more like the bowl of a spoon, a concave ellipse. “Without fail, whenever people see one of my embedments with an eye, somebody will ask why the eye isn’t round. So now I educate people about the structure of prosthetic eyes before I show them” says Drake as he gestures towards a display of ten World War 2 era glass eyes embedded in resin domes.
Drake, who took a half decade break from working with resin after embedding a doll in a thirty five pound block of resin for the Living Dead Doll art show, has been working feverishly for months on what he calls “the eye project”. After acquiring a cache of vintage glass eyes from the estate of a deceased ocularist, Drake knew he wanted to embed them in resin, but didn’t know the specifics of how he wanted to do it. After some consideration he chose to embed them in resin domes. He decided on domes because they are half spheres, which plays on a common misconception about prosthetic eyes, and because the shape creates a subtle optical distortion that Drake loves. “So when you look at these ten sculptures, you are looking at a real prosthetic eye, embedded in the shape of a false prosthetic eye, and because of the optical distortion, you aren’t seeing “truth” but your eye and brain’s perception of it”.
According to Drake, glass eyes not only represent magnificent old world craftsmanship, but a tragedy of some sort. “Nobody wears a prosthetic eye for fashion or fun, they wear them because of some tragedy” says Drake. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment each day. However, safety experts and eye doctors believe the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of these eye injuries.
Starting May 02, 2011, the ten prosthetic eye embedments Drake created will be available for auction. 50% of the proceeds will benefit the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for the more than 25 million people with vision loss in the U.S.
AFB’s priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB’s work in these areas is supported by its strong presence in Washington, DC, ensuring the rights and interests of Americans with vision loss are represented in our nation’s public policies.
Those interested in bidding can participate in the auction here:
Videos of the eyes can also be seen here:
Drake, who recently appeared on the Science Channel’s hit reality show Oddities, says he will continue to work with prosthetic eyes but will soon begin a new project involving human teeth. “Recently I completed a project involving fingernails and toenails that will be included in the 2012 Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Annual book. Having done eyes and fingernails, it’s time to move on to teeth…”
Anyone wishing to contribute human teeth or old prosthetic glass eyes for use in future projects can reach Drake at EyeofTheBeholderArt@gmail.com .