The Shif lett brothers

Dy­namic duo Fan­tasy sculp­tors Bran­don and Jar­rod Shi­flett talk clay, den­tist tools and ca­nine stu­dio mates

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation News - Bran­don and Jar­rod Shi­flett are comic book sculpt­ing nerds who sculpt nerdy stuff. They live in Texas, with herds of pi­rate dogs, lis­ten­ing to Kate Bush and pon­der­ing their chances of tak­ing over the world, one fan­tasy sculp­ture at a time. You can see mor

Our stu­dio is a big mash-up of prac­ti­cal work space and a col­lec­tion of all the things that in­spire us. It's im­por­tant for us to keep the stat­ues, books and images that you see here around us, to re­mind us why it is we do what we do.

We used to rent stu­dio space, but now work out of our house – so we can just roll out of bed and get sculpt­ing!

The tools of the trade are vi­tal to us and you can see them all around us, in ev­ery di­rec­tion. We use some big elec­tri­cal tools for cut­ting pieces apart or for con­struct­ing bases, but the im­por­tant tools in our arse­nal are the sculpt­ing tools.

We have ball tools, loop tools, old tools given to us by den­tists, and most im­por­tantly for us, a piece called a bur­nisher, with which we do most of our work. A large sup­ply of wa­ter­colour paint­brushes also comes in handy for ap­ply­ing al­co­hol to smooth im­per­fec­tions out of the clay and to ap­ply pe­tro­leum jelly, which al­lows soft, un­baked Su­per Sculpey to ad­here to the hard, baked stuff.

And of course, not all the cool stat­ues in and around our stu­dio are our work! We proudly dis­play the work of he­roes and friends of ours, in­clud­ing Ja­panese master Takayuki Takeya, Paul Ko­moda, Hol­ly­wood sculpt­ing icon Jordu Schell, Bryan Wy­nia, Si­mon “Spi­derzero” Lee, Miss­mon­ster, Yuji Oniki, Greek sculpt­ing freak Aris Kolokontes, and oth­ers. We keep all the fan­tasy and sci-fi and clas­si­cal art books we’ve ever col­lected in our stu­dio and will turn to th­ese for ref­er­ence at a mo­ment's no­tice. Study­ing Rodin late at night al­ways helps!

We also col­lect port­fo­lios and sketch­books of two-di­men­sional artists (yes, 2D artists are artists, too!) that we look up to, eas­ily within reach. This group in­cludes Claire Wendling, Travis Charest, Si­mon Bis­ley, Frank Frazetta and Moe­bius. If you’re hav­ing a bad night, and you pull down a Moe­bius book… ta-dah! In­stant in­spi­ra­tion.

Lastly, we have our stu­dio mates (not pic­tured), all of the ca­nine va­ri­ety: Lit­tle Red, Scar, Hoss, Zoe, Max and Wat­son. They are only in­ter­ested in clay if they think it’s food and we like hav­ing them around be­cause they are never, ever crit­i­cal of our work.

Dif­fer­ent artists use dif­fer­ing kinds of clay – what­ever works best for you. For us, that prod­uct is Su­per Sculpey Firm. It’s a poly­mer clay that bakes at a pretty low tem­per­a­ture. You bake it, let it cool down, then con­tinue to work on it. We love the stuff.

Si­mon “Spi­derzero” Lee (Pa­cific Rim, Edge of To­mor­row) sculpted this bust of one of our char­ac­ters. Si­mon is an old friend of ours and one of the most tal­ented sculp­tors the in­dus­try has ever seen. A print of the work of the French sculpt­ing witch Vir­ginie Ropars. We are to­tal fan­boys and we hang around her booth at cons. She signed some prints to us, writ­ing very sweet things in the mar­gins, prob­a­bly to en­sure we would go away.

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