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What is a Sculptor?

Also known as: Stone Sculptor, Metal Sculptor, Wood Sculptor, Ice Sculptor.

A sculptor is a highly creative fine artist who develops ideas for sculptures or statues, and makes them come to life in three-dimensional form by joining or molding materials together. Sculptors typically work with hard materials like stone, marble, glass, metal, wood or ice. They can also use clay, plaster, gold, wire, plastic, rubber, fabric or even paper. 

This art form is found all over the world and some sculptures and statues date all the way back to 10,000 BC. Modern sculptors can be hired to create a sculpture for a park, or a lobby of an office building. A museum may hire a sculptor to create a special piece for a collection or an exhibition. Private collectors will often commission work and ask for a particular piece.

What does a Sculptor do?

A sculptor creates three-dimensional sculptures or statues for display. Sculptors sometimes make a maquette first, which is a small scale model or a rough draft of the sculpture. The maquette is used to test shapes and ideas and to also visualize without much cost and effort. 

A sculpture can be made with many materials, though they are most often made with materials like marble, metal, glass, wood, stone, clay, ice, or sand. More modern sculptures can even be made out of lights, motion, and sound. The sculptor’s job is to shape these materials into a particular form usually for display in a public place like a museum, gallery, or park. 

The harder materials are generally carved with chisels, though it varies depending on the medium. A sculptor may work with a mass of marble or rock and carve away at it until it begins to resemble the structure they are trying to create. A sculptor might also assemble pieces or mould materials to make a larger structure. When working with rigid materials like marble or granite, the sculptor must be very careful as one wrong chip or carve can ruin the entire piece. Sculptors must exercise a lot of patience to make sure their work comes out the way they imagined it. 

There are four basic types of sculpture: 

In-the-round -
This is the type of of structure most people envision when they think of sculpture in the traditional sense. This is any type of sculpture that can be seen from any angle from around a pedestal. This is also known as a “free-standing” sculpture. 

Relief -
This type of sculpture projects from a two dimensional background from varying angles.

Assemblage -
This is a more modern form of sculpture. It is pieced together from found or scavenged items with little relationship to each other. Picasso created a famous assemblage structure by using an old bike seat and handle to construct a bull's head.

Kinetic -
This is a free-standing sculpture that moves through mechanical power by either wind or water.

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What is the workplace of a Sculptor like?

A sculptor can either be employed by a firm or do freelance work for a number of clients. They often work in commercial art studios or warehouses where they have enough room to work with large or messy materials. It can take many months from the moment an artist begins working on a sculpture, to the final process of finishing a project.

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