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Monstrous Little Balls of Flesh Become Gruesome Sculptures

This series of fleshy and freakish abstract sculptures illustrate the wonder and terror of the human body.
All images courtesy the artist

Fleshy masses of toenails, teeth, and skin merge to reveal the hyperrealist sculptures, titled Fleshlettes, which combine shock value and a focused study of the least photogenic attributes of the human body. The body designs made of polymer clay, acrylics and hair by LA artist Jonathan Payne illustrate the disjointed traits of a person, appearing both freakish and enthralling.

Payne, who in the past has concentrated on fantasy sculptures, writes on his artist page that he has developed “realistic yet abstract human body hybrids.” With each curving toe and sprout of hair, the sculptures invoke a feel of discomfort. Creases and protrusions on the skin give each “tumorous ball of flesh,” as the artist calls them, a degree of flawed believability. All that is missing is the distinctly living intrusion of a lashy eye or a pulsing heartbeat to define how truly human the Fleshlettes are.


Payne spoke with The Creators Project about developing the series: “My inspiration came from two places: First, I wanted to develop my own visual language that would be uniquely mine, and second, I was inspired by the story of a teratoma [a tumor containing several different body tissues] that was surgically removed from my sister-in-law. These two ideas combined with the desire to learn how to create realistic skin and like that, Fleshlettes were born.”

“Each Fleshlette starts out as a sketch, then a miniature clay study. The final sculpture is created out of polymer clay, acrylic paint and real human hair. Each piece…focuses on one or two different human body parts. For me, artwork like this is a celebration of the weird and wonderful experience of owning a human body.”

See more work from Jonathan Payne, here.


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