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

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga is both feared and endeared in Slavic cultures. Depending on the circumstances, this hideous all powerful witch can end up either eating or helping a traveler that wanders near her chicken legged hut. Baba Yaga travels through the forest in a flying mortar with a pestle in one hand, and a broom in the other with which she sweeps away her traces. Western pop cultural references to Baba Yaga are typically in the context of a Russian folkloric boogeyman (John Wick, Ant-Man and the Wasp, etc.). I designed my version of Baba Yaga based heavily on Ivan Bilibin's illustration in the classic Russian folktale, "Vasilisa the Beautiful" published in 1874, as it conveyed the most verisimilitude - a key characteristic I try to instill in all my work. I also would like to thank and dedicate this piece to all my Russian friends on Instagram for inspiring me to explore the rich world of Russian folklore. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga frequently bears the epithet "bony leg" (Baba Iaga kostianaia noga).

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

 

Baba Yaga

Wet clay model

Osumosan

 

The Japanese sport of sumo wrestling originated as a Shinto ritual and evolved during the mid 16th century into the form the world is familiar with today. The imposing physique of a sumosan, in addition to the traditional hair style, is quite distinctive and unique to that sport alone - there is no mistaking a sumo wrestler from other athletes! And while there are no weight classifications (and therefore no limits) in Japanese sumo, the mass differential is not always a deciding factor in a bout. Speed, balance, and strategy are also key elements that make the contests so fascinating to watch. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

 

Osumosan

Wet clay model

 Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel is the Mayan goddess of midwifery, fertility, and medicine. The ancient Maya were a highly advanced civilization, particularly in their understanding of the solar system and mathematics. I've always wanted to sculpt a Mesoamerican deity but found the depictions, most of which are based on Spanish codices, very difficult to interpret visually. After some research, I chose Ixchel to sculpt as her iconography is fairly consistent: snake atop her head, sometimes pouring water, and sometimes depicted as a young or old woman. As an added homage to this beautiful Mayan goddess, I based her facial features on stock images of actual women from the Yucatan peninsula (the hub of the ancient Mayan civilization). Incidentally, I later learned through an Instagram colleague that one of the sculptures that I had used as reference is located in Isla Mujeres (The Island of Women) in Mexico. There is even a temple dedicated to her there (Templo De La Diosa Ixchel) which I hope to visit someday. My thanks again to the Ceramic Art Studio and Shop.

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

 

Ixchel Mayan Goddess

Wet clay model (greenware)