Spike Spiegel

 "I'm not going there to die. I'm going to find out if I'm really alive."

 

I recently completed a second binge viewing of Cowboy Bebop's 26 episodes (and movie) and thought that Spike Spiegel, the main protagonist of the series, would make for a cool and interesting ceramic sculpture. In researching Spike's creation by Shinichirō Watanabe and Toshihiro Kawamoto, I learned that his appearance was primarily based on the main protagonist of Tantei Monogatari, portrayed by the famous Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda. Bruce Lee was clearly another influence, as Spike's physique and fighting style were modeled after the late Jeet Kune Do founder. (Incidentally, Bruce Lee is on my list of subjects to sculpt - one of these days.) My version of Spike is an imagining of what he would be as an actual person, sans the anime's exaggerated features. In hindsight, plain acrylic paint may have been a better choice over ceramic glaze which I ironically sourced from two different ceramics shops (Miami and in San Francisco) for the right color for his suit. (My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.)

 

Spike Spiegel

 

Spike Spiegel

 

Spike Spiegel

 

Spike Spiegel

 

Spike Spiegel

 

Spike Spiegel

 

Spike Spiegel

 

Spike Spiegel

Bisque fired model

Giraffe Calf

 

The giraffe (Giraffa), is the tallest living land animal, and one of the most visually distinct creatures, making them instantly recognizable and a favorite of children and adults alike. Their closest living relative is the Okapi, which superficially resemble a half giraffe, half zebra. Despite their improbably long necks, they have the same number of vertebrae (neck bones) as all mammals. I've been meaning to sculpt a giraffe for a while but could not figure out how to sculpt a piece with a high center of gravity with long, thin legs - until I came across a photo of Amelia, a newborn female calf at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina earlier this year. This piece is loosely based on that photo with some liberty taken on the spot patterns. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Giraffe Calf

 

Giraffe Calf

 

Giraffe Calf

 

Giraffe Calf

 

Giraffe Calf

 

Giraffe Calf

Wet clay model

 Spider-Man

"With great power comes great responsibility."

 

Spider-Man made his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 on June 5, 1962. While the historical facts of exactly who was responsible for creating Spider-Man when and how have been mired in conflicting anecdotes, there is little debate as to the significance of the contributions by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko on the most recognized and beloved hero within the Marvel Universe, if not the entire superhero genre. Through a collaborative process known as the "Marvel Method," Ditko created the iconic costume and some of Spider-Man's unique powers, and Lee penned humanism into a hero defined by extraordinary but universally relatable situations. As Lee said, "What I like about the costume is that anybody reading Spider-Man in any part of the world can imagine that they themselves are under the costume. And that’s a good thing."

As an artist, it's hard for me to imagine what my life would have been without Stan Lee's contributions, arguably without whom the Marvel Universe and the superhero genre would not have flourished or even survived for that matter. The captivating modern-day mythologies with heroes like Spider-Man gave me an outlet to hone my drawing skills at an early age. I even remember decorating my very first Easter Egg with Spider-Man's mask, but I digress... The most challenging aspect of this ceramic sculpture was finding the right colors. Part of me didn't mind using an antique gold bronze like my Thor, Batman, and Superman, but a solid, bronze type look just didn't feel right for our acrobatic, friendly neighborhood web slinger. After fruitlessly searching for the perfect red and blue shades of glaze, I finally decided to use an acrylic wash over a black oxide underglaze for the optimum effect (also mimicking how classic comic books were first inked and then colored). Nuff said... Excelsior!!!   (My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.)

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

 

Spider-Man

Wet clay model

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis was one of the most popular and central deities worshipped not only in Egypt, but also throughout the ancient world. In Egyptian mythology, Isis was the consort and wife of Osiris, and mother of Horus. During the Hellenistic era, her characteristics became infused with other Greek deities such as Aphrodite and Io. There is even some controversy as to whether the worship of the Virgin Mary may have in part been influenced by the adoration of Isis prior to the rise of Christianity. From an artistic perspective, Isis's physical traits and iconography share similarities with other Egyptian goddesses, especially Hathor. Isis was also commonly represented as a winged goddess, sporting either physical or symbolic wings of a kite. For my sculpture, I gave Isis a sun disk crown with cow horns adorned with Uraeus (sacred cobra), and symbolic wings. Eight different glazes were used for a fully colored effect. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

 

Isis Egyptian Goddess

Wet clay model

Red Panda

 

The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens), is a mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. Roughly the size of a domestic cat, the red panda's diet consists mainly of bamboo, with occasional birds, fish, eggs, vegetation, and insects. The term "panda" was actually first used to describe the red panda in the West. When giant pandas were introduced a few decades later, red pandas were relegated to "lesser pandas" or "red panda." Red Pandas live an average of 10 to 15 years, and as cute as they are, have not been broadly domesticated. They are also an endangered species with an estimated less than 10,000 mature pandas in the wild. I based this sculpture on a stock photo of a red panda atop a tree branch (red pandas love climbing and spending much of their time in trees). Seven different glaze types and colors were used, and no touch-up or acrylic paint was applied. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Red Panda

 

Red Panda

 

Red Panda

I had intended for the tips of the branches to function as ring holders, but don't think this is practical as the ceramic surface would scratch the soft metal on the rings.

 

Red Panda

 

Red Panda

 

Red Panda

 

Red Panda

 

Red Panda

 

Red Panda

Wet clay model (I changed the shape of the ears and face before bisque fire)