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The History of the Maquette

Title: The History of the Maquette
Sponsored by The Creative Talent Network
CTNX09: Filmed Nov 2009; Posted April 2010
Length 45 min

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Join Kent Melton,  Ruben Procopio and other maquette sculptors in a relaxed and informal setting while they discuss the history of the maquette.  This discussion will include historical information about the early Disney animation model sculptures and the pioneering artists that created them. These sculptors will relate their own “personal” sculpting experiences of carrying on this continually evolving Disney tradition as well as share their experiences creating maquettes for many other animation studios. This discussion is intended to be informative, but not too clinical. Both Kent Melton  and Ruben Procopio have experience speaking to large convention audiences separately and I’m sure that together this 45 minute discussion will be a lot of fun for everyone.

Panelist Kent Melton:

Kent Melton has spent the past 25 years working in animation.  He was the first staff sculptor employed by Hanna Barbera.  He then worked as an art director at Universal Studios before embarking on a full-time career as a sculptor for feature films.  Melton has sculpted countless maquettes for Disney, Warner Bros., Don Bluth, Dreamworks, MGM, Pixar and Laika Entertainment.

Kent’s maquettes have recently been featured at the New York Museum of Contemporary Art and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.  He is currently working on a one man show of both sculpture and oil paintings. Mr. Melton has made countless maquette sculptures, entrusted by the animators in bringing their two-dimensional drawings into a three-dimensional world.

Panelist Damon Bard:

For close to 20 years, Damon Bard has been working as a freelance artist in the entertainment industry primarily as a sculptor and designer of characters and creatures. Since then, he has contributed to nearly 30 films and other various projects during his career.

At an early age, (about 6-7 years old) Damon discovered window putty, (that stuff that holds the glass in a window frame) with the help of his sister who showed him how to make “putty ducks”. His mother would paint pictures on the glass windows during the holidays while his father had a knack for carving wood figures. He was immediately fascinated with the shapeable substance and displayed a natural talent for making sculptures out of not only “window putty” but assorted other mediums that inspired him to make forms from the fantastic to the familiar. These were some of his first exposures to the world of art. Other early inspirations were movies and fine art that fed the imagination and development of the young emerging artist.

Damon has been working along side some of the most talented, acclaimed, and awarded artists and directors in the industry and on some of the most successful films ever made; Kung Fu Panda, Ratatouille, Shrek 3, Shrek 2, Star Wars: Episode 3, Over The Hedge, Madagascar, and Madagascar II, to name a few. He is currently developing characters for several projects, one he recently finished is Henry Selick’s “Coraline”. Damon also works on his bronze figurative sculpture and oil paintings between and during projects as time allows.

Bard Sculpture Studio is committed to creating and furthering the excellence of the art of character design in the Animation and Visual Effects Industry by continuing to use traditional and modern sculpture techniques and design methods to bring the most memorable characters and creatures to life for audiences around the world to love and enjoy.

Panelist Doug Hild: (bio coming soon) … Online Link Info.

blau_thumbPanelist Bruce Lau: Bruce Lau’s career in sculpting can be traced back to High school, where he took a ceramics class.  He never entertained the possibility that he would one day make his living out of a hobby that he enjoyed so much.

Mr. Lau studied broadcast communications at the University of Hawaii, continuing his art classes wherever he could fit them in. He felt he received the greatest inspiration from the  life drawing studios. He next began working at Landmark Entertainment, where he sculpted toys and theme park attraction merchandise.  Not much later, a friend introduced him to Willie Ito, a character artist for the Walt Disney Company. He agreed to review Mr. Lau’s portfolio, and shortly thereafter he had his foot in the door, working as a freelance artist with Disney in 1990.

Mr. Lau found that the scale of the Walt Disney Classics Collection Sculptures were the perfect match for his skill. Since the collection began in 1992, he has created numerous pieces. His favorite is Donald on Drums from Symphony Hour, a whimsical and equally spectacular sculpture that highlights Donald’s most renowned traits: temper and tunnel-visioned focus. This sculpture captures the intense emotion of Donald Duck, in a way that has only previously been captured on film. Mr. Lau is also responsible for the charter member sculpture: “Steamboat Willie”. One of his most challenging WDCC sculptures was that of the Firebird from Fantasia 2000, recreating an incredible reproduction of melting lava.

In addition to creating sculptures for the Walt Disney Classics Collection, Mr. Lau has created Disney characters for the Lenox Classics line of Disney sculptures, as well as creating animation maquettes for Disney Feature Animation. He is responsible for most of the animation maquette sculptures for the feature animated film Fantasia 2000.  Mr. Lau has also done many bronze sculptures in association with many Disney Legends for White Horse Studio.

Panelist Ruben Procopio:

Rubén Procopio has been in the animation industry for over 25 yrs., with scholarships to both Cal Arts and Art Center College of Design. He later trained under Eric Larson, one of Disneys legendary nine old men. A chip off the old block he also was trained by his dad Adolfo Procopio, a 35 yr. veteran sculptor at Walt Disney Imagineering. Rubén was instrumental in bringing back the maquette process to feature animated films in the early ’80’s. Having a wide variety of skills from 2d to the 3d world and as an Artistic Supervisor as well as head of departments he has now opened up his own studio appropriately called for his admiration of the masked heros of yesteryear, Masked Avenger Studios, where father and son have joined forces with a combination of over 50 yrs. of experience to make their talents available to the motion picture, animation, toy and collectibles community.

Panelist Leo Rijn: (bio coming soon)…Online Link Info.

Panelist Michael DeFeo: (bio coming soon)

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