StudioEIS: Sculpting a Colonial Soldier

See what it takes to bring a sculpture to life. Watch the team from sculpture and design studio StudioEIS cast a model’s entire body to create a tableau for the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. This tableau highlights a little-known fact of the Revolutionary War: thousands of enslaved men and women of African descent viewed the British Army as a path to freedom.

AIRED: February 13, 2020 | 0:07:12

Relax, alright?

Don't be, like -- I feel you're very tense.

Relax, please, as much as you can.

Are you good?



-Mark. -How you doing?

-Matt. -Welcome to the studio.

-Come on in. -Thank you.

Ervick: StudioEIS is a sculpture studio

that was founded by two brothers,

Ivan and Elliot Schwartz.

In any given moment, we'll be doing something

for a military museum or a cultural historical museum

or, you know, a presidential visitors center.

We are currently scheduled

to do about 45 museum-type figures this year.


Okay, guys, today we're casting Matt

for the Museum of the American Revolution.

Before we do all that, what we're gonna do

is take a few photographs of you

because we have to have all these references

to make sure that we re-create your portrait

and pose and any kind of details that are necessary.



And then you're gonna stand basically on that blue "X."

[ Camera shutter clicks ]

I worked at the Museum of the American Revolution

for almost two years now,

and one of curating staff asked me if I wanted to do it.

-Feet are forward. -Mm-hmm.

You're gonna come down.

Ervick If you think of what we do here at StudioEIS,

we make a static moment.

We make a figure that is not moving.

It has to tell a certain story.

Right there. Hold that.

In order for that story to be told,

we have to direct these actors and actresses

to be able to kind of stand like a statue

or stand like a sculpture

but also have the naturalness and normalness

that you would have,

you know, like how we are having a conversation right now,

that we're able to sit and do this.

I can make a figure of myself and...

pause for a moment like this.

Or do I have to pause and exaggerate it slightly

to tell the story a little bit?

So, this is how we begin a sculpture.

Hold that for me.

[ Camera shutter clicking ]

Don't flinch.




Okay, so, this is where you're gonna be cast.

Theorgood: Alright. Lauren's gonna take you in the back

and show you the shower and the bathroom

and give you the casting clothes to wear and all that business.

We introduce him to the casting team

and start the casting process,

which typically takes about four or so hours.

Man: So, we're gonna start applying over your face.

We're gonna be very gentle.

Your main thing is just breathing...

Mm-hmm. ...and relax.

Actually, this is gonna be like a facial.


So, lifecasting is a process

where we take a mold off of somebody's body.

We typically do it in a few stages.

One is we get the lifecast of the head.

Okay, so, let's focus.

Can we try again?

Let's see how we're gonna do.

You know, somebody has to be coached on their expression

that they're needed for the casting

or for what the figure will represent.

And then they have to do this while their eyes are closed

and breathing through their nose.

Okay, so, you can open your eyes and try your angriest.

Yeah, you're like, "Okay,

I'm gonna, like, get you guys now."

-Scream. -Yeah.

-Scream like you did. -Yeah.

-Do it. -No, no. Go.

[ Grunting ]

Close your eyes.

There. Perfect.

-Good. -Yeah.

We can do this, right? We can do this.






I feel you're very tense.

Relax, please, as much as you can.

Are you good?

Cool. Bring your hands up.

You're gonna bend all the way over at the waist,

all the way.

You're gonna blow a little bit of air into your cheeks.

And slowly.

Slowly, slowly.

Just ease it off, okay?

Yeah. It's coming.

Let it go. Let it go.


Really beautiful. Really nice.


I have a paper towel for you.


How was it there? It was cool.


He's gonna be the star of this tableau.

Although St. George,

who the exhibit's about, is gonna be next to him,

it's gonna be Matt who everyone sees.

Looking good. Alright. We're gonna take lunch.

Alright. Can you bring me back something?

Okay, so -- You can just remove your arm.

So, just go like this.



It was a pleasure meeting you. Well done.

Thank you very much.

And in a few months, you're gonna be there.

[ Laughs ]





It's a kind of unique experience to be able to make that stuff

and then see it, you know, in a museum.

It actually -- It all kind of comes together at the end,

and it's a great feeling.




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