I’ve never learned any skill as quickly as I picked up sculpting.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise – I’d been producing assorted flavors of three-dimensional work all of my life but in areas not considered as “art”: woodworking, model-making and prototype construction. It took a joint project in the early 90’s with Lori – the proverbial Christmas present for the friend who has everything – to take me over that last creative hurdle into sculpting as fine art. When I finally made the change it was like coming home after a long trip -where my progress in painting was measured in years the intervals between creative leaps in dimensional work were counted in months and sometimes days.
At the same time, I was becoming dissatisfied with some aspects of subject matter clients were starting to favor. The gaming market had become darker and while my bright, upbeat style was popular in 1985 (“if David is doing the cover it will be in good taste”) by 1995 it was a difficult sell (“I just don’t know if David can get gritty enough”). The creative trend that most disturbed me was the way women were portrayed in popular culture – what was touted as a move to bring a better balance in gender ended up as an excuse to create female characters that combined the dysfunction and violence of the typical male antihero with a chest that needed an antigravity system for support and a waist too small to allow a functioning digestive tract.
It was obvious that I had to broaden my client pool – not only was my current market changing, it was disappearing as if by Magic2 with many of the companies I usually worked for either out of business or soon to be so. While I was contemplating that situation one day a friend suggested I look at the collectible figurines market – the toys-that-aren’t toys sold in Hallmark stores and specialty gift shops. There was a great potential for profit and the average collectible consumer was already favorable towards that formal motif that I wanted to work in. Most importantly I could be doing interesting work in a medium that I had grown to love.
I spent the next year producing and marketing a line of collectible figurines based on ethnically diverse mermaids paired with sea-life native to each pertinent ethnic region. I called them Myrmaids and while the proposal was well received in terms of concept and execution I was continually running into people that wanted to “lead from the middle” – to work with a property that had been presold because of affiliation with a comic or animated cartoon.
It was a very frustrating situation; I was teaching two and three classes a semester at the college, producing work for on-going freelance commitments and (most importantly) had a wife and three children to take care of. I just didn’t have the time required in those pre-Internet times to conduct a thorough campaign, so I obtained a registered copyright to protect the concept and carefully packed away my renderings for use later.
Then as often happens life got in the way of life. As we stood by to help our children transition through high school and college into adult life I was also beset with multiple autoimmune diseases that had a brutal impact on my creative activities. Toss two moves into the mix and it is no surprise that the Myrmaids project never got completely back on track.
…then I came across the original renderings while sorting boxes of “stuff” the other day. I tend to be hypercritical with my old work but that wasn’t the case with the Myrmaids renderings –they still hold up nicely. “The girls” are some of my best work and deserve more than to be stashed away in a crate under my desk. Unfortunately, I don’t know if the figure line is going to happen anytime soon – I’ve produced test sculpts in two different scales but I still don’t have a manufacturer – but the good folks at jimmoshirts.com have approached me about doing a line of T-shirts featuring the Myrmaids so check out their website as soon as you can.
Koralredci will be first in the series and combines the mystique of Ancient Egypt with the contour and color of the coral fish that live in the waters around the area. She is one of the few figures in the line that you may have seen previously as she quickly found a home in my portfolio and in some of the promotional campaigns I’ve put together over the years.
…and I really wish I didn’t need to include the following information but just this last week I’ve been hit with theft of intellectual property. Someone is pirating illustrations I did for Marc Miller’s classic science fiction role-playing game Traveller – all art that has been clearly marked with the copyright bullet © – and they are proving difficult to track down, so I feel prompted to include the following information
Please note the following:
- The entire line is under registered copyright and not available for commercial use
- Please include my name and a copyright notice on any reproduction
- Full figureproduction is still in the planning stages with production at least two years away.
- T-shirts, hoodies, and mugs will be available at jimmoshirts.com