Valkyrie

 

In Norse mythology, Valkyries decided the fate of warriors in battle, and those that were chosen for death were taken by them to Valhalla where they received a hero's welcome by Odin and other gods like Thor, and served mead. Recent archaeological evidence suggest tales of Valkyries existed well before 700 AD. Their role in ancient mythology was not unlike that of the celestial maidens of Asia or angels in Judeo Christian religion in that their main purpose was to perform the bidding of a supreme heavenly being such as Odin or Jehovah. I based my sculpture on my favorite Valkyrie, Brunhild (or Brünnhilde in Wagner's epic Ring Cycle opera: Die Walkure). In this operatic tale, Brunhild defies her father's (Odin's) order by second guessing his true intent, which angers him even more. But as much as he is angry with Brunhild, he allows her to have some say in choosing her own fate - revealing how much he loved her of all his Valkyrie daughters. This piece is meant to capture the moment that Brunhild descends from the heavens as she is transformed by Odin into a normal woman and about to be laid to sleep surrounded by a ring of fire, ensuring that only the bravest of heroes will be able to pass through it to save and claim her. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

 

Valkyrie

Wet clay model

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

In 1964, Toho Studios introduced a three-headed kaiju with large (but proportionately small) bat wings, two spiked tails, and golden scales as Godzilla's main adversary in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.  But for centuries, Russian and slavic folktales also told tales of Gorynych zmei, a dragon with 3 (or more) heads. I took inspiration from both sources and designed a dragon with wings that are a combination of King Ghidorah's bat wings and a pterosaur-like anatomy where the wing shaft is an extension of the pinky digit that folds up when the forearm is touching the ground. King Ghidorah was technically more of a wyvern in that it only had two limbs and wings, whereas true western dragons like my model have 4 limbs and a pair of wings. I modeled the two spiked tails and three heads based the original Toho Studios design which was also clearly influenced by traditional Asian dragons. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

 

King Ghidorah Gorynych

Wet clay model

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial maidens can be found in the folklores of almost every culture. In Asia, the Hindu and Buddhist traditions have influenced common elements into the heavenly maidens of India (Asparas: अप्सरा), China (Feitian: 飞天), Japan (Tennyo: 天女), and Korea (Seonnyeo: 선녀). These beings all typically possess great beauty, magical abilities, and the power of flight using special garments (without which they are grounded, making for some interesting folktales). Their western counterparts can be angels, fairies, or even valkyries, depending on their role within a specific folktale or belief system. My sculpture is based on the Korean Seonnyeo with the telltale double ringlets of hair, and her face was modeled after actress Kelly Hu. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

 

Celestial Maiden

Wet Clay Model

 Siberian Tiger

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 

- William Blake

 

I was never happy with my first attempt at a Siberian Tiger. As a matter of fact, I am never totally happy with any of my work - but I digress. My first tiger was loosely based on several stock photos, and in the end my research was inadequate in many ways. I also applied the stripes using my imagination and sense of what it should look like, that it wasn't until I was done that I realized they were too evenly spaced and dense compared to actual tiger stripes. With 2.0, I based my sculpture on just (2) Getty stock photos of Siberian (Amur) tigers in the snow: one for the overall pose, and the other for the details of the head. I also searched for several months for glazes of the right shade, but decided that I'd rather give it my best shot at acrylic paint. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop. (And yes, there will be a version 3.0 at some point, as well as a 2.0 of the White Tiger.)

 

Siberian Tiger

 

Siberian Tiger

 

Siberian Tiger

 

Siberian Tiger

 

Siberian Tiger

 

Siberian Tiger

 

Siberian Tiger

 

Siberian Tiger

Wet clay model

 

Jack Johnson

"Don't let your dreams be dreams."

- Jack Johnson (1878 - 1946)

 

I've always wanted to sculpt a boxer ever since I started ceramic sculpting but could not come up with a concept that worked - until I happened to come across a photo of Jack Johnson, the world's first African American heavy weight boxing champion, holding an air jab pose while training. John Arthur Johnson is considered one of the greatest heavyweight champions of all time, and his prowess in the boxing ring were legendary and foreshadowed techniques, athleticism, and flair that are ordinary by today's standards but were ground breaking during his time. By all accounts, he lived a remarkable life on his own terms in the face of racial prejudice and prevalent bigotry. While this piece is meant to portray a nameless prize fighter, it is inspired by Jack Johnson and based on that photo of him showing off his jab. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

 

Jack Johnson

Wet clay model