The Personal Disquiet of

Mark Boulton

From Poly to Pole

– February 29th, 2008 –

Every six months or so, my brother-in-law, Bruce Gordon, updates his website (which I designed a while ago) with his latest work. I’m generally not one to pimp sites, especially family, but Bruce’s work continues to amaze me. He’s a Head Sculptor for the film industry in the UK and his website is glimpse into the world we rarely see—set design and construction.

Fred Claus

His latest project (other than Wolf Man that he’s currently working on), is Fred Claus. He was the HOD (Head of Design) Sculptor for the project, which I think means he ran the crew whose responsibility was realising the art department maquettes. Now that just blows me away. Scaling up a clay model, that may only be a few inches across, into a life-size construction. Of course, the art department is concerned with the vision of the production, not if the thing can actually be built. That’s up to Bruce and his team to figure out.

Santa's house in Poly
Poly Building showing construction
The finished North Pole set

These images from Fred Claus show the scale of construction and attention to detail. From intricate wood sculpting, to ensuring layered snow on roof tops looks like it actually might drop off any minute. All of this work, and it’s an incredible amount, can only be on-screen for a few minutes. I guess that’s the price for trying to accurately portray another reality.

If you have a mo, browse around his site. There’s some stunning work on there from production such as Charlie and Chocolate Factory, Batman Begins, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Filed in: design, personal.

Further reading