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Collecting The Precious – Interview with Artist Trevor Grove of Sideshow Collectibles

November 17, 2011 at 11:51 am by elessar  - 

The man behind some of the most popular The Lord of the Rings items from Sideshow Collectibles has graciously sat down with us to answer a few questions. Trevor Grove is the young artist who may just have sculpted some of your favorite pieces from Middle-Earth like the Gandalf The Grey Premium Format, Aragorn Statue, Legolas statue, or maybe something upcoming like the Arwen statue. Middle-Earth is not the only realm Mr. Grove has been know to let his talents flourish in as collectors have items ranging from Indiana Jones to Star Wars. So as a nice way to follow up the review this week of the Legolas statue we hope you enjoy this Q&A with Mr. Grove.

1. Trevor, Can you tell us how you got into sculpting and what do you enjoy about being able to make these pieces feel as if they’re part of the real world?

I got into sculpting in my last year of high school. In my youth I wanted to be an illustrator, but as I got frustrated with the challenges of drawing and painting I decided to change things up and attempt sculpture. I had always been a collector of toys and had an appreciation for pre-production maquettes for films and animation, so I thought it might be fun to explore that. Once I started dabbling with it I got more and more interested in portraiture and trying to sculpt likenesses, which led me to where I am now I suppose.

I think my interest in achieving likenesses probably led to my fascination with trying to make my works feel real and faithful to the subjects they represent. That’s the real fun of this kind of work; Trying to capture character, and that can be within a likeness or within costume detail.

2. Can you point to any one particular artist who has most influenced you, or the direction your career has taken? And which of your contemporaries would you list amongst your personal favorites?

Oh certainly! Interestingly enough, an artist that influenced me greatly isn’t even a sculptor. I love illiustration, and Drew Struzan’s artwork has served as a source of great inspiration and guidance for me. The heart and wisdom that Struzan can put into a piece really opened my eyes to the underlying quality of good art. It’s not the details or the precision that make good art, those are just the tools with which you can communicate something, and Struzan is a master of that.

When it comes to sculptors I’m greatly influenced as well. I find a lot of inspiration in the work of my contemporaries. Andy Bergholtz, Tim Bruckner, Mark Newman, Steve Schumacher, Ray Villafane, Tim Miller, Kent Melton, Ruben Procopio, Martin Canale(I’m undoubtedly forgetting so many others). The old masters too! Nothing humbles me more than to think how much greater those artists were than any of us. Bernini and Michelangelo always make brilliance look easy!

3. The Lord of the Rings has been around for over 50 years now and has become a major part in many fans lives. When did you first become familiar with Middle-Earth and what have you taken away from reading or watching the happenings in that world?

I was familiar with The Lord of the Rings prior to the films and I owned all of the books, but somehow managed not to read any of them until after the films came out. I was in my early teens when the “Fellowship” film hit, so I was really invested in those movies growing up. The thing that strikes me most about The Lord of the Rings is Frodo’s journey; The idea of embracing a quest to destroy something so powerfully alluring and deceptive and seeing it through to the end, but only with the aid of fellowship.

4. Trevor, You’ve sculpted items now from many licenses ranging from Indiana Jones to The Lord of the Rings. Where does The Lord of the Rings rank among the licenses you’ve had a chance to bring your skill to?

Oh it’s my favorite! I love sculpting characters from all of these wonderful films, and Star Wars and Indiana Jones are dreams come true for me. However, there’s something about sculpting characters from The Lord of the Rings that just clicks with me every time. The complexity of it, the richness of the world and its characters. It’s no wonder so many artists have responded to the series by creating works of art to honor it. I’m truly grateful Sideshow Collectibles has given me a chance to do the same through their various lines of LOTR statues.

5.  Is there one character among all the amazing characters in Middle-Earth you want to get your hands on? Who is this character and why are you looking forward to sculpting him/her?

Oh, that’s a great question. I hadn’t thought about it much until just now. Through Sideshow Collectibles I’ve had a chance to sculpt so many of the greats, so this is especially difficult to narrow down. I think it would have to be Galadriel. She’s beautiful, powerful and ethereal and it would be a really cool change of pace from the rugged heroes I’m usually tasked to sculpt.

6.  The Lord of the Rings fans have been treated to many of your works so far with some of the most recent being the Legolas statue, Aragorn statue, and Arwen statue. What is your favorite piece that you’ve done so far within Tolkien and Jackson’s Middle-Earth?

I’m so grateful to have been able to be part of these great pieces. Every piece with Sideshow is a collaboration of talents, and to be included in that is an honor. Legolas and Aragorn hold a really special place for me, as I got to sculpt the entire statue (Often I’m only tasked to work on head sculpts, which was the case with Arwen).

My all time favorite Lord of the Rings piece that I was able to be part of, though, is the Gandalf the Grey Premium Format Statue. I think he turned out so wonderful, thanks to the talents of everyone involved.

7. Trevor, What is the hardest part for you as a sculptor in order to bring these characters to life? Do you do anything to help make it easier? Say, watch some of the movies to get things down.

I think the hardest part of any of these sculptures is remaining tenacious. It takes a long time to make a full statue, and it can be grueling at times. There are peaks and valleys with every project, where sometimes you’re so thrilled with the work and other times you feel just terrible about how things are looking. Soldiering through that can be tough. With The Lord of the Rings, I always turn on the special features on the Extended Editions. One, because there are hours upon hours of them, and two, because every time I see the monumental efforts put forth to make those films, I realize my tiny little statue is hardly difficult by comparison. Ha! Luckily, staying faithful to a character is probably the easiest part for me, as I can really get into their heads when they’re as well fleshed out as the characters in The Lord of the Rings.

8. One of the great things about the statue line is they don’t capture exact screen captures of the characters. How does this aide you as a sculptor in anyway or does it actually make things harder for you?

The designers at Sideshow Collectibles really give us sculptors awesome representations of these characters to sculpt from. Every piece is designed prior to being sculpted, and I myself love that we’re able to build these characters from a place of creativity rather than simply from a screen capture from the film. It just makes things more fun and less rigid, which I believe aids the final sculpture.

9. What is it like as a sculptor see something you’ve created be so loved by the fans of that license? As an example the Legolas piece is getting great buzz from Ringers across the Internet.

Oh wow, that’s wonderful to hear. It’s actually not something that sinks in for me very often. I’m truly grateful that anyone at all likes the work, and it’s always my intention to give everyone a piece that’s faithful to the character it represents. However, I’m not often one to reflect on my own work, mostly because I’m so critical of it; I’m always trying to improve and move forward. The said, there are few greater joys than knowing someone out there appreciates and enjoys the work you do.

10.  Finally, If you could be any character from within Middle-Earth whom would you choose to be? Following that up why would you choose to be this character?

Whew….that’s a tough one too. Rather than anyone specific, I’d probably enjoy being a hobbit as I could spend my days relaxing and working on my art. Chilling on those beautiful green hills of Hobbiton. Sounds like the life to me!

Posted in Collectibles, Collectibles, Lord of the Rings, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring, Movie Return of the King, Movie The Two Towers, Shop, Sideshow Collectibles on November 17, 2011 by Source: Sideshow Collectibles Collecting The Precious – Interview with Artist Trevor Grove of Sideshow Collectibles | Discuss