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It’s incredible that the Spanish artis Nepaim Hesev has been working with polymer clay for over 50 years. Like many children, he first started sculpting with plasticine and he used to spend hours and hours modelling his own toys. Later on he switched to polymer, a more durable medium, and became one of the first people in his country to work with this sculpting material.

“My sculpting style is rather impressionistic, especially when I model with clay. But also in my wood carvings and my concrete and paper sculptures, unorthodox materials, but which have always attracted me,” says Nepaim, listing all the mediums he’s been working with. He always liked to make small animal figurines with a significant scientific approach and polymer clay gave him a chance to capture the wild creatures in a more permanent form.

The artist prepares meticulously for each project, doing a lot of in-depth research of the given species before he proceeds to sketching. “My collection is mainly focused on mammals and they all have to be of the same scale,” he says. He chose the scale of 1:20 because it allows him to reproduce all animals from the largest mammal, the blue whale, whose size is 150cm, to the smallest, the pygmy shrew, whose model only measures a few millimeters. We don’t have to mention that the whole process is quite time-consuming and labour intensive.

He mostly makes his models with a single colour clay and once baked, he paints them with acrylic paints. Sometimes, however, he sculpts the models adding small balls of polymer clay properly coloured in accordance with the part of the animal body. Then, once he makes the final texture, it is not necessary to paint the model. Nepaim calls this method “sculpainting”.

Nepaim currently concentrates on reproducing the models of my animals. His initial goal was not selling them for profit, he simply wanted his hobby to be cost-free. However, given the people's interest in his figures, he has recently opened my small business, divARTsity, which is giving him great satisfaction and a little money.