Oluf Hartvigson, award winning master sculptor (MFA, University of Michigan), began his freelance-sculpting career in California in 1993 where he sculpted fine art, model kits, animatronics and effects make-up. He also lead construction on sets for commercials and films and was the Assistant Art Director on the film Color of Night (1994) staring Bruce Willis. Oluf currently resides in Alaska (his favorite place to work and play) where he sculpts using digital and traditional techniques. To pre-order Oluf’s latest masterpiece, the 1/4 Scale Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, visit Sideshow.com.
And now… thanks to Sideshow, Oluf was kind enough to grant CBn an interview amidst his busy schedule.
I’ve always loved art. When I was a boy I used to sit at a nearby pond and draw birds or try to copy wildlife prints by Audubon. When I was in high school I went to Europe for a Language tour, during which we spent several days in Rome. There, we saw some of the finest renaissance art ever created, but what was most amazing was sculpture by Michelangelo and Bernini and that did it for me. I’ve never regretted becoming a sculptor.
Could tell us a little about how you became involved with Sideshow?
I had been sculpting for other toy companies for several years when one of us contacted the other. After several months I flew into LA and we hit it off. Our first project together was the Universal Studios Classic Monster action figures. Since then we have worked quite a lot together.
Do you get to choose the figures you sculpt or are they assigned to you?
Sometimes I do get to choose the characters I do, but most of the time it is based on the work load of Mat Falls and what fits my abilities best.
They are quite different. The 12-inch line has a stock body Sideshow created, but each of the 1/4 scale figures has a unique body, or in other words, they are all sculpted to match the individuals portrayed.
Is there a certain part of the figure design that requires more concentration and accuracy than other parts?
The portraits are by far the part, which takes the most concentration and focus. The hands and feet or shoes are critical too, but for me, I find it easier to do a set of “portrait” feet and hands or even a body than the head.
Which James Bond 12-inch figure was the most difficult to sculpt?
The most difficult would have to be the Timothy Dalton, James Bond.
Which James Bond 12-inch figures was your favorite to sculpt?
My favorite 12-inch figure was the Honor Blackman, “Pussy Galore”. It was the most challenging and by far the most interesting.
So you found sculpting the female figure [Pussy Galore] to be more of a challenge than the male figures?
Yes. Most women are very sensitive about their appearance, especially any representations of them. The greatest challenge is not the technical sculpting itself, but trying to capture, in fact, the beauty she sees in herself.
Most have a say in their likeness. It is always exciting to hear their responses.
When it comes to the over all final presentation of a figure, do you work closely with the clothing and packaging designers?
Not really. I focus primarily on the sculpting. The clothing and packaging artists work their magic without my input.
How much time do you spend on a figure before it’s complete?
I spend around a week on a 12″ figure and up to a month on the 1/4 scale figures if I’m sculpting the body as well.
Which James Bond character that hasn’t been sculpted yet would you like to work on next?
The next character I would like to sculpt is a 1/4 scale Roger Moore (James Bond) or a Sean Bean (006).
Of all the figures you’ve made (excluding the Bond figures) which ones are you the most proud of?
Of the products currently available, I would have to say I am most proud of the Buffy figures I’ve sculpted, especially the Vampire versions and the “John Doggett” character from the X-Files.