By Laura Dvorak
Special to SDUN
“More than any other part of the body, the clavicle sends a message,” he said. “The way it is oriented says so much about attitude.”
The University Heights resident and USPS mail carrier designs original and commissioned fantasy figurines from Sculpey clay. He created his first figurine for Stop Motion Animation.
One of approximately 50 such sculptors in the U.S., DeGooyer said he has earned the nickname “the girl guy” because of his expertise in sculpting female anatomy.
“I learned from a book about female body builders,” he explained.
DeGooyer describes men’s muscles as “piled on,” but women’s muscles have what he calls “more life” because they run into each other more smoothly.
“A sense of musculature and flow really draws the eye to a sculpture,” he said.
DeGooyer pointed to Red Hot Amy, his elegant, blond-haired fox figurine based on the Amiga animation series by Eric Schwartz. He said he initially struggled with designing Amy’s legs, reminding himself “they’re dancer’s legs.” Using that focus allowed the tension to come through.
He points to the tiny dimples behind Amy’s knees. “Knees don’t make sense and are probably the hardest part of the anatomy to recreate. That people walk upright is amazing; the knee is such a fragile thing.”
Each of his creations, such as his rendition of Taral Wayne’s Beatrix Farmer – glamorous in her wine-colored suit – requires a silicon mold as well as supporting plaster molds to keep resin from bloating. The resin is poured in and shaken to fill every bit of space and, as it begins to harden, DeGooyer has less than three minutes to secure the figurine inside a pressure pot. He must quickly tighten the seven screw clamps that hold the pressure pot’s lid in place.
“This ‘pressure-in’ process shrinks the micro bubbles from the resin,” he said.
DeGooyer mixes every color he uses to achieve the right shade and effect. He employs a combination of wire tools and beveled wooden tools to rough out a sculpture. He also creates wire-sculpting tools, including modified dental tools that he sharpens, bends or smashes flat to get an edge. To make lines clean, he repeatedly goes over the figurine with a flat brush. DeGooyer’s “tool of the trade” is the sculpting loop.
“A lot of people ask me to do figurines,” DeGooyer said, “If it’s different, I’ll get involved.”
DeGooyer said taking the time to infuse character and a sense of life into his figurines trumps output. “I do sculpting mostly because it’s something that lasts and it takes me places I like to go. I like making something from nothing. And everything I do has to be ‘alive.’”
His current project is an original: Qeyuu, the little spider waif. “She’s starting to make me happy,” he said, smiling. “It’s my first time working on the fly without an illustration.”
DeGooyer frequently offers advice and suggestions to other sculptors. “If anybody asks me questions, I always tell them what I know because I learned from scratch by asking others,” he said.
View DeGooyer’s artistry at sharpenr.deviantart.com.