MV Interview: Pierre-Jean Chabert, Sculptor

by Massive Voodoo




Now that is a huge hippo or a small guy, eh? 
We of Massive Voodoo think this is amazing and since we know the sculptor in person we bring you a really cool interview with this talented guy, Pierre-Jean Chabert.

The interview was done by Roman.
We hope you enjoy the read!

You will find it linked up in the MV Interview section, here.

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MV Interview with Pierre-Jean Chabert

Pierre-Jean, now it is time to sit down with a coffee and some piano music to ask you some questions. I am happy that you accepted to be interviewed by Massive Voodoo. You are a very kind guy and I am looking forward to hear some answers from you. We both did meet up in Brussels on the great event that is called the Painting Crusade in 2013 and had a funny and way too short conversation.

Since then we are 'facebook friends' and I am always awe-inspired when I see your sculpting work there. That is the main reason why I wanted to do that interview with you! I think your work can inspire so many others. Thank you for providing the photos of your work for this article.
Now let's talk.

Roman:
So, let us know a little about you, please? Who are you, where do you live? How did you become a sculptor?

Pierre-Jean:
Ok then, my name is Pierre-Jean CHABERT, just moved 9 months ago near the city of Tours in France after 15 years in Paris. I needed fresh air and Nature around. And now that’s perfect.

Well, for the work, I was for 10 years an actor trying to live decently, but that was an insecure job, so I had the opportunity to work 6 years in a financial business, not my passion, not very creative for me but I learned a lot and it helps me now to sell my work.

During that period, I made 2 stopmotions films with friends and I discovered polymer clay and the world of the minis. And since 2006, I tried to sculpt miniatures, I learned on internet and I met others sculptors and painters. To progress and get better skills, I did, after work, a day in the week, 3 hours clay with life model for 3 years. And then I quit finance in 2010 for the dark side (or maybe the opposite…): creativity and freedom.

Roman:
Is sculpting your daily work? Are you doing it fulltime? Where do you work? Do you own a workshop?

Pierre-Jean:
Yes, I am very lucky, I do sculpt for living since 2010, 5 days a week and before meeting my wife that was 7 days a week, as many other artists do. But that’s good to have a break and coming back with fresh eyes and mind. 

When I was in Paris I had a 16 m² workshop, a good space to start. Now since we moved near Tours, I have 100 m² in an old factory of 10 000m² with about 100 artists inside. That’s great not to be alone, (you know what I mean), sharing a coffee, an advice, some help or discussions, fiestas, …



Roman: 
Which Scales are you sculpting in and what are your main subjects?

Pierre-Jean:
I don’t work in scales as we do in miniature, but in sizes. Mostly between 15 cm and 60 cm, depends if it’s a bust, head, or full body. ½, 1/3 , 1/4 but I begin recently to work bigger, this is an obvious evolution. It’s been a month, I am doing an hippo head 130 cm long about scale 1. A first one for me but, but that very exciting (see top above).

I mostly work on animals, lot of head, some human portraits, sometimes full body. In miniature sculpting, as holidays hobby, I like fantasy and science fiction.

Roman:
Which sculpting clays and putties do you prefer for your work?


Pierre-Jean:
Water based clay. I love it. You can work very fast and change things when ever you want. This is from the ground of our planet, but that’s not petrol, it’s recyclable and not pollutant, a quite clean material. 
After you can mold it, and cook it, between 980 and 1300°C to get a good firmness. The only inconvenient is that you have to control humidity with water spray and plastic bags. 
And it’s a bit cold for my fingers on the morning. I can use a kilo or two or more than 250 kilos for the hippo‘s head. 

When I do miniatures which is not very often, I use sculpey firm (gray) and super sculpey (pink) mixed together, and magic sculp or milliput for accessories or fine work.
 

 

Roman:
How do you start a project? How do you plan it, where do you start from? Where do you find your inspiration?

Pierre-Jean:
Most of the time, I begin a sculpture in my head, but I don’t draw, my drawing is not good enough. I don’t write anything on it, i try to stay free and i keep it, i turn around in mind. It’s a free selection, when an idea is coming regularly, I try to do it. Some others fall and lose themselves in the dark, and sometimes return to the surface a year later as “Dos argenté” did. (cf photo Gorille sur son poing)

When I feel ready, and I have the pose and the history defined, I select pictures on internet. I don’t trust anymore my brain at this point, cause we are interpreting , and to avoid that I need references. Strong visuals, I print them and stick them to the wall. Ideas come from books, internet, video, …and most of the time because I want to do an animal in particular. For that, I work on maquettes in clay, some small work, to apprehend forms and dynamics of the subject and after I can begin the bigger sculpture.



 Gorille sur son poing

Roman: 
Which is your favourite sculpt of yours so far and why?

Pierre-Jean:
Mmmh difficult to say …I like all of them, with their qualifications and defects, but maybe Rhino, cause this is one of my emblematic work. A turning moment for me.

He seems to be light for a rhinoceros, aerial, but strong and I found a style working on this one. Exposed at the Grand Palais Paris 2013 and received the bronze medal, and the same year, the first place at the Biennale de Rambouillet. So I was really honored and happy for that.



 Rhinocéros

Roman:
We won’t talk about rituals for work in here as deep as we did in Brussels, but I got one question: Do you sculpt in Silence or is music a strong inspiration when you sculpt. If so which music do you listen to while creating your magnificant and powerful creations?

Pierre-Jean:
I have very good souvenirs of our meeting in Brussels, and this famous discussion about the physical and mind freedom before creation. I ‘d like to meet you again for longer talk on other subjects. 

I always listen to something. Soundtracks, classical, pop, rock, electro or quiet music… to start a sculpture, to work the form, the full and the empty, profiles, the dynamics, graphics and textures. Sometimes radio, when I do something precise or redundant. 

Roman: 
What happens when you are done with your sculpts? I saw some are casted in bronze for example. Do you do exhibitions? Do you sell them?

Pierre-Jean:
I believe that the artists have to do exhibitions, this is a very important part of the job. Exit the cave, be on the stage and show the work.
Waiting for words, good or bad. Whishing red selling points will be posed. So I do personal exhibitions each year or year and half (most in France and Switzerland) and several collective ones. 

I don’t think you can work very well with an empty stomach. Let’s be realistic. We have to live, to eat, to earn money to produce. To earn money to be free in creation. But that’s my point of view. So when the sculpture is finished, I mold it or make it mold and bring it to the foundry I work with, to cast it in bronze. The bronze is a material of trust for my clients and the advantage is that you can duplicate your sculptures even if the cost is important.

Roman: 
Are you satisfied with your own creations when they are done? Do you seek perfection in every one of your sculpts or do you still know areas where you could have done better or go further? Do you look more on the overall look of a piece or do you try to sculpt everything you do lifelike from A to Z?

Pierre-Jean:
I always try to go far in the work. I can’t sell a sculpture that I am not proud of. When I have a doubt on something that means there is a problem in the overall harmony. We have to trust us and listen our thoughts. When a detail attract to much attention, I have to correct it for a better reading of the entire sculpture. When I judge the forms and the attitude are good, I try to find liberty in the textures. If not, I destroy the sculpture and begin again.
But as you know, we always find defects on old works. 




Roman:
Are you in any form connected to the world of Miniature Painting? Do you paint Miniatures yourself?

Pierre-Jean:
I don’t paint, I would love to but we can’t do everything. I stay focus and I have more time for sculpture. But I do patina on clay which is not the same way than the miniature painting. I really like your work Roman and I always follow the European painters. 

Roman: 
Are traditional sculpts – like the ones you do – in your opinion connected to the miniature scene? For example I am sure that many of our readers find inspiration in your work, but do you look on miniatures to find inspiration?

Pierre-Jean:
All Arts are connected I guess. Difference maybe in miniature, everything is precise, it helped me a lot for bigger sculpture. You have to know the technique to be free. The freedom is the most difficult I think, you have to detach yourself from what you learned before.
But the bridge between miniature and traditional sculptures is thin in my opinion. It takes the space and light differently cause of the size.
Feelings are different but they both give lot of emotion. Miniature seems to be very structured and the traditional one could be quite rough. A different vibration.
I don’t look for miniatures or bigger sculptures. I try not to. Even if I love that. I follow on social networks and different events. But if i see a lot of creation, it’s frustrating me. I try not to be too much influenced even if we are already. Cause after I say to myself, everything as be done and I am desperate. It’s again the question of the freedom i guess. 

Roman:  
Well, for many people it is obvious that what you do is Art. What do you think about Miniature Painting and – sculpting as an Art Form?

Pierre-Jean:
Miniature painting is definitely Art. As sculpting miniature is. This is so crazy what you can do with some hairs… and colors of course. Hopefully you are not painting with your head and hair ;) sorry… to easy Roman. It’s amazing all these different universe and interpretation you are creating in the miniature world. 


Roman:
Coffee or Tea?

Pierre-Jean: 
Coffee at work but not a lot and sometimes tea at home with a book and a good fire in the chimney.

Roman: 
Wine or Beer? Do you drink a glass when you work or only when you celebrate to have something finished?

Pierre-Jean: 
Love wine, red one essentially, but I never drink at work. Lot of artists had a bad way of Life cause of alcohol. After work ,sometimes a beer at the workshop with the others artists is pretty pleasant but I am sure you know what I mean …  




  
Roman: 
What is your favourite movie of all time and why?

Pierre-Jean:
So many hard questions… Maybe “Bernie” a french film by Albert Dupontel. “The nightmare before Christmas” by Tim Burton.“The Fifth element” and “Leon” by Luc Besson. But there are so many… And a french crazy fantasy book by Alain Damasio: “La Horde du Contrevent”

Roman: 
Massive Voodoo? As we spoke in Brussels – how did you get to know it?

Pierre-Jean: 
Well, I didn’t know Massive Voodoo before Brussels and the Painting crusade. That’s what i love in these miniature events, meeting people and other artists from everywhere. And I like to congratulate you, cause the Voodoo team is a tough group with amazing skills.

Roman:
What is your best tip you would give to a beginner in sculpting?

Pierre-Jean:
Practice and practice again, trust you (but not too much), and enjoy !!!


Thank you for your time, Pierre-Jean!
Thanks a lot for your confidence, the coffee and this interview Master Monk. 

Review Preview: MV's Jar's Beginners Class in Blumberg-Achdorf, Germany

by Massive Voodoo




The full review will soon be launched on your favourite jungle channel!

Theory Thursday #4 - Rays and Reflection

by Massive Voodoo


Welcome everyone to the fourth Theory Thursday!

If you are not interested in understanding how the world works, especially light and shadow, color and harmony, you should better skip reading this post and future Theory Thursday editions.
Opposed to the very direct and practical tutorials you will usually find here, these series of posts will go in depth to answer questions that many painters didn't even ask themselfes.

Be reminded that these posts are written by Raffa alone and reflect his understanding of the topics.
He is not always right and if you found an error or you want to discuss, use the comment section!


This week the topic will be:
Rays and Reflection

In this weeks edition we will go a bit deeper in the way light works.
As I already wrote in the first edition of Theory Thursday, light is an electromagnetic wave.

Without going too much into depth how this works in a physical way we need to understand 'light sources' of all kind emit these waves.

If you imagine a flashlight, it's basically a electromagnetic wave shotgun (sounds friggin' awesome) sending out light rays in a forward direction. Or a lightbulb sending out light rays all around it.
Light rays travel straight forward (most of the time... a black hole can bend light rays, that's why it is black :-) at the speed of light ( ehrm... yes, thanks captn obvious!).
In a vacuum it doesn't lose energie and continues to travel until it hits any kind of matter.
That's why we can see stars in the night sky, even though they are so far away and the light takes years to travel from them to earth so we can see it.

So when a light ray basically travels until it hits something.

This something can be any kind of matter, even air influences light rays in a certain way.
If it hits solid matter or an angry silverback gorilla that hates light rays it comes to a stop.
The energy transported by this wave gets absorbed by the object (that's why the sun gives warmth)

But what if the object is not a gorilla or the light ray doesn't get completely absorbed?
The same that happens with every object that hits something and isn't destroyed.

It will be reflected!

A good example is a laser pointer and a mirror.
A mirror is not absorbing a lot of the light the laser pointer is producing, the laser point will be reflected back (don't look into the laser pointer if you try this out ;-)
The opposite is true for black, rough materials.
Black is absorbing a lot of the visible spectrum and so almost nothing is reflected back (that's why we perceive black as black... it's basically just very little light getting into our eyes)

That's why black cars are much hotter inside in summer than white cars. They absorb a lot of energy and act like an energy sponge. In this case the energy will be converted to heat.

So, why then are some materials so different, even when they have the same color?
Maybe you already read the word. Roughness.

How a light ray is reflected also depends on the surface of the object.
When a light ray hits a surface it is reflected back in the same angle of incidence.
Watch out, this 'simple' way of explaining it basically only works for solid, non conductive materials (not metals and not transparent or transluscent).
We will go more into detail on this topic in a later isse of Theory Thursday ;)

Ok, so if the surface is perfectly smooth, the ray will be reflected back in the same angle it hit the surface (measured perpendicular to the surface).

Look at the above illustration and you will quickly understand what is the difference between smooth and rough materials. Rough materials scatter the light and create a much softer reflection.
 
Here you can see two spheres, one is more a wool like material, the other one is polished.
A sharp reflection creates a shark highlight.

Hopefully this article explained the basics about reflected light rays.
What can you do with this knowledge?
Understanding materials and try to paint them on miniatures :)
Effects like non metallic metal are waiting for you ;)

I think at this point I will stop with this weeks Theory Thursday and go on with reflections and bouncing light rays next week!

Musica

by Massive Voodoo

Zeta, the Barbarian booty

by Roman aka jar

Hey Jungle Painters,

well, I finished another piece from Hasslefree in 28 mm.

Her name is Zeta and I want to thank Kevin James White for sculpting that booty that made so much fun painting. I hope you like her too.

Zeta
Hasslefree, 28 mm






You can also find her on Putty&Paint.
I only have one WIP photo of her, done with my mobile cam:


Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes
Roman

BANANALICIOUS Prize Pool Update!

by Massive Voodoo

 
Ey Yo Jungle Painters,

Go and paint and get your entries in to our BANANALICIOUS PAINTING CONTEST - Episode 2.

The Contest is still running until the middle of April,  
the contest ends ends April 22th 2015. 

Here is an overview of the entries so far: 24 overall ...

Fantasy Standard: 3
Fantasy Master: 8
Historical Standard: 1 
Historical Master: 1
Diorama: 4
Sculpting: 3
Army Painting: 2
Special: Base: 2

So far we have so many Prizes via our Random Prize Pool that will be handed out via lottery to every participant that we definatly need YOU to take part in at least one category! Get it on, c'mon? We know you are painting something, drop it in! Don't be lazy or shy! 



We have some more prize candy for you to win:

Best Project in the Contest
The one who enters the miniature/diorama/base/bust/sculpt/single piece/etc. which impresses us the most will recieve a very unique Massive Voodoo Brush Box.

 
The Random Prize Pool fills some more, thanks to our Sponsors!

Random Prize #40
A cool chopped off Dragon head and three different 54 mm Figures by our friends from NorthStarModels.


Random Prize #41
Four fine brushes and brush soap to keep them clean and alive for a long time - brought to you by Broken Toad.

Many thanks to the BANANALICIOUS SPONSORS:


























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and:


... to be continued!