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Date published: October 10 2015

Justine Asprey is a London-based sculptor with a background in animation.

Her portrait busts of leading contemporary artists and private clients combine vibrant modernity with classical traditions, brilliantly evoking the spirit of the sitter thanks to Justine’s flair for creating a special rapport with every client.

Every commission involves a process of close and continual collaboration between Justine and her subject. A unique feature of Justine’s work is the incredible range of materials that she uses.

Justine embraces the challenge of combining innovative materials with traditional sculptural techniques that have changed remarkably little over the centuries. For example, she’s currently experimenting with a translucent, space-age substance called aerogel or ‘frozen smoke’. This is to create the spectacular ‘smoke and water’ finish suggested by the renowned installation artist Richard Wilson RA, the latest subject in Justine’s ongoing series of contemporary artists.

Another subject in the series, the Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey, requested that his bust be finished in iridescent purple paint ‘somewhere between a fast car and a flash mobile phone’.

The process of crafting each sculpture is intensely physical. After taking numerous photographs and measurements of the sitter’s head and features, Justine – a former model maker – creates a maquette. She constructs an armature of aluminium wire filled with paper, which is coated with three inches of clay before being moulded and sculpted to define the face and other details.

These skilful touches instantly convey the subject’s vitality and complexity. The result is not just an accurate physical likeness; more importantly, it’s a piece that captures the very essence of the sitter thanks to Justine’s remarkable talent for conveying attributes that go beyond the physical.

Justine’s portrait busts are as individual as her sitters. With a timeless serenity that’s equally at home in contemporary and traditional interiors.

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