Molded to life: Artist Jesse Kennedy creates 3D figures

by CAIT AUER

Mounted on wooden boards no larger than an iPhone, 3D figures come to life in intricately shaded and expertly molded detail. A pouting Edward Scissorhands rests alongside a chiseled, vibrant red Hellboy, whose horns jet overhead while a cigarette dangles from his lips. A morose Captain Planet rests against vintage map wallpaper, long after his retirement, and fails to cram his bulging blue belly into his old superhero suit. Such thoughtful variations on classic characters create an instant conversation starter.

“I like thinking that all of those guys became destitute after awhile,” said artist Jesse Kennedy, whose fascination with stop motion animation sprouted a passion for creating his lifelike figures. “I grew up on Ray Harryhausen movies, watching Medusa and Clash of the Titans. Right about at the time I got to high school, stop motion just stopped, and it’s all [computer graphic] animation now.”

Kennedy’s lifelong dream of being a stop motion animator shifted to creating still art. He began crafting the stunning original and well known character pieces in 2007, setting up shop in the basement of what is now the Make.Shift. Every month, Kennedy’s depictions of characters – ranging from Mario to the Joker – sold out, allowing him to produce hundreds of casts and originals.

“Most of them are the same, basic resin casts. It depends on what you can put on them to look different.”

A wide range of colors, textures, and objects are incorporated into each custom piece, from copper wires to oil lamp knobs.

“They seem to go over very well,” he said. “I could spend the same amount of time on a painting or a drawing, but there isn’t much impact, compared to the 3D quality from the casts.”

Kennedy’s imaginative projects offer an abundance of character profiles for any fan.

“If Tim Burton would’ve made a third Batman movie, Harvey Dent would be played by Billy D. Williams,” he gestures to Two-Face, and then to an angular Dr. Strange piece. “I made [Dr. Strange] the same day that Benedict Cumberbatch was announced to play him. That’s the first thing, world-wide, based on the movie.”

Over time, Kennedy plans to expand his characters and delve into many popular series, including more Batman villains (think Nicholson’s Joker) and Doctor Who personalities. His adorable Baby Groot sculptures achieved great success—a project originally producing 10 items, which grew to 260 by popular demand.

The people who inspire Kennedy and his creative pursuits are purchasing his one-of-a-kind items. “Adam Savage from MythBusters has a Hellboy one in the bathroom – in the back, while he’s doing an interview, it’s framed nicely. Guillermo del Toro has a Hellboy one with magnetic horns,” Kennedy grinned. “It’s super cool to see them show up in weird videos! They’re distinctive enough that I can recognize them in the back. It’s great to see the people that I’m making the things based on are collecting them. It’s a weird cyclical loop at that point.”

 

ON DISPLAY: Please your creative side and spark your imagination by viewing Jesse Kennedy’s works, available for purchase, at The Comics Place on Holly Street. To browse more of Jesse’s work, visit his Etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/Sculptorio.