Story Owen Craven
Photography Daniel Shipp
Sam Jinks makes sculptures inspired by simple, yet poignant, moments in his life. While the hyperrealistic elements of his figures are mesmerising for audiences, Jinks is driven by an underlying desire to perfect the structural form of his sculptures. 057
PROFILE Sam Jinks
N the LeAD up to a solo exhibition with
Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney, ARtISt PROFILe met
Jinks in his studio to discuss the processes and inspirations behind his captivating and beautifully rendered sculptures.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? Your career started in the film industry before it turned towards a purely artistic practice. Where did you learn these skills and from where did your desire to sculpt emerge?
I started out just drawing as a kid; it was all I ever did. At the age of 12 or so I started to build things. My dad had a beautiful shed
– he was a cabinetmaker and built superb furniture – and so I’d make stuff with him, drawing during the weeks and building on the weekends. I left school and I was working as an illustrator, doing cartoons and bits and pieces but I couldn’t survive just on that, having just moved to Melbourne from the country. I worked as a motorcycle courier until I had an accident, which made me realise I needed to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I decided I really wanted to sculpt. So I started doing the ring around to film and special effects companies until I managed to get a job, being paid only in materials. It was there that I learnt how to make moulds. So I’d work there during the week and spend my weekends making my own stuff.
From there I got a job in TV, doing lots of little jobs. I became a bit of sculpting specialist. I’d be brought in for a job on a set to build something, working on a shoot for a month or two, and then I’d go away and make my own stuff. I got a bit bored with it because, ultimately, I just wanted to make my own stuff. During this time, I met another artist and worked with them for a while, and this was
my best education into the art world.
that through the silicone and hair afterwards.
the craftsmanship of your sculptures – the realism of the human and animal forms – is a captivating element in your work. It’s obviously a painstaking and laborious process.
Can you take me through the overall practical process; does a sculpture start from drawing or small-scale maquette sculptures? It’s a bit of everything. I used to just draw and then flesh it out by making the final piece. Nowadays it’s takes a bit longer and I tend to do a series of sketches – sketching it out structurally – and then do a series of maquettes.
While the overall craftsmanship in your work is captivating, so too are the conceptual and emotional elements. Woman and Child, for example, is composed of an elderly woman cradling an infant. the piece seems to contemplate the human life cycle. how important are these conceptual drivers and from where are they inspired – literature, personal history? One thing I discovered a while ago is that I cannot follow my work up with an essay. Generally, my work comes from personal experience – personal moments, poignant sign posts in life. It’s not something academic. If I was to come up with a long winded explanation, I wouldn’t be true to myself.
When you’re doing a maquette you always find the bits that are going to look shit. When you rotate the maquette, you always find an arm, or something, that looks awkward or clunky. You can guarantee that when you blow it up four or five times, it’s going to look four or five times worse. You know it’s going to remain problematic so it’s a good way to resolve those issues, on a smaller scale. Do you think that’s one of the things that you are trying conquer, or master?
There are always areas that are going to be problematic.