I'm interning this summer at AMNH and I am working on fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, textiles, luxury goods, etc. for the Turfan Marketplace scene in the November-opening Silk Road exhibition.
I am mostly making faux fruit look more realistic by sculpting onto them or painting them, or both. I am also sculpting things from scratch as well as making molds and casts of real fruits and veggies.
Here are some examples of the work I am doing.
These bananas are 1/2 finished. They've come in as generic plastic things, and by this point I have sculpted new stems and ends onto them, and airbrushed them a bit. They are missing the top parts in this photo.
These apples have been primed because when we got them they were a silly red color. Soon they will be painted, all the stems removed and replaced with real wood.
Finished apples. Hand painted.
SO MANY APPLES.
1/2 finished figs. These were all the same so I cut them up and put them back together to vary the sizes. Then I sculpted new stems on a few of them. I painted them here, but they are still missing their detail work in this stage.
Closer to being finished, but not quite.
In most cases, I am given the species of the fruit, and told to figure out what that looks like, then go from the research I do. Sometimes the designers give me exact reference.
With these apricots, I just had to make them vary in color. The shapes and textures were pretty believable.
Sometimes there is miscommunication, for example, like when the designers said "golden peaches" I found reference online saying that golden peaches were a deep red, when infact they are more yellow than apricots. I will start a new batch of peaches next week, but here are the ones I made. They came a light pink color and I painted them red and yellow.
These watermelons are going to be in a lead ice chest that one of the artists is making, and another artist is painting the watermelons. I sculped the stems because the ones that came on them were made of floral tape and wire. In this photo, they are of course, unpainted, but I will photograph them later when they are in the ice chest.
These plums are weird and made of silicone, I just dusted them up to make them look more realistic.
I finally remembered to take a before and after shot.
This is seaweed I made from thermoplastic and a heat gun, paint and chalk.
I airbrushed all these, one at a time.
And I airbrushed these too.
My next tasks involve sculpting indian gooseberries, and peepul figs, and then casting them so that I only have to sculpt about 5 of each, then painting them.
There's so much more to do!