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Old 05-08-2011, 04:30 AM   #1
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The 2011 Keith Kopinski Interview!

Interview #3: Keith Kopinski!!

Shameless Plug?

1. First name? Biff… Biff Malibu… okay for real my name is just Keith

2. Location? Ann Arbor, Michigan (Go Blue)

3. Age? 36 but I believe, like a fine wine, I’ll get better in time.

4. Martial\Family status?

Happily married with a 17 month old Thunder God running around the house with a hammer raised yelling “Forrrrr”

5. Pets?

An 11 yr old Corgi/Aussie mix named Mulligan and an 11 yr old 20lb poof ball of a cat name Cleo. (She has a bit of a weight problem)

6. Nickname? KDawg

7. Could you give a brief outline of how you got to where you are in your career?

I started out as a fan like most guys and of course I still am. In a former life I was an illustrator and I graduated with a fine art degree from Adrian College. Basically at some point I wanted to see if I had anything to offer this industry, so I started talking to different guys in the business. I would tap them for any knowledge I could on technique and methodology. At some point I just started sculpting. I sculpted every day and I learned from all of the horrific mistakes I made. There have been times where I got it right but even then I could learn from that and improve. I’ll always be that way. The day I think I’m above improving and settle for less is the day I get out.

Eventually the pieces started to suck less and people started to notice. At some point the right people even started to notice and the work started to come in. One day I was surfing Statue Forum and there was a message from a guy by the name of Randy Bowen. He said he’d been watching my work and that he’d like to offer me a gig sculpting the full size Super Skrull piece for Bowen Designs. That was my first of 7 pieces for him I am thankful for every single one of them. I owe a lot of people in this business and those people range from the fans, to peers and friends, and art directors.

There it is in a nutshell, Statue Forum and Randy Bowen is where it all began.

8. Primary medium? Super Sculpey and TMS wax

9. Who have you done work for in the industry?

So far just Bowen, but I’m hoping that roster can expand to other companies as well.

10. Favorite property?

Marvel if I had to pick… but I like DC a hell of a lot too

11. Do you read comics?

Who wants to know? Yeah OK… I still read comics but my dad can kick your dad’s ass…

12. Favorite comic?

Spider-Man or X-Men in the 80’s

13. Character?


14. Favorite comic related movie?

Probably Spider-Man… seeing him swing on the big screen sure was badass.

15. Favorite sculptor who isn’t you?

I can’t narrow it down to one because there are a lot of guys out there whom I am in awe of skill-wise. I’ve become friends with a lot of them and they’ve become favorites because of stories I have about them or conversations we’ve had. The list is massively long and I hate to cop out, so I will name a couple of them in no particular order to save face…

Tony Cipriano, Troy McDevitt, Clay Moore, Brandon and Jarrod Shiflett, Ray Villafane, Walter O’Neal, Tim Miller, Jim Maddox, Randy Bowen, Martin Canale.

16. What got you into sculpting?

Wanting to see if I could actually do it.

17. What was your big break?

Bowen Designs came calling… I said hello.

18. Favorite sculpt of your own?

The next one, though for now I am fond of the current one.

19. Favorite sculpt by someone else?

Sideshow Thor PF by Martin Canale. It’s truly mind blowing

20. Any sculpting horror stories?

Several, but one in particular I’ll share is… I was finishing up Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew. He was all baked and ready to be mounted on his base. I had to drill out a hole in the bottom to insert the brass rod he mounted to and connect to the base with. I was drilling the hole and hit armature wire and when the drill bit hit the metal, the piece was ripped from my hand and flew a good 6 feet across my shop and crashed on to the solid concrete floor. The damage to his head was negligible, but he needed some reconstructive surgery elsewhere.

21. What tools did you use to make you a better sculptor? (Books\tutorials\anatomy classes\etc?)

Learning wax was a huge bonus in that I can have a lot more control over things when I need to. Beyond that studying anatomy every chance I could and continuing to do so makes a very large difference. Books and DVD’s are great, but nothing can make you better like doing the work. That’s where you learn to hone your craft best.

22. Who do you most admire in the industry?

Anyone working.

23. Is there anyone out there you wish you could sculpt like?

If I could get a perfect marriage of styles between the Shifletts, Cipriano and Villafane, that’s what I want my stuff to look like… No pressure right?

24. Do you have\had a mentor?

My mentor with 100% certainty is Tony Cipriano. The guy is amazing and is always there to help, talk shop, offer council, or a good story. He offers everything he has just because, and he’s got the talent to back it up.

25. Do you listen to music\watch TV while working? If so could you elaborate?

I usually put some music on... background noise is key. A little Five Finger Death Punch, Tool, Disturbed helps me put a little personality into every piece.

26. What’s your favorite scale to work in?

Hands down 1/5 scale… Big enough to be loaded with awesome, small enough to fit in the oven.

27. Dream job?

I would seriously LOVE to be afforded the chance to work with Sideshow. They do it right. There 1/5 Comiquette line is badass and I would love to be on board if I ever get lucky enough.

28. Dream character to sculpt?

1/4 scale Rhino… what a beast.

29. What are you working on now?

7 pieces are currently littering my desk and all of them are being worked on depending on the day of the week. I’ve been working on my 1/5 Thor sculpt now for over a year in between paying work. I am working on Atrocitus and Soranik Natu from the Green Lantern roster of characters. I am also working on 3 Spidey Villain busts as time permits. Lastly I have a piece that is in its infancy that is something I am doing to see if I can blow the doors off as a portfolio “get me noticed” piece.

30. Other hobbies?

Motorcycles, hunting, lifting weights, and running, to name a few.

31. Favorite movie?

The Departed

32. Favorite album\artist?

Tool /AEnema

33. Favorite book?

I never learned how to read.

34. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully I see myself as being a sculptor known for doing cool work, and having a body of work I can be proud of, even though I still won’t be satisfied with it completely.

35. Have you ever traveled?

I have, though mostly in the USA. Adventure rocks.

36. Favorite place to holiday?

I truly love New England, and Colorado in the summer months.

37. What country would you love to visit?

Scotland, Italy, Greece.

38. Any hints on what you're working on currently?
Well most of the stuff is known, but the secret piece I’m working on? Marvel villain, I’ve worked on a version of him before and when done and people finally see it, they will go back and read the story I am drawing from because the sculpt will be so bad ass… I am excited.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:27 AM   #2
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Seriously, how did I miss this interview?? KDawg is the schizz!!!!

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Old 02-04-2012, 05:43 AM   #3
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Nice work!
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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Nice read.
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Old 02-28-2012, 02:08 AM   #5
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Man Keith, that Kilowog and Arkillo are just killer!
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:14 AM   #6
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Great interview!
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:14 AM   #7
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SS! Give this man a chance! Also, just like Ray V. and the Shiflett Bros., Keith has his own style.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:51 AM   #8
Yeah, I spend WAY too much time here!
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Cool interview with one of the greats in my book.
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