I can finally share! The “Poison” Exhibit at the Palais de la Decouverte (Palace of Discovery) in Paris is now open! http://www.palais-decouverte.fr/fr/accueil/ This is the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) that I sculpted for a tactile display for the museum. The museum itself is a fantastic work of art, and the exhibit is truly impressive. This exhibit showcases live animals and explores venomous creatures, venom’s purpose and its potential for cures to disease. This project and the location was the height of so many different passions for me: snakes, architecture and problem-solving.
Cold-cast bronze rattlesnake sculpture
Uncoiled, this snake is a “true to life,” 5 feet long, and is the largest snake I’ve ever sculpted. It is accurate to species, and I’ve been told “feels like the real thing.” I had a lot of great help on reference, posture and anatomy from Rob Clark and several fantastic facebook groups. Thanks everyone! These sculptures will also be available on the Etsy store in “Cold-cast” bronze (resin) and a version (tail up and buzzing) will also be available in true, fire-kissed Bronze…as soon as I find a foundry that can cast it.
I keep getting asked HOW I sculpt the rattlesnakes: Do I cast off of a dead snake? Do I have a special tool to make the scales? Do I have a special technique? The answer to all of these questions is “no.” I use traditional sculpting techniques and a LOT of patience and a LOT of photos and live observation. I also ask a lot of questions of people who know and keep these snakes. I am always looking for feedback and suggestions about structure and even scale count!
I start with a clay coil to get the “gesture” of the snake to confirm the pose. I then use epoxy putty over wire to to “flesh out” the body and muscles under the scales. Once I am happy with underlying body and how it moves and forms when it contacts the ground and itself, I add lines down the length of the snake to guide the scale count and spacing. Then one by one, I add the scales. Once all the scales are placed and the geometry looks correct, I go back and sculpt each keel ridge and edge…over and over thousands of times. Easy!
Snake Arts is now at Etsy! I am opening a tiny little storefront to make my work available for purchase. I do all the sculpting, molding, casting, finishing and shipping myself, so please bear with me. I will only offer what I currently have finished. The striking rattlesnake door handle (in cold-cast bronze resin) is there, as well as a small python wall sculpture and a very limited edition silver boa pendant. I am working on bringing back several cabinet pull designs and the rattlesnake bolo tie as well as the new female Diamondback rattlesnake sculpture (in cold-cast bronze resin.) I hope you will take a look and share with all your snake-loving friends!
Finally! Soon this little lady will be going to the foundry to be transformed into bronze! (for a door handle) Fully sculpted both front and back, so that it can be seen through a glass door from all sides! No pricing yet.
I am still working on a pair of rattlesnake handles. Bear with me, there are many, many scales! I have had questions on purchasing my sculpture and here is what I can say about that: YES you can purchase a few of the snakes (Western Diamondback door handle: $1200 USD plus shipping in BRONZE or cold-cast bronze: $220 USD plus shipping) and the pair of rattlesnake handles WILL be available as soon as I have them done. I do not have pricing yet. Production at this point is just me making these, so I have very limited quantities. I can make more or have more made, but it will take a bit of time, so bear with me on that too. I hope to have more to show you soon. Thanks for keeping up with me!
Here is a little sneak peek of the maquette for my homage to Rene Lalique. He was such a master of so many media and subjects, especially sexy serpents! I was trying to really concentrate on the lines and forms to achieve more “art” and less “scales,” while keeping all the SNAKE. This will be another wall mounted sculpture and available only in bronze. I will post pictures of the final, along with sizes and patina options. Three more life-size rattlesnakes to go before I can get back to this sexy snake…
I finally have BRONZE! Real, fire-kissed, bronze, Rattlesnake Door handles. Here are some more pictures of the handle, and (hopefully) answers to several questions. I had two bronzes cast, one sold immediately and shipped today; I have one left, but given time, I can have more cast that are just as beautiful, I just need to give the foundry several weeks (8-12+.) To purchase either a bronze or “cold-cast” resin handle, please email me or PM me through Facebook (JL Cook, sculptor). I do not have retail capabilities yet, but I will work with PayPal, money order or check. The bronze is currently $12oo USD plus shipping and the “cold-cast” is $200 USD plus shipping. The sculpture for both is identical, only the final material is different. “Cold-cast” bronze is a resin filled with bronze powder; it is durable and useable for indoor, but will not be suitable for exterior use. Bronze (lost-wax) is real, foundry-cast metal and can withstand constant, daily use; it is practically impervious to most elements other than a volcanic eruption (think Pompeii) or dragon fire. Both have bolts either welded or embedded into the back for mounting through a door.
I do not currently have other items for sale, but I AM working on that. Yes, I do take commissions. All of the previous snake items are sold or retired. I would like to have a smaller version of the Emerald Tree Boa door knocker, a Rattlesnake Tail door knocker (very similar to the drawer pull,) and a belt buckle by the end of summer. I hope I’ve answered some questions and you enjoy the photos.
Thank you for all your kind words so far, I truly appreciate it!
Of all the artwork I’ve done, a couple pieces have surprised me by their popularity. Horton’s tree from Seussical is one of those pieces. Here are a couple of progress shots of the tree during construction. It started out as several 2×4’s constructed into a ladder with a platform at the top. Then foam sheets were added to create the forms and basic structure. Paper mache was applied in layers to smooth out the forms and join the messy edges of the foam. The top of the tree was added by cutting leaves out of foam, gym mats. This gave the leaves a nice, springy effect: the whole top bounced and swayed while Horton moved during the performance. Lastly, the entire tree was painted…and the performance began! The kids did a fantastic job. I hope to be posting pictures from Cinderella soon.
Eight years ago, I won an online contest to draw a fan-art cover for the last Harry Potter novel. After that, I was asked to create the artwork of the Oxford skyline for an academic conference (Accio) in England, discussing the cultural relevance of these books to the current literary world. While I did not get to go to Oxford at the time, I did get to visit recently, and it was amazing! London and Oxford are both full of history and art and beautiful things that I had only seen in books until now. I did get to stand in the steeple of the church just over Hedwig’s wing and look down over the inspiring landscape where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis taught and created the books that would fill my childhood imagination. Accio memories!
Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to my new portfolio site. I thought it was time to update things and get a new look and a new name. Snake Arts was the first website I ever had. It was a joint business venture with Jim and Debi Rogers (Nearly Native Nursery) to create and produce snake themed “stuff.” I don’t have any of that old “stuff” left, but because pictures of that “stuff” are still floating around the internet, I was contacted to sculpt more snakes for movies and museums. I hope you like the new look and the new (old) name as much as I do.