James Shoop has been a professional sculptor since 1983. First apprenticing with his father at his family's foundry, Shoop's American Bronze Casting, he worked in all areas of production: sculpting originals, molding, casting and finishing.
In 1993, James moved to New York City to study classical sculpture at he National Academy of Design, The Art Students League and the New York Academy of Art. Studying with different teachers advanced his technical skills and his understanding of form, anatomy, technique, composition and movement. While studying in New York, he began sculpting commercially, creating hundreds of sculptures for the gift, toy and collectible industries.
Despite advances in technology such as 3D printing, James has chosen to honor traditional methods by continuing to sculpt using his hands. There is a dynamic relationship that develops between the sculptor and the sculpture that can only occur in real time. Through the interactive movement and placement of clay with the sculptor's hands, a physical connection forms between the creator and the creation.
James is an experienced teacher, and he continues his award-winning commercial and fine-art sculpting in his private studio.
What is the most exciting thing you have learned recently?
Recently I've competed for an over life-sized bust of Davy Crockett: worked on the Power Point presentation, set the budget and time-line for the project and researched David Crockett's life. It's not just the sculpting of your subject but the research of that subject can be just as interesting.
(The Joker - wax, and cast)
How do you battle through rough patches? What drives you forward?
If I get stuck on a sculpture, it is important to take a break from it. If you can't, setting or having a deadline is usually helpful for me.
(Wax - carved, molded and cast)
What do you wish you knew earlier in your career?
Anatomy! This would have saved me lots of time and second guessing!
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
To not take it all so seriously. Art that is. Have fun with your work, and you will be more creative.
At this stage in your career, what is your dream project?
Conceiving and creating an impactful large scale sculpture.
What do you think of the digital output revolution?
I've been a sculptor for more than thirty years and to see the digital modeling and out-putting trend take off so quickly is amazing. So many people are doing only digital sculpting that I don't think it will be a unique thing soon. However the traditional techniques of sculpting, mold making and casting and hand-finished sculpture will be appreciated more.
What's one thing your students will take away from your workshop?
The students in my workshop will leave with tools and techniques that can be applied toward a wide range of art disciplines - from illustration, character design, jewelry, etc...
James' workshop, Wax Sculpting, Mold & Resin Casting, is May 20-22. Read more about it, or register for it here.