I usually just work from a printed image when sculpting a figure but sometimes i spend the time to sculpt in clay first. I do this if i think i need more of a 3 dimensional reference. This clay is water based ciln fire clay unfired. If i want to reuse it i just throw it in water and let it get soft again. I prefer to use oil based plastalene clay.
This sculpture i titled "Where's my dog?" if you squint your eyes and look at the image on the left you might find the dog.
When I left art school i was focused on sculpting the human figure. The only problem was, i didn't know how to do it or what material to use. I thought about all the different artistic mediums that would allow me to get started.
Clay was real easy to work with but i no access to a kiln and it was to fragile for larger works. Glass is a gorgeous material but aside from being fragile like clay i had no means to the tools let alone the money to get started. Bronze was a definite consideration but once again was cost prohibitive. Wood was ruled out because i didn't have a source or the equipment to gather large blocks of wood let alone a chainsaw to carve with. The only organic material left was steel and i could get that in abundance for free.
All i needed was a cheap welder, some basic tools and you can guess what i was doing Christmas day 25 years ago. Recycled Industrial scrap metal as a sculpture medium has been a fantastic and very expressive medium to sculpt with and it is my medium of choice as of today.
Welded metal figure sculpting is more complicated than you think. Sure anyone can grab a welder and weld up some scrap metal to resemble the human form but if you want it to be anatomicaly convincing and look realistic, that's another story.
In the following posts in this catagory i'm going to talk about the process i go through from start to finish to create a welded metal figure sculpture.
There are so many things that inspire and intrigue me about creating figure sculpture with this medium.
The main thing i like about using scrap metal as a sculpting medium is that its so interesting to look at. every shape, pattern and form imaginable can be found in recycled steel.
Every piece of reclaimed metal has a history and tells a story about the past. That character adds in the expression of the finnished work of art.
Different people will respond in different ways to a sculpture according to what industrial metal parts are recognized. A horse rider may find a horseshoe piece, A builders eye may spot a hammerhead and a bikerider latches onto a bike sprocket. These recognizable pieces of our mechanical world speak to us in different ways and add to the individual experience and emotions that arrise when encountering this work.
the way these metals can be joined and shaped is very rewarding visually. The human form is a guide to anatomical accuracy and allows a reference point that the metal parts follow. Within this framework i can determine how abstract or expressionistic i want the piece to be.
I think the most inspiring moments in making this kind of figure sculpture is being in the zone. You know, that sweet spot of knowing that you did the best you could do and you exceeded your expectations with the results you got.
There are allot more things about this work that inspire me but to cap off this post ile end with this. In the world of fine art figure sculpture there are only so many materials that will work. Whatever material you choose, you want to be able to attain mastery over that material. I could spend the rest of my life trying to master the challenges of this medium but i think that true mastery over a material is an inner game. The mastery over myself to know that if its what i love to do then i should persue it.
A blog on my sculpture and sculpting process.