As we enter the final week of this year, I can't help but look back at what has transpired in these past twelve months. I hope you'll read on and join me in a year in review of A P Sculpture Studio.
At the start of this year, there was no A P Sculpture Studio. In fact, the year had started pretty slow for me. Once again I found myself looking and unable to find work as a sculptor. There were a couple of projects I was finishing, like my 3:4 scale, full figure, self portrait (The Talented Mr. Failure). I was glad to finish this piece and it would go on to help me achieve a long standing goal later on. There were a couple of classes I was able to sign up for. One of which was Jordu Schell's 5 day workshop, and the other was a class at my Alma Matter. The class was "Artist as Brand" taught by, my now friend, Greg Spalenka.
Artist as Brand went on to have a pivotal role in the creation of A P Sculpture Studio. The class (created by Greg) is all about artist empowerment. Learning how to create a brand around yourself and make a living with your art. We see some great examples of Artists as Brand in Simon (Spider-Zero) Lee, The Shiflett Brothers, Jordu Schell and many others. These are people that broke free from the "industry" mold (for the most part), and pursued their own creative vision. I too wanted to move down this path, as the industry path was getting me nowhere. So, during the class, I developed a strategy for my new company, a logo, and website - this website. It started rather modestly, and went through several changes in that first month. But soon I started to find my way. The plan I created in the class was about bringing my own products to market, and so I started designing and creating my own creatures as well. First up! ZOMBIE PIRATE!! Zombie Pirate remains the best selling piece in my store, but now at the end of the year (eight month later), I've sold over 50 of my creature sculpts. It's not huge numbers, but it's definitely a great start.
Next up was Jordu's class. I had been wanting to take his class for over three years at this point, but every time it came up, it conflicted with something I had already planned (usually the Beverly Hills art show). Finally there was a chance to take the class when it wouldn't conflict, so I jumped at the opportunity. I'm very glad I did because I was able to create my very first latex mask - which had I known it was so easy, I would've been making masks since I was a kid. Jordu's class was great. He's very entertaining, and I learned some cool stuff.
In April came Monsterpalooza. I attended the show on Saturday and Sunday. There was so much to see and so many talented individuals that it took a while to soak it all in. After just a few minutes at the show, I realized I wanted to be part of it. So this coming April, you will be able to find me on the convention floor, selling my kits.
April also brought some huge news for me. After years of trying to get into the National Sculpture Society's "Young Sculptor of the Year" competition, I was finally in... Well, sort of. You see, for the second year in a row, I was selected as an alternate. In 2009, I remained an alternate and didn't compete. But this time, after about two weeks from getting the news, I received an e-mail saying that I was in. I would get to go to Brookegreen Gardens in South Carolina and compete against 11 other competitors. At this point, I had been trying to get into this competition for 10 years (not consecutive), so you can imagine my excitement to finally achieve such a long standing goal. In May, I traveled to South Carolina for the competition and over the course of 24 sculpting hours, spread over five days, I created my piece based on the model. When all was said and done, I felt I had done the best work I could've done, given the circumstances. When the judges made their decision, I was awarded 2nd place and given the Roger T. Williams Prize. It was a great personal achievement for me, and I will carry it as a point of pride for the rest of my life.
Now, as all this was going on, the web site was growing. I started doing interviews with industry professionals. First up, the incredible Mr. Tim Bruckner. It was such a pleasure to have an industry icon like Tim agree to an interview for my virgin site. He gave such great responses and became the model on which I continued my interviews. I went on to interview many people this year, including: The Shiflett Brothers, Tony Cipriano, Joe Menna, Troy McDevitt, Walter O'Neal, Trevor Grove, Tim Miller, Scott Spencer, Greg Baldwin, Randy Bowen, Adam Hughes, Adam Ross and Jean St. Jean. So many names, so many questions and so much fun. It was a lot of hard work, and continues to be as I still look for interviewees. I hope to continue to bring you more interviews next year.
July brought with it Comic-Con. This year was a good year for getting my foot a little further in some doors. Thanks to the clever idea of my friend Walter O'Neal, I had some cool leave behinds that went a long way in impressing the Art Directors. I suspect they're going to see more of those next year.
Towards the last part of this year, there were still happenings. The Beverly Hills Affaire in the Gardens Art Show in October was pretty gloomy and rainy, but it was also the most successful show I've had there. I took my little resin sculpts on day two of the show and sold 4 pieces. Two of which were supposedly going to be a gift to Jack Nicholson. I was also awarded 3rd place in sculpture once again. There was also Jordu's second workshop - Advanced Sculpey Techniques. A great class for any of you who have taken his first class. Then there was the Ellen Show Halloween Pumpkins. This was the second time I was asked to do celebrity pumpkin portraits for the show and it was every bit as challenging. In the end, the pumpkins were only on air for about 4 seconds, but I was paid, and the pumpkins looked good.
All in all, I finished over 20 sculpts this year (some of which you guys haven't seen yet). I started another 5 or 6 that will be finished soon. It was a pretty productive year with a lot of great things. The blog has grown into something that people have come to respect and enjoy, and most importantly, participate in. I hope to get more reader next year and maybe finally get some of those guest bloggers I've been looking for. But either way, I thank you for your continued support. Thank you to all the people who repost and link to this blog. Thank you to all the interviewees, you guys have really made this a great place for information. Thank you to all those who have purchased my kits - it really keeps me going. I hope to have your continued support next year as new kits come up on the store. Finally, thanks to my friends and family. Their life long support of me and my art is what has gotten me this far, and I wouldn't have been able to achieve any of this without them.
Oh, there is one more thing I created this year. My Wife and I have apparently created a life. We're excited and very nervous about this news. I need to find work in a very serious way, and my wife's health issues are going to make for an interesting journey (to say the least). But we're happy and we're hopeful, and we hope to share our collaborative creation next August, when he or she arrives.
Have a safe and happy New Years. Cheers!!