Originally from South Africa, Steve made a powerful entrance at the New Zealand workshop with his first Gandalf and Strider creations for the Lord of the Rings collection. Working closely with all collectibles at Weta, and as The Hobbit nears its world premiere release, Steve created his new Gandalf the Grey for The Hobbit line.
Legendarium Media connected with Steve in an exclusive interview to talk about his work in sculpt and with Weta Workshop.
Can you tell me about yourself and how you started in sculpting?
I was born in South Africa during the 80s. As a kid I lived very much in my own imaginary world. At a very early age, I decided to one day pursue a job in either film making or toy sculpting–today I do both! I started sculpting creatures and props for film and television in Cape Town without any real sculptural training; I just utilized a demand that existed in the industry at the time.
Do you find it difficult to make your own unique stamp on a character of Tolkien’s given the immense amount of art, including the films, that is devoted to his works?
Initially it is intimidating, but I am a respectful fan and try to trust my own judgment. Peter’s films have set a distinct style, this makes it a lot easier when planning new projects for this world.
If you hadn’t become a sculptor, what do you think you might have been?
Adventuring field paleontologist or rogue philanthropist.
Other than working with Weta, what would be your dream project?
I hope to fulfill most of my ambitions in collaboration with Weta. Would love to do more museum display work.
Out of all the sculptures you’ve created, which is your favorite?
Hobbit: Gandalf The Grey, I poured all of my love for middle earth into this one. Having said that, I hope to still do much more sculptures that are similarly inspired!
What other art mediums do you work in?
I am a sculptor through and through; I occasionally dabble in drawing and painting.
What do you think it is that attracts so many fans to the lore of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth?
It is a fantasy world that is still governed by rules; this makes the stories feel more real and sympathetic.
What artists inspire you?
Lucky for me I am surrounded by them every day!
Is there a particular project/piece you’d like to work on in the future?
There is an immense amount of things I would like to still do, I would be lucky if I get to a fraction of them.
What advice would you give a new artist starting out and what do you think is the most effective way you market yourself and your work?
Be persistent! Do your 10 000 hours, chances are good you will be a master after that. As an aspiring sculptor: for the love of all things good, do not sculpt Frankenstein for your portfolio!
See more of Steve’s work on his Facebook page.
CONTEST TIME! Weta Workshop and Legendarium Media have joined to create this amazing contest! How to win: Make a comment below in the comments section about the artist, his work, or both! Three random winners will be chosen for first, second, and third place prizes. The Prizes from Weta Workshop! FIRST PLACE: Weta continues the legacy of producing finely crafted, highly detailed 1/6 scale collectible polystone statues from Middle-earth. The essence of each character expertly captured in every piece. Thorin Oakenshield was sculpted by Scott Spencer. SECOND PLACE: The Key to Erebor Pendant is a miniature of The Key to Erebor as designed by Concept Art Director John Howe. Made from Sterling Silver that has been oxidised to achieve an aged look, this piece is both a beautiful miniature prop replica and gorgeous piece of jewellery. The Key to Erebor Sterling Silver Pendant comes in a beautiful gift box made from natural Cherry timber.The inside bottom of the box is lined with burgundy velvet and has a pin for the pendant to hang off. THIRD PLACE: Every great adventure needs a treasure map and in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the map was created by Thror, grandfather of Thorin Oakenshield. It contains not only the lay of the land, but also detailed instructions. Some clear as day, some concealed. Designed and drawn by Daniel Reeve of the 3 Foot 7 art department who created the original prop for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Contest Entry Ends: November 24th – ENTER NOW!