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A hobby and side-project I have started in the last few years is small-scale sculpture and painting. I primarily work in two "genres" of art: Paleoart reconstructions of extinct animals, which I primarily sculpt and paint from scratch with a few pre-made components,  and painting premade 3-D printed resin and plastic tabletop miniatures and similar small toys. This is a hobby I both want to use as a marketable skill on its own merits from selling the artwork itself and to be a resume point for museum work to build relevant skills such as diorama and exhibit construction, anatomy study, and attention to detail- the last of which is quite a necessity when painting a figure the size of two fingernails! 

Making a collection of my own work does, admittedly, have some ulterior motives. I could use any subject for the practice in making a collection with OmekaS, but in addition to the inherent self-interest in displaying my work, I would also like to use this project as a base for an independent portfolio for when I eventually create a personal website and storefront for my work. 

Several of the works are unfinished and, in a few cases, barely started. The birth of my son in March -- three weeks early -- severely limited my available time to work on my art. These works are designated with the "Unfinished" tag. 


Painted Miniatures

Although I don't play tabletop games, a large focus of my work is painting miniature models. Most of these are from small, independent stores and individuals selling off of Etsy, Amazon, and other online commerce platforms. With the exception of the Kivika models, which depict an original character I designed with the website Heroforge, the models are pre-existing designs I purchased for use. The sculptors of these models, and the companies I bought them from, are credited as contributors. 

These miniatures are 3-D printed from curing liquid resin. I then paint them in acrylic paints using an airbrush and modeling brushes, the smallest of which can be as fine as a single hair.  I also sometimes modify the models to make them more unique and personalized, such as adding cotton clouds to the Nameless King figure's base or the 'binding" of the King in Yellow, made from string, which are elements not present on the original models. 

I chose this particular medium because I find it more enjoyable than painting on flat surfaces like canvas, I enjoy the challenge and lack of space required to paint in the medium, ease of storage (all of these figures can fit on a small bookshelf with room to spare), and there is a wide range of characters and models available There is also a robust network of hobbyists and professionals on Youtube, Reddit, and other places to get tips, advice, tutorials, and inspiration. 


This category of my art, although lower in volume, is one I take somewhat more seriously as it is more closely tied to my desired career working in museums with paleontological collections.  Unlike the miniatures, as I intend to create more personalized depictions of the subject animals, I create most of the paleoart sculptures and extinct animal reconstructions from scratch. The exceptions are the Oviraptor piece, which was made by repainting a commercially available toy as a practice work, and the T.rex head busts, which are all sculpted over 3-D printed plastic skulls.  As a fairly new artist, I have changed techniques and materials a few times to find my preferred mediums and techniques. Early works were sculpted in PVC-based polymer clay. I then switched to an air-drying wood pulp clay and chemically cured epoxy clay. Although I do not think my current skill level reaches "professional," I take inspiration and techniques from and strive to reach the level of established paleoartists and companies that work in the medium, including Emily Willoughby, Blue Rhino Studio, and Anilson Borges of Criando Dinossauros

Reconstructions of extinct animals are always speculative to some degree. However, the nature of the art form requires creating works that are as accurate as possible to our current understanding of the animals depicted, with acceptable speculation within those bounds. Due to the nature of fossilization, this is highly variable depending on how well specimens are preserved. Some, like Sinosauropteryx, can be recreated very accurately, including life coloration. For others, like the Tyrannosaurus sculptures, there is more freedom for interpretation, as soft flesh has to be inferred from the bones or is fragmentary. The Parasaurolophus piece is painted in a design loosely based on the Okapi, a modern-day herbivore that lives in a similar environment. George the Gorgonopsid is the most fanciful piece in this part of the collection, as I sculpted it wearing a collar like a pet dog, and whether those animals had fur or smooth skin is completely unknown and speculative. 

Other Work

I have four works in this collection that do not fall into the above categories: the "Galaxy's Hand" sculpture, the bound books & book box, and the heart magnet collection. "Galaxy's Hand" is a completely original work depicting a hand modeled on my own, painted in iridescent black with silver stars. The middle fingernail is painted in the colors of the pansexual flag as a tribute to my wife. The bound books are a copy of Volume 2 of "The Diary of Samuel Pepys" and "Queen Victoria" by Lytton Strachey that I rebound for my Conservation and Preservation lab. The text blocks were intact and so did not require restoration. The cover and binding were created new from a firm cardboard core, bookbinding cloth, rabbit skin glue, and marbled paper, and the book box for the diary volume was also made from the above materials, plus a ribbon tie and unbleached paper for the interior lining. The heart magnet collection is made with swirled acrylic paint and colored alcohol ink on pine wood magnet blanks.