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Project ‘Dancing Horse’

Most of my bronze projects are developed over 10-12 months in ‘secret’, for the big impact of an unveiling. Sometimes even under an NDA which is why at time of writing (April ’20) in the midst of global lockdowns and months of cancelled events, that no-one has seen my two most recent statues! So I thought I should show one in reverse from concept to realisation, target date October ’20.

With my ethos of modelling on real life for the ultimate in detail and dynamic, and my long held belief that there is no such thing as a crazy idea getting an actual rearing horse in the studio was the obvious thing to do.

And true to my other long held belief that no man can achieve anything alone, massive thanks to Stampede Stunt Animals who spent a month training the amazing Lumi to rear on the spot, in ever tighter confinements. And to Steve Russell studios for a similar period working to triple the size of the 3D capture rig to accommodate him.

The final 3D model from which bronzes will be cast

Stampede came to see us in the studio outside Stroud, mob handed. A parrot and wolf along for a ride even! Lumi was completely unruffled by the cameras, the enclosed space, even the roller shutter door closing behind him and some artist spray painting on him – zero issues. He clipped just one camera during the whole day.

Ok, there was one issue. Do you know what happens when a stallion see’s his own reflection in windows and gets all excited? Yeah, that. Some of the 3D captures are, impressive. A few periods walking around the car park were needed for him to ‘calm down'.

And the spray painted logo wasn’t some artistic diva moment (honest) but to give the 3D software the best chance of knitting together hundreds of photo’s of a plain white horse. It was going to be random shapes painted, before we remembered there was a large feed printer upstairs so it only took 5 minutes to create a stencil. The Stampede handlers knew he’d be fine with being aerosol’d – he’s been entirely painted silver for a shoot before.

The justification of the huge effort to capture Lumi in 3D, was immediate. The quality of the raw data before any refining tweaks was still a surprise. For such an ambitious concept we were expecting a lot more work to do in 3D. From the 30 or so viable models captured there were 4 or 5 which would do the job, where he had one hind hoof off the ground. Combining the best bits of them including one with Lumi on the way down so his mane was flying up.

Above is the finalised 3D model.

You all know what I’m working to imply – but my primary focus is for unprecedented real life detail and dynamic. Not a static cartoon horse, which a literal translation would result in.

The first resultant bronze statue from this will be ready towards the end of 2020 and will be 3 maybe 4 sizes, it seems that I do indeed have a collector crazy enough for a life-size! And the structural engineers reckon it will work, even taking into account strong winds as we have to for an outside structure.

My first focus is for a 3 ft version, and a 5ft 4″ (which works out at 60% – so F1 wind tunnel size) perfect for car show rooms and garages.

Keep checking back here for progress of this project – or sign up to my newsletter and it’ll land in your inbox when I have the next big steps to show.

Footage of the initial project stages

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