You can’t watch the time-lapse video of the making of Noel Gallaher of Oasis without being amazed. We had to find out more about the illustrator and how it’s done. Liz Lomax, a Dumbo-based 3D illustrator was more than gracious to share her thoughts about Noel the sculpture, her current projects, and how her art medium evolved. Liz is widely recognized as one of the leading figures in her field. Her unique process involves designing and sculpting characters in their environments and then digitally photographing them for illustration.
Her work has been published in Communication Arts, American Illustration, Society of Illustrators Annuals, Step-by-Step and several books on Illustration such as Lurzer’s ARCHIVE 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide and Taschen’s Illustration Now. Liz was the first Chair of the Society of Illustrators Biennial Dimensional Salon. She planned and pioneered the Society’s first three-dimensional, media-specific exhibition. She has taught at Parsons and Pratt, and lectured at the Society of Illustrators, SVA, Syracuse University, Loughborough University School of Art & Design UK, MTV and Golf Digest. Liz’s work has been used for advertising campaigns, record covers, billboards, magazine ads, magazine covers, packaging and gift guides.
Your making of Noel Gallagher time-lapse video is really jaw dropping. How long did it take to create the sculpture and why Noel of Oasis?
Music is a huge part of my life. I wake up and put it on and it keeps me moving all day. My favourite musicians are British which might have something to do with my strong ties to England: my Mum is English, I have duel citizenship, I’ve spent a lot of time there and am married to a Brit. There’s something so intense about that tiny little country which has spawned some of the best musicians of all time. Oasis is one of them in my opinion. They put out an album called ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ towards the end of last summer. I caught the bug to sculpt them whilst listening to it. For anyone unfamiliar with Oasis they are made up of five musicians, two of them brothers: Noel and Liam Gallagher.
The Gallagher brothers are both striking to look at but Noel stands out as the most unique to me with his enormous eyebrows and intense stare. In one of the last days of August I sat down to sculpt them both, starting with Noel.
My husband, a personal trainer who works at Fitness Guru and trains his own clients here at 1 Main as well as other buildings in the neighbourhood, had the idea of filming the ‘making of’ Noel Gallagher in time-lapse so I could show people my process. He set up the camera and away I went sculpting Noel whilst listening to the new Oasis album.
I worked for about 6 hours but had to stop as the light had changed too much. I wrapped Noel in saran wrap to protect him from dust and there he sat on the shelf waiting to be finished. A paying job came in so Noel waited some more. Then we flew to Toronto to see Oasis play at the V-Festival, which was the night Noel was attacked on stage. It was months before I could make the time to finish him. If I had to try to add up the total amount of hours from start to finish I would say it was about 20. I never finished Liam because he was so much harder to capture. He is still waiting on the kitchen shelf.
Your studio is located in Dumbo Brooklyn. How long have you been in Dumbo and what do you like/dislike about the neighborhood?
I was born in Manhattan, grew up in Chappaqua then moved to Park Slope in 2000 where I lived for 4 years. After wanting to be closer to the city but still in Brooklyn, I discovered DUMBO and wondered why I hadn’t known about it sooner! I love this neighbourhood… who wouldn’t? It’s moments away from the city but not in it, it’s got the best views, cobblestone streets, character, a mix of old and new, unique businesses, an art scene and really friendly people! I can’t think of anything I dislike, but I do wish there were an art supply store.
(Click on the jump to read more and see Liz’s Steve Buscemi sculpture.)
It seems that your 3D illustration work is in high demand, seeing that your work has been featured in many national publications and books. How do you choose your projects? What plans do you have for the future? There seems to be potential in many areas including video game characters, toy character designs, and others.
My projects choose me. An Art Director will call me when they have an assignment that they think would work well in my style. I have repeat clients that will use me regularly. A lot of the work I create is for print- either to appear along side an article like in the Wall Street Journal or for an ad campaign like MasterCard (see above image).
As far as plans for the future, I’d love to try my hand at stop-motion/claymation someday. I’ve written and sketched out a children’s book, which I hope to find a publisher for, and I definitely am going to do another ‘making of’ time-lapse video… but who should I do next?!
How did you come to your own as a sculpture artist?
I always knew I was going to be an artist and when I was little I loved building dioramas. I used to “rescue” caterpillars from the back garden, build homes for them out of shoeboxes and decorate them with dollhouse furniture and accessories. I was very involved with the details but tended to overlook the big picture (I didn’t give them food or water so they always died but they had a pretty environment!)
In 1997 I was nearing the end of my junior year at Parsons School of Design, NYC when I got an assignment in one of my classes. The brief was “Tooth Fairy” and that was all we were told. Straight away an idea popped into my head… “What would the inside of the Tooth Fairy’s house look like?”
Up to this point I had always solved my school assignments by drawing or painting. But I felt like this called for more than rendering an image on a flat surface to explain the interior of the Tooth Fairy’s house. So I decided to build it, to actually construct it somehow and to make the Tooth Fairy sitting inside the house surrounded by all the teeth she had collected.
I had never done anything like this before and had no training in sculpture. When I got home from school I searched my supply box for materials and pulled out some Sculpey. To this day I have no idea how it got there but am so glad it did! I began sculpting a little Tooth Fairy character. I rolled up some Sculpey to form a body and head, arms and legs. I cut up an old shimmery Barbie dress (I had always saved lots of random materials) and some lace for her wings. I built her room out of foam core and painted a tooth pattern on the walls for wallpaper. I sculpted little teeth and placed some in her arms and scattered them around the floor. I sculpted a chair and bed, a lamp and some other little detai
ls. I had so much fun working on that piece I didn’t even notice the sun rising. I finished just in time and off I went with my tooth fairy sculpture to school for the critique. The feedback was great and I was encouraged to keep going in this medium… and I haven’t stopped yet!
(Liz’s sculpture of Brooklyn’s own actor Steve Buscemi)