It doesn’t happen every day, but I sometime get the chance to write about something truly special. This is definitely one of those rare occasions. Ever wondered what the creatures of your imagination would look like in real life? I’m sure you have, but just like me, you probably lack the talent and patience to actually take them out of your dreams and into reality. Luckily, artist Wood Splitter Lee is both incredibly talented and patient-enough to do it. Plus, her imagination is so much better than mine…
Do you know what a Tundra Stag looks like? How about a Moondust Wolf? Relax, you’re knowledge of zoology is probably not that bad. The only way you could have know about these fantastic creatures is if you lived inside Wood Splitter Lee’s head. The young Virginia-based artist breathes life into the figments of her imagination by sculpting them in clay and covering them with vividly-colored fur. Horned wolves, fire foxes, ice dragons, forest guardians, they’re all real in Lee’s astonishing art collection and she makes them all look so incredibly life-like you’re tempted to think these stills from an awesome fantasy film you somehow missed, and not just really good photos of hand-made sculptures. As a huge fan of mystical creatures, I am in awe!
Posable Tundra Stag
But the artist’s story is just as intriguing as her artworks. Born and raised in Alaska, Wood Splitter Lee grew up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by forest and wildlife. Her memories include moose hunting with her dad, being surrounded by wild dogs and bears trying to break down the front door of their house, so I think it’s fair to say her adventurous childhood serves as the main inspiration for all these fantastic creatures. Even though she and her family moved to Virginia a few years back, Lee says she will always consider herself and Alaskan.
Posable Moondust Wolf
Wood Splitter Lee was 13 years old when she first asked her parents for some sculpting clay. She had never tried sculpting before, but she wanted to give it a go. She started creating small animals and horse heads, and as her skills improved, she started taking commissions. Before she knew it, the young girl artist was overwhelmed with orders, to the point where she had to work long days to keep with demand, so her father had to stop commissions. After that, her parents contacted some professional sculptors and sent them photos of her work. They all said she was talented, and was even called a child prodigy by a number of well-known artists, but all those days of constant work had taken a toll on her, and Wood Splitter Lee didn’t sculpt again for 4 years, due to burnout.
Posable Keeper of the Woodland
Then, at age 18, she started creating her little posable baby dragons. She was using her imagination, creating the things she wanted, and sculpting became fun again. As the dragons started evolving, she experimented with different techniques and designs to enhance the creatures and eventually started selling them on eBay. The feedback was very positive, and as a result, her eBay profile currently shows no available works. It seems only natural, considering each one is unique, created by hand, without using molds, casts or patterns. “I just enjoy creating, and sharing that excitement with others,” 20-year-old Wood Splitter Lee says on her DeviantArt profile.
Posable Fire Fox
Posable Galaxy Stag
Posable Snow Leopard Dragon
Keeper of the Woodland
All photos are © Wood Splitter Lee