Artist in Res­i­dence

Elec­tric dreams Imag­ine if Nikola Tesla was not just a bril­liant in­ven­tor, but also an ac­com­plished fan­tasy artist…

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Dios­dado “Dodie” Mon­dero’s stu­dio is less an art stu­dio and more a jour­ney into the world of a steampunk in­ven­tor.

Back in 2014 our base­ment was flooded by a se­vere storm that knocked out the power. We were walk­ing around in three inches of wa­ter – it was a stress­ful time.

We had to throw out many large per­sonal items that suf­fered wa­ter dam­age, which freed up space. And it was dur­ing the clean-up process that I re­alised this was a bless­ing in dis­guise. I had an op­por­tu­nity to start over and cre­ate my dream art stu­dio.

As I was brain­storm­ing some ideas, I asked my­self what in­te­rior ap­pealed to me the most? I re­mem­bered how im­pressed I was when I saw steampunk cos­play­ers at­tend­ing the San Diego Comic-Con back in 2008, with their Vic­to­rian fash­ions

I also built more un­usual items, such as three atomic death rays, and even made my first Ja­cob’s Lad­der

com­bined with cus­tom-made ac­ces­sories. I’ve al­ways loved the In­dus­trial Age, and that was my light bulb mo­ment. I de­cided to cre­ate an In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion-themed stu­dio with a touch of steampunk.

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I started by re­pur­pos­ing my vin­tage draw­ing ta­ble, which I orig­i­nally picked up in a dump­ster. It was a lot of fun mak­ing it look as if it came from the late 1800s. And the more work I did on the ta­ble, the more ideas I had on how to im­prove it. I even asked my neigh­bour to weld and fab­ri­cate a new metal base to it. There are so many metal­lic parts and de­tails on this ta­ble that it’s ended up weigh­ing a ton.

My draw­ing ta­ble was in­spired by Nikola Tesla. I imag­ined it was the type of ta­ble you’d find in his lab­o­ra­tory, and found a brass ‘T’ that I mounted in its front as a fin­ish­ing touch. I con­tin­ued to buy more an­tique items that de­fined the In­dus­trial Age – any­thing from the late 1800s to the 1920s. I also built more un­usual items, such as three atomic death rays, and even made my first Ja­cob’s Lad­der that gen­er­ates 15,000 volts.

Af­ter seven long years, all my hard work and pas­sion that I put into cre­at­ing my ul­ti­mate dream stu­dio fi­nally paid off. I re­mem­ber stand­ing at the bot­tom of the stairs and look­ing around at what I had cre­ated, and knew and felt in my heart that this is the room I could fi­nally die in. Mis­sion ac­com­plished! Af­ter study­ing fine art and com­mer­cial ad­ver­tis­ing, Dios­dado worked as an art direc­tor at an in­te­rior de­sign com­pany. He left the firm to launch Mon­dero Stu­dios in 1995. You can ex­plore more of Dios­dado’s art at www.mon­deros­tu­dios.da­port­fo­

I at­tached a cam­era lens to a 1911 swing arm that I use when I do live draw­ing demos on Face­book. I love to stay authen­tic to the pe­riod. This was the old lay­out of my stu­dio back in 2010. It was great hav­ing a cre­ative space that I could call my art stu­dio, al­though I had no thoughts about decor un­til af­ter the flood.

An art stu­dio needs to have a loung­ing area for chill­ing and rock­ing out! I love gui­tars, so when I find time and am in the mood, I play a few riffs be­fore bed­time… and of course, catch up on my Imag­ineFX is­sues! I paid homage to the mas­ter of fan­tasy art, Frank Frazetta in my oil paint­ing Bat­tle of Drag­o­nia. My close friend Angie Jones mod­elled as the Dragon Queen.

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