JUSTIN M ZIELKE
BORN IN KANSAS 1989
I am an American sculptor living in Pratt, Kansas. I am both classically and digitally trained with a BFA in Illustration from the University of Kansas and an MFA in Animation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. I have worked with John Carls, the producer of Rango, to develop feature-length animation concept art and worked as a Teaching Assistant in a DreamWorks Visual Effects Masterclass at SCAD. I moved back to Pratt, Kansas to create a bridge between my two passions of traditional and digital work. During my degrees, I developed an understanding of human movement and film semiotics in experimental animation. I now focus on how a sculpture affects the viewer's experience while walking through an environment. The materials I work with consist of wood, clay, resin, and found-object using traditional casting techniques. In the near future, I plan to employ the process of 3D scanning traditional sculptures, editing them digitally, and 3D printing. My work’s subject matter guides a viewer to think introspectively and to confront vulnerabilities.
My sculptures have a ranging degree of physical accuracy that allows a viewer to discover a subjective meaning between figure and expression. I passionately learn from classical sculpting tradition and natural sciences to see beauty from different perspectives. The figure and anatomical exactness have always been a powerful focus in traditional sculpture. We naturally look for ourselves in a work of art and create a story as soon as we find forms that relate. In contrast, as we sacrifice a sense of accuracy for a form of expression, the work demands a subjective relationship with the viewer. When rational and seemingly irrational decisions are placed together, an individual wants to discover a meaning for why they relate. This acceptance of physical inaccuracy and curiosity of meaning becomes an intimate reflection of a viewer’s experiences. I use a medium’s physical limitation, a contrasting sensation of color, or a conceptual connection between symbols to engage a viewer. Whether it is wood, clay, resin, or found object, the most important aspect of my work is the interaction with a medium. I do not worry about creating a likeness in a sculpture. I focus on what makes a medium unique and how I can engage a viewer to believe a figure is emerging naturally from the material.
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