Section:

Sculpting traditional portraits

We speak to talented traditional modeler Assis Filho about his work, how he started out, and the advantages of sculpting with your hands...

We speak to talented traditional modeler Assis Filho about his work, how he started out, and the advantages of sculpting with your hands...

3dtotal: Hello Assis, thanks for speaking to us! Could you please introduce yourself with a little about who you are and what you do?
Assis Filho: Hi everyone! My name is Assis Filho and Im sculptor. Im from Ceará, Brazil. Sculpting is my job, my hobby and my therapy. Ive worked as a freelancer since I was 15 years old, and today Im 26 years old.

I started sculpting in a cartoon style: simple things such as caricatures and cartoon characters. Until 2011 I was self-taught, and then I did figurative sculpture classes for a year, and worked as a sculptor assistant for another year. After this I continued my studies from anatomy books and live models. I participated in workshops with the creature designer Jordu Schell, and Glenn Vilppu, the renowned designer.

At the moment Im going to move to a bigger space, to teach some classes and do more work.

<em>Likeness of my father</em>  This is a study I did in plasteline of my father. Its a life size bust, using him as a live model

Likeness of my father This is a study I did in plasteline of my father. Its a life size bust, using him as a live model

3dt: Who or what inspires and motivates you in your work?

AF: The great masters of the past like Bernini, Michelangelo, Rodin, Carpeaux, and others inspire me. Other types of art inspire me. Some situations that cause a strong emotion inspire me to express them in a sculpture.
Sculpting itself motivates me. There are some days when I wake up and dont even want to touch clay, but when I do I cant stop I just want to sculpt.

<em>Portrait of Dr Edmundo</em>  This is a sculpture I did some time ago for a public space in Ceará, Brazil. Its bigger than life size

Portrait of Dr Edmundo This is a sculpture I did some time ago for a public space in Ceará, Brazil. Its bigger than life size

3dt: How did you come to be a sculptor? Was it something you always wanted to do?

AF: I remember when I was in kindergarten and the teacher gave us pieces of clay. While others stuck it in their hair, ate it, or threw it at the teacher, I realized that I could do something with mine, transform it into whatever I wanted.

I didnt have to decide if I would become a sculptor it was something that I had inside of me. I never imagined myself doing something that wasnt sculpture. I had to learn how to do this as my job, I had to learn how to sell, how to promote myself, how to negotiate. I did some courses on these subjects; I believe theyre some of the most neglected skills by artists, but some of the most important.

<em>Portrait of Paulo Mestre</em>  This is a life-sized portrait I did for a client and friend. I traveled to his home and spent some weeks working on this sculpture

Portrait of Paulo Mestre This is a life-sized portrait I did for a client and friend. I traveled to his home and spent some weeks working on this sculpture

3dt: What materials do you use in your work, and why? Tell us about your favorite media and tools.

AF: I work mostly with plasteline, silicon, plaster and resin. Sometimes I use cold porcelain (biscuit) and epoxy. I like all kinds of materials, I dont have a preferred one. I think that all materials have pros and cons; it depends on the job and deadline. I find plasteline is the easiest to use for me.

When I do a life-sized sculpture, most of the time I work without tools, just with my hands. Its only when I work with the details and texture that I use tools. When I started out, I thought that I would have to use a lot of tools, and it took some time to understand that much of the work is done only by your hands. But now this is something natural to me.

<em>Reflecting</em>  I did this sculpture for study, and also entered it in a scholarship contest in the Florence Academy of Art

Reflecting I did this sculpture for study, and also entered it in a scholarship contest in the Florence Academy of Art

3dt: What do you think a 2D or digital 3D artist could learn from the traditional sculpting experience?

AF: Having real contact with the sculpture is helpful to understand the forms, light, and depth. You dont have the advantages of Ctrl+Z or symmetry, which makes you spend more time looking and taking measurements as you sculpt. If you miss the correct proportions, for example, and only realize after much work has been done, it can spoil the whole thing; if you do it in 3D, its much easier to correct.

But the same happens when you come to sculpture from digital 3D or 2D art. I believe that after you learn the skills, you just need some time to adapt to other media. If you take an artist who is good at drawing and teach them how to sculpt, the most difficult part will be adapting to the material, but they will already have the most important skills: the vision of the forms, the contours, and drawing what you really see.

<em>Study of a rhino</em>  This is a small plasteline sculpture I did for study. I really love animals

Study of a rhino This is a small plasteline sculpture I did for study. I really love animals

3dt: Lastly, tell us about the job or project that youre most proud to have worked on.

AF: The project Im most proud to have worked on was a life-sized bust that I sculpted of a doctor, for a public place. It was my first work of this type, and their daughters had chosen me to do the portrait. I didnt have many references of the person I was portraying, only an old drawing which was not enough to make a good portrait.

On the day of approval for the sculpture, I had a lot of things to correct. Each daughter had a suggestion. I explained that I didnt have good reference of him, and so they had to guide me to find his likeness. After two hours of work, there was only one of the sisters left to give their opinion: the older sister, who had known the father for more time. She was silent, but then she stood up and told me, while crying, You managed to capture the presence of my father. Even being new, you did a good job. Youve done it the right way.

This touched me a lot, because I knew that I had reached my goal in that project, and the words she told me made me feel very proud of my work.

3dt: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us!

Related links

Check out Assis Filho's website
Grab a copy of Beginner's Guide to Sculpting Characters in Clay

Fetching comments...

Post a comment