Interview: Daniele interviews Tim Bruckner

by Daniele "Found" Trovato

Interviews of the Sculptors Legend #1

Daniele Found interviews

Tim Bruckner

Hello everyone :-)
This is Daniele again and today I have the opportunity to share you something unique.
Something about my personal inspiration. 

Particularly people/artists who inspire me, in this case.

Since I started sculpting I always am fascinated by one of the most talented and unique sculptor all over the world : Tim Bruckner.

Tim is one of the best commercial artists on the scene today (he's looking at semi-retiring now).
I had the great privilege to ask him some different questions about his process, about his way of sculpting, about his habits and other things.
He worked for years in the toy and collecting business and has an incredible portfolio of sculptures in his catalog.

In origin I have known him basically through his incredible book, which is probably the only publication with a deep insight into the world of figure sculpting, mold making, and toys making.

Risultati immagini per pop sculpture book
"Pop Sculpture" by Tim Brickner, Zach Oat, Ruben Procopio

Enjoy and Keep Sculpting
Daniele Found

Just a little courtesy intro by  DC:

"Tim Bruckner has worked for DC Direct and DC Collectibles for close to 20 years, working under an exclusive contract with the company for over a decade. During that time he has designed and sculpted dozens of pieces and his amazingly accurate designer-specific sculpts have helped shape the line and build the brand. One of his most gratifying professional experiences was designing and sculpting the incredible DC Dynamics line of statues that were based on the art of J. C. Leyendecker.

Bruckner's earliest memory of sculpting was when he sculpted the heads of the Seven Dwarves out of wax candy tubes at seven years old. He began working professionally at the age of eighteen as a jeweler's apprentice/wax carver and in those two years, he learned the foundation of his art that would sustain him for over the next five decades.

Bruckner has appeared in the Spectrum Fantastic Artbooks (the premier juried annual of the best in fantasy art) fourteen times and has won two Gold Awards in the Dimensional category. Other awards included two Diamond Comic Distributors Statue of the Year awards as well as an award for Product of the Year. In 2009, he was inducted into the Toy Fare Hall of Fame. His most recent work for DC Collectibles has been on the popular designer series of “power couple” statues."

The Interview

Immagine correlata
Beethoven by Tim Bruckner

-Sometimes people say that behind a great man there is a great woman: Are you married? Do you have sons? if yes, what they think about your job?
I’m married to an amazing woman. We’ve been married for thirty eight years. Much of who I am and why I am, is due to her wisdom, advice and guidance. We have two kids, a girl, Anne and a boy, Errol. I think they have liked what I do and appreciate the work I’ve produced. Having a dad who is a professional artist has given them the insight and freedom to be who they want to be.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

1)I'll ask you this question because I found out that many artists are created by a singular and very personal routine:
Tell me something about your daily routine. 
These days, I’m much more relaxed about my schedule and the work I do. I semi-retired last year and so, no deadlines. When I was working, I was up at six, was in the studio by seven. Worked until six or so and then went into the house for dinner and a chance to unwind.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

How many hours do you sculpt per day? 
I used to work ten to twelve hour days. These days, I’m in the studio around eight or eight thirty and work until four or five. Much saner hours.

What time do you wake up? 
We wake up at 6:45. Let our dog out, have coffee, watch the news. Feed him about 7: 25.

Breakfast? Dinner?

Do you listen to some music while you work? If yes, what music? 
When I was under deadline, I listened to music all day long, often to the classical music station on public radio. My faves were Bach as played by E. Power Biggs, Chopin, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and many others.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

Some specific and daily habits? 
I don’t know that I have any specific habits. My day is dictated by what I’m working on and the preparation for it. Doing 3D or 2D or writing, all have their specific needs. If I’m  not sure what I’m doing, much of the day is spent in preparation. These days, the thing that drives me is the challenge. I like starting a work I’m not sure I can accomplish. Finding a way to make it work is what I enjoy most.

2)When you sculpt a new figure, do you always look at anatomy and proportions references, or do you sculpt everything by memory? 
What is a practical exercise to improve the anatomy knowledge for sculpting purposes?
I always use reference. I know anatomy fairly well. But the stress and compression of various muscle groups is vital to a successful piece. An outstretched hand with the palm facing up is different when the palm is facing down. We may not always be aware of the changes, but we know when it’s not right. I want the audience to involve themselves in the composition, what the piece is trying to say, rather than pay attention to the lack of proper musculature and have that be a distraction.

3) Do you have a mentor? If not, who he should be?
My mentors have always been artists I admire, Michelangelo, Cellini, Bernini,  Rubens, N.C. Wyeth, J.C Leyendecker. They were masters of composition. Once you arrive at a place of competent and reliable skill, creating a composition that says what you want it to say is the biggest challenge.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner 

4) Going into technical questions. 
Reading your book, I was very fascinated by your process:
basically, you create a rough sculpture in oil-based clay, then you create a waste mold to cast it in Wax, then you sculpt in wax for detailing and polishing. 
Do you use this process for every size? Why you choose Wax?  
Often I rough out the piece in clay to define composition, attitude and proportion. I will make a waste mold and cast a wax to begin the finish process. I started sculpting in wax when I was seventeen, sculpting jewelry for a Beverly Hills jewelry store. It was the best education I could have received. I read Cellini’s book about process and arrived at my own wax formula. I choose wax because of its ability to give me any finish I want, from very smooth and finished to rough and carved. Large pieces I will finish in clay. A three to twelve inch figure I will got to wax. Sometimes, I may finish part of a large piece in wax. The head, hands costume detail. For me, wax is the most flexible material I could use.

5) Sincerely, do you think that a 3D artist should be considered a real "Sculptor" or better "Digital Artist"?

I’m old school. Very much so. To me, sculpting is defined by manipulating a material with your hands to create the piece you want. Physically working a material tells you things about a sculpture I don’t think you could get from a monitor. It helps you understand tolerance and how do build a piece that can be reproduced.

Risultati immagini per tim bruckner
It also allows you to use light and its various effects to make the sculpture play the way you want it. A sculpture viewed in morning light with look different when viewed by afternoon light. Its character will change when viewed by direct light and be altered by low light. And the material reveals things to you I don’t think possible using digital. I can’t tell you how many times a slip of the hand will push the clay into a shape or placement I would have never considered but turned out to be just what I needed. Using traditional methods also helps you focus the piece. Digital can afford you amazing detail. Sometimes detail is distracting. Using traditional sculptural methods helps the piece arrive at a focus.

6) If you should choose only 2 tools for sculpting which they'd be?
Could you describe why they're so important and how do you use them?
Your hands. All the other stuff  just lets you use your hands to create detail and finish your fingers are just too clumsy to produce. You look at Rodin’s pieces and you can see the strength and virtuosity of an artist’s fingers at work.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

7) As a sculptor, what is the most difficult thing to sculpt in your opinion?
Beauty. It’s easy to sculpt monsters, aliens, fantasy creatures. To sculpt beauty requires a very subtle hand. Beauty and youth, both very challenging.

8) As your experience, if a sculptor should have three basic skills what they would have and why?
The sculptor needs to master a material; clay, wax, plaster, polymer clay.
The sculptor needs to know what it can do and what it can’t and figure out a way for it to look like it can do the impossible.

Risultati immagini per tim brucknerTrain your eyes. You need to be able to see past what’s presented.
A entire sculpture can rely on the smallest gesture.
Human nature helps us read even the smallest gesture.
By being aware of what we see, lets us see how to use it.

Focus and determination.
Sculpture is a lot of work. Not only creating the piece but creating a piece that can be reproduced which means understanding mold making and casting or reproducing the piece. One of the negatives of digital work is the representation of huge amounts of detail and elements are often very thin or of a small tolerance that cannot be physically be reproduced.

9) Today, in the age of 3D Printing and 3D sculpting, in your opinion, is it worth to spend time to learn traditional sculpting for job purposes?
Learning to use your hands to create something substantive will make an illustrator a better illustrator, a digital artist and better digital artists. Understanding how a piece is constructed will inform all the arts and make one more sensitive to its creation.

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10) If your son should decide to be a sculptor, what best suggestion you'd give to him?
Love it. Love the hard work. Love the end product. Believe in yourself. Follow your vision, indulge you imagination. Never give up.

11) Where can we find you, your shop, and contact you?
I used to have a website. It was very heavily designed to use Flash. Flash is no longer in use and so my site died. I’m on Facebook.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner 
-How many figures have you sculpted in your career? :
I have no clue. I recently reviewed my DC work and discovered I created over seven hundred pieces for them. That doesn’t take into consideration my work with ToyBiz, Kenner, Hallmark, The Hamilton group and the various gift, toy and collectible companies I’ve worked with over the years.

-Favorite oil-based clay brand:
Chavant. The best oil based clays around. I use the NSP brown medium. They make a lot of clays to suit a variety of needs. Get a sample pack and play with all of them until you find the  one you like.

-Favorite Wax:
I make my own, it consists of Microcrystalline, bee’s wax, paraffin, injection wax and Crayola brand crayons. You’ll need to play with the proportions until you find a formula that works for you. It will take time and a lot of effort but worth every bit of it.

-Favorite Rubber for silicone mold brand and which shore (hardness of the rubber):
Si, GT 1000. The all-around best. You can push the activator to get a mold to set up more quickly. Always, always use a pressure pot to make your molds. A vacuum chamber is a waste of time. You can use a pressure pot to mold and cast and get nearly perfect results.

-Chopin or Mozart? :
Chopin. I’m kind of a romantic.

-Michelangelo, Bernini or Canova? :
There’d be no Bernini without Michelangelo. There’d be no Canova without Bernini.
Risultati immagini per tim bruckner

-Favorite Film? :
I was thinking about this the other day. I’m a big fan of the old Universal monster movies. I like the Basil Rathbone Holmes movies. The movie that made the biggest impact on me was Fantasia. I saw it when I was a kid. My art teacher took me to an afternoon showing. I had a huge crush on her. Being with her, just the two of us, watching that movie opened up my imagination and made my future as an artist possible.

-Favorite song/composition? :
I am the Walrus. John Lennon.

-Favorite Food? :

-What don't you resist? :
I resist all my dark sides.

Final Thoughts

What to say? I think that Tim's works speak themself.
Tim is one of my favourite artists and I feel inside his creations a deep experience, expression and a truly unique and personal style (especially in faces).

In today's world, with too many 3D sculptures with deep boring details, Tim comes back to the original silhouette of a figure and brings us what one sculpture needs to do essentially: to gift emotions.

Thank you TIM!

Link and resources:
-Tim Bruckner Site
-Tim Bruckner's Book
-Tim's Interview by Fwoosh
-Tim's Interview by AP Sculpture Studio
-Tim's Interview by Action Figure Insider
-Tim's Interview by Statue Forum

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