Friday, August 10

Nine Sculptors & 11 Hours: Prototype Challenge

I have never had a clue how those mass produced, collectible plastic figurines came into being, I just didn't think about it past the fact that I knew the plastic was pressed in some neat machinery. It turns out a master team of bad ass artists shares the tasks and spends a couple months perfecting that little figurine. I should warn you ahead of time that I have no idea what the putty they're using to sculpt is, etc. If someone knows I'll edit the information in! Also, there are a TON of pictures for this competition, so I really, really suggest you check out the original links at the bottom of this post.

Pictured above: The bad ass looking team. Second guy's expression is so enthusiastic, it's adorable!

The link I came across however, shows a competition where nine artists divvy up the tasks, work together and compete against an eleven hour clock! Why is this interesting to anyone else? Well I don't know, I might be the only person to find this interesting. I think it's a form of production art that aspiring sculptors can aim for though. Also, some things about the process stuck out.

Reference Image
'Rough' prototype!

To make their lives universally easier, there's a plastic base for each body part. Not only will they be able to work faster, but all their sculptures will be proportionate to each other! I'm sure that some sort of base must be available for use in individual sculptures made of polymer clay right? The only materials I can think of are plastic, resin or wood though, none of which I'm assuming should go into the oven. Quick, someone go and invent bake-able bases, you'll be rich! For myself, I suppose if I wanted a series of proportionate people I would make a master silicone mold and pour myself wax bases to build up on. 

So creepy but so useful.
I'm guessing they slice limbs in half, arrange their respective poses and then stick them back together with wire?

They also assembled this project piece by piece, and yes I know if there's nine people working than piece work is necessary, but I'm talking about the fact that after the hair was finished - they removed it so they could work on the head. True, I'm not sure how to accomplish this when the material is wax on wax (or polymer, etc), but maybe a piece of plastic wrap would help you sculpt the shape without committing to the union of two pieces. By the way, you have absolutely no idea how hard it was to get these two images to line up beside each other! -Shakes a very angry fist at Google.-

Mid-stage hair - seriously check the website photos!
Ack she's been scalped!

I think it's great to get a sneak peek into how mass produced sculptures are made, maybe one day you want that to be your niche, wouldn't it be cool? Screw glass, clay and resin, you want your art casted in plastic and purchased by thousands of enthusiastic collectors, to be forever fawned (and possibly fapped) over because it's so gorgeous! If you do ever want to take on the task of serious production, remember that this girl's headphones and guitar are normally created using 3D technology, so it's safe to take a breather when it comes to small details! For this contest they clearly had to sculpt these things though;

I wish I could create such smooth objects, this putty is so magical.
I only noticed this picture while writing the blog post, that's such a smart way to hold your items!

The last thing I want to point out is the fact that nine people (even though there are only four pictured above) work on this one, teeny tiny sculpture together! I imagine that each person is skilled in a well-rounded type of way, but they each are assigned certain areas to work on, and they have to trust that the others will do their job properly. It's just like outsourcing, but to friends! A teacher of mine has mentioned that outsourcing can be really useful, but for some reason people seem to frown upon it. He even suggested that since I'm terrible at glassblowing I could never enter the hot shop again and just ask someone else to blow a vase for me whenever I needed something to engrave - and yes, that comment did really hurt, but oddly enough it didn't deter my stubborn nature. I'm not really into glassblowing, but I've actually thought of some things I want to make this year, and I sure as hell am not going to pay someone else to make them for me! With proper motivation to push me, the experience of blowing something I'm really interested in is just too good to pass up! (Hint, hint: CLING to your motivation when you find it guys, it's like a power-up to your skill level.) Uuh I got a little off topic though, sorry, the point of this paragraph was that as long as you are not as stupidly stubborn as me, it's okay to outsource to friends who are better equipped for the job.

Look at that team work! It's radiant!
Her mismatching nature is actually really attractive to me, I think it emphasizes the amount of work that's gone into this.

To sum up my rambling the wonders of this competition I found are;
1) Figure blanks/bases!
2) Mass production at a level where you can have a huge base of collectors!
3) Outsourcing and team work!

Part One

Part Two

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