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joe fig’s polymer clay and mixed media sculptures offer insight into the creative process

Joe Fig sought out more than 50 artists at different stages of their career, interviewed them, took photographs of them and of their studios and then he did something amazing.


Working on the Chuck Close sculpture. Photo by Sage Sohier


Chuck Close

He chose 20 artists and reproduced their studios to scale in miniature (1 inch = 1 foot), sculpting the figures and most of the details using polymer clay and paint. Some pieces, like tools and roof shingles, are store-bought and transformed. Please click on each image to see it full size – the details are amazing on these miniature table sculptures.


Eric Fischl

Fig’s goal was to seek insight into the creative process and he developed a questionnaire of specific questions for each artist to answer. He hoped their answers would help young artists at the beginning of their journey. He shares detailed images of the sculptures and interviews in his book, Inside The Painter’s Studio.

A few of the questions from the questionnaire:

When contemplating your work, where and how do you sit or stand? How often do you clean your studio and does it affect your work? Did you have a plan for the layout of your studio or did it develop organically? What time do you get up? When do you come to the studio? Do you have specific clothing that you change into?


Each sculpture takes between one week and four months to create depending on the size and level of detail.

fig_ursulavonrydingsvardUrsula VonRydingsvard

According to this article, what Fig learned from this endeavor is that there really is no formula for success as an artist – but the most successful ones all worked regularly and kept steady hours in the studio.


Leonardo Drew
26.5″ x 17.25″


Leonardo Drew, detail

Joe Fig’s website


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