Sculpting toys is not a child’s play; using wax, clay, resins, these artists shape their fantasies, a large number of fans’ fantasies, drawing on a visual culture, ranging from traditional classical to Renaissance, from Gothic fantasy to Baroque excess, from the sublimation of the Pre-Raphaelites to the darkest and most pleased romanticism, mixing all these elements to create a complex contemporary iconography. The most stringent virtuosity and the morbidest imagination are put thereby at the service of the market, creating an endless row of figurines, action figures and dioramas, pagan icons identified, like classical gods or Christian saints, from the attributes that characterize them: then the Nemean lion skin of Hercules or the gridiron of St. Lawrence, now the hammer of Thor and Captain America’s shield. The main iconographic references for this new category of sculptors are the great mothers of the pop contemporary imaginary, Marvel and DC first, and then all the written and designed literature in modern fantasy and fantastic culture. The comparison with the great faiths of the past has obviously its limits: in front of the needs of the market, of large print runs and multiple reproductions, these figures often appear for what they are, plastic-made toys, fetishes of a lesser god; in the hands of their creators however, when form struggles to emerge from raw material, in monocrome prototypes, still these works contain all the charm of their more illustrious predecessors, and rightly these toys can aspire to be a part, maybe pop and minority, however meaningful in contemporary culture. Below, a personal selection of some of the best artists:
Originator and pioneer in the field of limited edition sculptures based on pop-culture icons, he was primarily noted for the innovation of the mini-busts and statues of characters from films (Star Wars, Aliens, Predator, and many others) as well as characters from comic books. He is considered by many to be the “Father of Comics statues” having produced sculptures from virtually every major comics and pop culture venue in the United states.
Bowen Designs site
One of the pioneers, the begginers on the comic/fantasy sculpture field. The actual brand name for DC Direct Collectibles and the ruler of Art Farm Studio. His amazing works go from the pure and simply fantasy to the old classic comic character.
Art Farm site
One of the most known sculptors from Argentina, and one of the most talented in the entire world. Founder and owner of the GoreGroup Studio; a studio who has work for Dynamic Forces, Moore Action Collectibles, Disney Studios, Sideshow toys, Pegaso models and lot more.
For the past 10 years Dave Cortes has been a premier sculptor in the toy & collectibles Industry. Dave has worked for such companies as Mezco, McFarlane Toys, Toy biz, NECA, and the list goes on and on! Dave is widely regarded in the field for his range of sculpting ability. From realistic portraits to stylized figures, he has covered the spectrum of action-figure sculpting. In 2000 he formed Inu Art, an all purpose sculpting studio located in Red Hook Brooklyn.
Inu Art site
JEAN ST. JEAN
Musician since the age of 7, metal head soon after, degee in classical piano and composer. About 12 years ago he started sculpting as a hoobby. He has been Sculpting Supervisor for McFarlane . After a sabbatical in the realms of metal he returned to the toy world in October ’05. His client list includes NECA, SOTA, Diamond Select Toys, DC Direct, to name a few. He created Jean St. Jean Studios to handle large multi-figure projects.
James Maddox, a very talented sculptor who can sculpt heavy detailed pieces no matter their sizes. He has worked for Bowen Designs, Hero Heads, 21st century toys, Warriors scale models.
Gabriel Marquez, one of the most prolific sculptors from the last times. His works have been produced by major companies as Mcfarlane Toys, Diamond Select, and several toy companies. With the assistence of his wife Terry he founded his own sculpting company, Gwin Sculpture Works. He have done a lot of models kits, some produced by his own and some from different Gk producers as Forbbiden Zone and Dan Perez Studios, among others. His own sculpting style emphasizes anatomic accouracy, evocative poses, subtle skin, clothing and surface textures, and dead-on likness.
A pioner in the bizz. From his works as a DC Direct scultor to the Garage Kit field to the originals design, a mastermaind behind the wax who can do whatever idea in his mind.
Gabe “Luchmin” Perna, a new and talented guy with his own style, full of anguishness and pain. Check his image if you don’t belive me. Over the past few years, he has worked for companies like Bowen Design, Master replicas and others, as well as catering to private collectors for one of a kind pieces. He is actually working for Epic Statues.
Toilet face site
A very talented sculptor who is leaving his mark as he walks between the sculpture fields with his creations.
Erick Sosa Studios page
Erick Sosa blog
Many more artists and examples of their work can be seen here