We are proud to catch up with the talented Malaysian polymer clay artist Sam Aziz. And the good news is Sam is going to collaborate with Malaysia Clay Art in sharing his new 2014 project in the coming post! The upcoming tutorial is going to be packed with sculpting tips and techniques, and you’ll be sure to get full of this new-found inspiration!
Photo of Sam Aziz
1. Tell us a little about you, your background and your early influences, where you learned, any formal or informal training. How did you get started?
I’m a Graphic Artist and Interior Designer by profession. I love sculpting since I was 5. Back in the early 80s’, I still remember at that time my late dad always bought me a Plasticine in order to keep me stay at home. I sculpted a lot of things, starting with 2D alphabets and animals. That’s kind of funny when my elder sister always mumbling because my sticky plasticine making mess on the floor. Until one beautiful day after watching The Never Ending Stories, i was excited with the creatures and replicas. I begin sculpting 3D dolls and creatures ever since and I love it very much. In 2008, i get to know about Polymer Clay sculpting after surfing internet for movie props and replicas. I search for material that artist normally use to create 3D models and then I found Super Sculpey for the first time.
Sam Aziz’s very first sculpture – 7 inch tall Pixie.
Orcs Rider on Warg – Sam Aziz latest creation of the goblin rider
2. Do you have an art background?
I love art and design since schooling time. Always score high marks in art subject and always choose by teachers to draw a murals on school wall. I love drawing figurative art such as human portraits or figures with Pastels and Oil Paints is my favorite media. In the late 90s, I started a business as freelance graphic artist, learning 3D programs such as Rhino3D and 3DSMax. I have a few overseas client for design commissions, creating computer 3D image and banner for websites. 2 of my design was featured in Rhino3D Gallery.
Ironbug — the little red one
Then in early 2000, I emphasize my business to Interior Design with 3D image proposals as an advantage and i’m still doing it until now. In the beginning, sculpting with Polymer Clay is just my hobby and somehow in 2010, I realize it is actually can be very good business. It is so great when passion and careers works together.
3. How do you manage to get your creation so realistic? What type of details do you pay attention to when creating a piece?
Believe in or not, Anatomy subject is very important when comes to figurative art. I study Human Anatomy and purchases few books for this purpose. Correct anatomy is crucial in creation of realistic doll unless you creating fantasy arts like monsters, etc. Other than anatomy, I also study human facial expression in order to create lifelike doll and to deliver the message of your art doll. Facial wrinkles will bring lots of meaning so I always pay attention into this. Normally before I started any project, I will do some research on the internet because no doubt, the best resource is always there. As international doll artist, I must create my own signature, or sculpting identity to make it memorable and one of a kind, and my specialty is on facial expression with dynamic pose. Painting techniques also pays important role in making realistic doll.
Suki – The Dark Angel done in 2013
4. What are some of your basic tools and supplies?
Most important of all is reference books. Basic books about Human Anatomy and Facial Expressions is essential for doll making. My favorite clay is ‘Prosculpt’ and ‘Fimo Puppen’. I always mix this two clay to get the best result and texture I wanted. Then i will use few tools. I dont believe in specific tools to create good sculpture. Believe it or not, my 1st sculpture (picture 2) was made using just toothpick and my fingers. But for the best result, it is much easier to use various size of Stylus Tools from very fine point to about 5mm size. A paint brush from size 1 to 000 for final touch up. Strong aluminum wire and good aluminum foil is important for making strong foundation or armatures for your sculptures. A good oven with built in fan of at least 26 liter in size is the best choice as starting, bigger is way better.
5. What is one of your favorite clay techniques?
I always start with proper kneading and mix my clay to get desired skin tones. Create good armature for strong foundation of your sculpture because as we all know, polymer clay is quite fragile when its drop. All my latest sculptures have armature wire (bones) all over the body including fingers. My favorite baking techniques is call serial baking, which is I will bake multiple time. Firstly, starting with baking the structure, Secondly i’ll adding flesh to the body and adding some detailing such as wrinkles etc. I will bake head-sculpt, hands and feet separately. I will joint it all together during the 3rd baking process. Serial baking is so far the best technique I use in doll making.
6. In your opinion, what is the most challenging part of designing/creating/assembling the pieces you make?
In my opinion, costuming is the most tricky and challenging part in art doll making especially statue doll. Unlike Ball Jointed Doll or BJD which is articulated and easier to put the costume on, statue is much harder because you must sewing in part by part and joining it on the doll. Then with proper combination of many other media, the costume will looks fantastic. But overall, nothing really difficult if you have passion and once you know the right technique, you will enjoy it very much.
7. Show us a picture of one your favorite pieces you ever made, and tell us why.
My favorite pieces is Magua from the film The Last Of The Mohicans (Picture below) The doll resemble the portrait of Native American actor, Wes Studi, as a villain in the movie. I love this movie, I like the costume design, layout and landscapes, as well as plot and storyline. I created this doll in conjunction with American Revolutionary War which is finally lead to The Declaration of Independence.
The Mohawk Warrior
Magua by Sam
Research for this project takes nearly 1 week.. I must study lot of new things.. from the actor anatomy and facial expression, accessories and costuming to the weaponry such as flintlock rifle, hunting knife, powder horn, etc. The doll are made with Polymer Clay, bags and pouch are made from genuine leather, Flintlock rifle are made with the combination of stainless steel, resin and clay. This project really challenging, exiting and time consuming. It takes nearly 2 weeks to sculpt the doll and another week for its gears. 1 month all it takes for the doll to stand proudly in my shelf.
This doll finally sold to a buyer from California, United States for US$1500 tags during last year independence day in the US.
8. Have you got any exciting projects in 2014 that you can fill us in on?
Currently I in the research of making Greek God and Goddess.. my 1st sculpture will be Hades. I will be sharing the step by step process on the making of Hades on the coming post.
9. Any advice you’d give to new beginner who is just starting in clay making?
My advice to beginner who interested or just started with polymer clay sculpting, never stop trying and never give up. Sculpting with polymer clay supposed to be fun and exciting hobby. Let it be fun..sculpt whatever you want and never force yourself to get 100% accurate sculpture because you might lost the fun when you stressed yourself.
This doll is sold for US$200
Secondly, Polymer clay sculpting such as Art Doll, can be good business too. My 1st doll was sold at US$200 to a Swiss buyer and the latest was a commission works to a buyer from Canada, at US$1800. Most doll can be ready within 2 to 3 weeks, depending on size and style and average I can complete 2 dolls monthly.
Picture 10 and 11 : Momi Granie & Goblin Kutu. Won (Novice) IADR September 2013 show, Twisted Fairy Tales. The doll is about 6″ tall.
Highlights for Sam Aziz
1. In 2013, Sam Aziz joined International Art Doll Registry and he won Twisted Fairy Tales Show 2013 in the Novice Category with sculpture Momi Granie & Goblin Kutu (Picture 10 and 11)
2. Sam won both the award for “Rising Star Award 2013” and “Best Of The Show Award 2013” at International Art Doll Registry USA.
3. He is also the only art doll artist from Asia, or Malaysia that has earn international recognition in International doll community.
To see more of Sam’s work, visit his website here
Tags: Interview, malaysia polymer clay artist, polymer clay malaysia