Victor Issa – Creating the Immortal



Victor Issa: No this was a professional model, and that was going back 27 years ago. I have worked with a lot of models over the years. That first piece I had a model from school and she ended up finishing school before I finished the piece, so I had to hire a different model to continue working, and I learned quickly that just because they’re female, doesn’t mean they look the same. I essentially had to start over again on the piece which was really valuable to my training – to compare and contrast, and then I became much more picky about the models I chose to work with because I knew what I wanted to create, and I do rely on life source a great deal in my work, it’s part of the reason I think that people consider my work looks so realistic, is the fact that I work from live models.

Hollywood Sentinel: What would you say is the good characteristics of a model that does still life?

Victor Issa: Well, modeling for sculpture is a little different for painting or drawing, and the main difference is it takes us a long time to complete a sculpture; it’s never finished in one sitting. On average it takes me about seventy hours to finish a table top figure, and for that I will need the model there for about twenty to thirty hours total, over a period of several weeks or months. So the modeling sessions run for about two to three hours with lots of breaks, and some of the poses I have them hold are not really feasible. So if it a floating piece for example, they can’t really fly – because we have this gravity thing...

Hollywood Sentinel: (Laughs)

Victor Issa: - So we have to work on elements of the composition at a time, we work on the upper torso, and then suspend them to work on the legs – to stop the gravitational pull on things, so it has the flow of life. So it’s not required that they hold really, really still, in fact I want them to be in and out of the pose constantly and continuously, that way the pose is always fresh and not sagging. So I’ll often say, I’m working on the neck right now, and so we’ll really pay attention to that for a few seconds and then I’ll let them relax and then I’ll say O.K. the neck again, and then I may say to break out and re-establish the pose continuously so things are really fresh for me. And what happens in the nuance on the muscular level as the pose enters and exits; I really appreciate always studying anatomy on that level.

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