One evening in June, just before bed I got an email from Kim Malone at The Dollery. It was so exciting that sleep was then definitely out of the picture! She asked me if I was interested in sculpting portrait heads of all four band members of the Kings Of Leon, the answer of course was YES!
Of course once the initial excitement wore off what was left was panic! I had less than a month to produce four portrait heads and I am definitely not known for my speed! When you have to do something though its amazing how you can find the ability and strength. I started from day one to mark each day off on the calendar to make sure that I finished in time as there are no extended deadlines when you are working towards an album release! I worked every day, all day and just made it, afterwards I slept for about 4 days!
I started by looking for photographs of each band member on the Internet. I was not lucky enough to work from life or photographs taken for the project as the band are very busy. The heads were built around a brass tube which runs from the top of the head to just under the chin. This made it possible to attach them to wooden dowels under the milk for the photoshoot.
I use a mix of Cernit and Fimo polymer clay, it creates relatively firm clay which is good for sculpting details on portrait work. Each head took 4 days to sculpt and another day to paint, extra days were also needed to make eyes and a skull armature for each head. I also needed to take photographs and film clips as I worked so that they could use them to make a short film about the making of the album cover. If you would like to see this it is on the Kings Of Leon face book page. Sometimes I almost forgot to take the photographs, I would get so into sculpting and suddenly realise it had been ages since I took a photo or film clip! I started leaving myself a note on my desk so that I saw it every time I looked up from my magnifier!
I made many pairs of blue eyes in order to find just 4 pairs that matched perfectly. I had to add eyelashes and make sure they would survive being splashed with water and milk. The paint I use is set with heat and is waterproof so that was thankfully not a problem. I didn't need to give them hair because only their faces would protrude from the milk for the photograph.
This was definitely the most challenging project of my career so far and also the one that taught me the most. It didn't always feel it at the time but its was a really wonderful experience which I was extremely lucky to have been a part of!