Artist Feature: Barney Joseph – Sculptor

Have you ever felt that life is extremely hard and that there is no hope for you? Hi, my name is Barney and I am part of a large crowd of misplaced engineers, a growing trend in India. I started sculpting entirely by chance. Way back in 2009, I had been taking treatment for RSI related issues for both of my arms which had been troubling me since 2006. With various treatments showing no progress I was forced to find a new career without computers! Even physiotherapy hurt my hands!

Barney Joseph

During a physiotherapy session, a suggestion was offered that I keep squeezing putty as a low impact exercise. The putty always dried up quickly and I began to notice the forms that it could take with details of my fingerprints too.

That's when I up took sculpting as a hobby and started experimenting with materials and asking a lot of sculptors online. I frequented online forums like “Statue Forum” and “The Club House”. I learnt a lot from the helpful people there. Their feedback greatly shaped up my craft. I also started watching a lot of YouTube videos and asked them questions.

I tried out different sculpting mediums and different styles. My first sculpture took me 1 year and 2 months to complete. I kept correcting it with the feedback that I received from different people in an effort to get better at this new craft! I guess this is what perseverance is all about!

At first I was giving my sculpts away for free. I had no idea that I could have a career out of this. I was just waiting to get well so that I could get back to having a career. My friends were my greatest supporters and my initial clients. Unsure of how to go forward, I decided to venture out and started teaching children at different apartments, schools and special needs schools.

Around this time I used to frequently visit Claystation because I didn't know much about clay. Mr. Ganesh and all the staff there were very supportive in teaching me the basics and asking me to experiment more. Later on, Claystation offered me to teach the basics of making sculpture at their place itself! Teaching at Claystation exposed me to a variety of opportunities and meeting people from all walks of life bustling with ideas and information. Claystation would also refer clients to me who needed sculptures or needed some research in refining a marketable product. I've worked with customers who just wanted fridge magnets to making a figurine of someone to making some elements of a company's visual merchandising display!

With all of this going on I decided to partner along with Claystation to set up Sculpt Monkey Design Studio and make my own products and offer my sculpting services wherever I can. I am grateful to the wonderful team at “Claystation” for believing and supporting me for the past 2 years!

Looking back now, I do believe that the hand of God has been leading me to this particular phase in my life from being “unemployable” to having a studio of my own! I am looking forward to creating a lot of sculptures and challenging my craft. Do check some of my old practices and works at my blog Realm of Dreams. There are a few tips that might be useful to beginners to sculpting. Do check my personal gallery.

Never give up!