A figure study inspired by a sequence from the Bodies in Motion project. For a behind the scenes look at the making of this piece, including a bit of anatomy, a sculpting demo and a complete timelapse video showing the tools and techniques I use, please check out my presentation from the Pixologic ZSummit (the makers of ZBrush, my primary digital sculpting tool): https://youtu.be/Ale6SXXbJMM
I was recently commissioned by the legendary French glass makers, Lalique, to design and sculpt an enormous (in relative terms) crystal angel, an allegory of Music, for Elton John. The piece, know as Cire Perdue (after the lost wax process Lalique used to cast the piece), is a single, unique artwork that will be auctioned off in Los Angeles in February, with all proceeds going to the Elton John Aids Foundation. After a long design process and an even longer time in production, the piece is finally finished and was shown for the first time at Elton’s Windsor estate, to an effusive reaction:
“I don’t think that I have ever seen a more beautiful piece of glass than the big Angel. It is breathtaking!
Elton signing the big Angel
I am excited to show the first images from a recent collaboration with fellow artist Jason deCaires Taylor. I designed and sculpted the four Shire horses with oil-pump heads for Jason’s installation The Rising Tide currently installed on the Southbank of the Thames, right outside the MI6 building (for all you James Bond and secretive intelligence agency fans out there).
The piece is a powerful commentary on man’s relationship with the environment. Throughout the day the sculptures are submerged and revealed as the tide cycle waxes and wanes. As a long-time scuba diver I am delighted by Jason’s epic underwater works, so it was a pleasure collaborating with him on this piece.
My work on the piece involved the design and digital sculpting of the 18-hand tall Shire horses. Interestingly, over the past few years I have sculpted quite a few horses. First my centaur, then work on Mark Wallinger’s White Horse (also installed in London), followed by the horses for Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, and now these petrochemical Shires.
I am on a short visit to the West Coast and had an afternoon in Seattle to drop into Valve to show the latest developments on my Bodies in Motion project. It was great to get the website and images out in public for the first time. Over a few hours we had a random walk through the Bodies in Motion content and framed a spontaneous anatomy lecture around some of the amazing figures in the library (Mischief canvas below).
It was a brief but productive visit, they got a short anatomy refresher and I got to pick the brains of a very talented group of artists for useful feedback on the project. If you are interested in more on the Bodies in Motion project as it heads into beta testing, please sign up to the newsletter for announcements!
I’ve just finished six days of anatomy masterclasses for Industrial Light and Magic, London (yes, the Star Wars guys). This isn’t the first time I’ve been to ILM, in the past I’ve run workshops for both their San Francisco and Singapore offices, but this is the first time it was just a tube journey away (not a nine-hour flight). It is great having Industrial Light & Magic in London!
No sooner is the Bodies in Motion III shoot finished, than Bodies in Motion IV marches into the calendar. In fact, we just finished a big weekend shoot with eleven talented artists, each with unique skills, power and grace on aerial apparatus. I have just started looking through the 15,000 images and there are going to be some gems.
All of the photography you see coming through the site lately is in preparation for the official launch of the Bodies in Motion Project website coming in September. The site will collect all the photos and motion sequences that I have shot over the last five years and make them available as a resource for artists, designers, and agencies looking for photography that showcases the amazing capabilities and forms of the human figure. Be sure to sign up to the newsletter for announcements!
I recently kicked off a series of pastblast posts digging up old but interesting projects that I didn’t have time to write about when they were happening. One of the most interesting and enjoyable visual effects projects that I have worked on is Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse.
The story follows Joey, a farm horse in rural England, onto the battlefields of World War I. Being a war story, you can imagine there are a few upsets along the way, and Joey inevitably finds himself in very dangerous circumstances – circumstances too dangerous in fact for real ‘horse actors’. Cue our digital Joey.
CREATING THE DIGITAL JOEY
Our digital horse stretching his legs
I am just back from the Sochi Olympics where I was working with the amazing teams from Asif Kahn and iArt on the “Megafaces Facade” for the Megafon pavilion. Over the past six months I have been providing creative direction for this crazy project.
I was asked to come on-board to provide expertise in computer graphics, lighting, faces, and overall aesthetics to the piece. The challenge from a visual design perspective was to take raw, 3d scan data from the ‘photobooths’ in the pavilion and then develop an automated solution, which we called the Creative Processing Pipeline (CPP), for coloring, relighting, composing and outputting the faces to the facade in way that, well, looks cool. It is a bit like composing a drawing or photograph, but algorithmically so that it always (ermm, almost always) produces a compelling visual result.
The Eaton-Houdon Écorché is my update of the classical anatomy figure by 18th Century sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. His original l’Écorché sculpture, produced in 1767 during his time in Rome, has been used by artists studying anatomy for centuries. It is celebrated for its balance, gesture and proportions but, to the trained eye, has always contained a handful of anatomical inaccuracies. Combine this with an overall loss of detail resulting from centuries of re-casting and the piece was in need of both an accuracy update and a sharpening of details. The result is shown above.
I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with legendary artist Jeff Koons on one of his projects – a larger than life-sized sculpture of Lady Gaga. After some absurd deadlines and a lot of sculpting, the piece was unveiled in New York at #artRave a huge launch party for Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP album.
It is amazing to finally see the piece finished and in public. From what I have seen it looks pretty impressive (if for no other reason than the monumental scale). I am still not sure what it means but I guess that is for Jeff to answer.
profile view (with Koons’ promotion)