Customizing Collectibles: The Art of Chase Smith - STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

See how our student Chase Smith refurbishes and paints collectibles with the help of our online courses!

Apr 10, 2018

A small town boy with big dreams

by Chase Smith

Hello everyone! My name is Chase Smith and I’m just a small town boy from a tiny town in Iowa with less than 2,000 people. I actually graduated high school with only 38 students, so I guess that's how you know you live in a small town. Oh and a fun fact: we also don't have a stop light in town either.

After I graduated high school I went onto college studying Laser Electro/Optics, hoping that it would take me to California where I could afford the Academy of Art Institute. That never happened, but life did.

Pictured above: Me in my office. 

I ended up working for the government in an area I had no interest in. Moral of the story is ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS and have a plan to achieve them. Most importantly, FOLLOW THROUGH! Years passed and I finally got the courage to start a business doing something I loved.

What I have learned is from the Stan Winston School courses and a whole lot of practice

I started small, making Halloween props, mask stands, and eyeballs. I was having moderate success so I bought my first airbrush, some Stan Winston School DVDs, read some books, and practiced, practiced, and practiced some more! If you want to succeed you have to put in the time, dedication, and willingness to find information on your own. Things you really want are not usually handed to you. I now have my own 1000 sq ft studio space making monsters!! It’s always fun (difficult) to explain what I actually do for a living.

Pictured above: The "Big Chap" Alien from the Giger Molds that I refurbished. Just the main head was refurbished. I sculpted the teeth, lower jaw and neck.

Pictured above: Alien inner jaws ready for assembly. 

Pictured above: My finished, painted Alien Warrior from ALIENS Collectible Bust.

It’s fine art, but in character form

I have ALWAYS had a love for realism in art, mostly dinosaurs and aliens. Ever since I was a little kid I was so inspired by the designs and the art that went into each character which made them so memorable. It's a dream to work with the same pieces that come from the films I loved as a child. It’s fine art but in character form.

Pictured above: My paint and finish work on a 1:5 Scale Stan Winston Studio T-Rex Bust from The Lost World: Jurassic Park by Chronicle Collectibles.

My idol is the one and only Stan Winston

"I don't do special effects. I do characters. I do creatures." - Stan Winston 

I loved Stan Winston's attention to detail and the realism he brought to each character. His studio made you believe these creatures were living and breathing even when standing still. I strive to put that into each piece that I put my signature on. It's my belief that you are always your strongest critic. One thing that Stan said that stuck with me was along the lines of, if you put the details in, no one will probably notice...but if you don’t, then everyone will.

Pictured above: Details of my paint job for the Runner aka Dog Alien head from Alien 3 by Sideshow Collectibles and Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc.

Pictured above: Alien3 "Dog Alien" head sculpture by beesub (aka Stephane Faure) finished and painted by me.

Pictured above: My Freddy Krueger bust from A Nightmare on Elm Street film series. I pulled this casting from a mold, but I'm not sure of the name of the artist!

Pictured above: Various Alien-themed maquettes, statues and collectibles, all painted and finished by me. Clockwise from top left: Cool Props Alien Maquette. Sideshow Collectibles Alien Statue 3D sculpted by Matthew Black. Aliens' Facehugger. Crouching Alien maquette by 3D Artist Bill Weiger.

Pictured above: And last but not least a Legendary scale "Wolf Predator" figure by Amalgamated Dynamics Inc. and Sideshow Collectibles, painted and finished by me.

My mission

My mission is to deliver the most screen-accurate and detailed custom collectibles, giving collectors and movie lovers a piece of movie history. Giving fans something that brings back all the feelings they felt when they first saw each character. Putting all of my effort into making each piece movie and museum quality, all while answering every email, shipping every box, and networking with other artists and collectors to bring out new pieces. But equally important, I want to inspire someone, even if it's just one young artist, to follow their dreams. You only have one life and it's too short to not take that step towards your true passions in life.

Don't forget to check out my Website and please follow me on Facebook and on Instagram.

- Chase Smith