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Yamination Studios pit Matilda against Donald Trump!

Yamination Studios, the Digbeth based studio set up by Forum Board member, Drew Roper, had a very successful bit of press coverage recently. As a bit of a change of pace from their usual stop motion work the team were commissioned to build a statue of Matilda, the much loved Roald Dahl character, for the book’s 30th anniversary. But there was an extra surprise in store as they were then asked to give her a new nemesis based on a public vote. The winner? The President of the USA, Donald Trump!

Managing Director, Drew tells the story: “Similar to the scale of the statues, it’s an ‘ENORMOUS' honour to have delivered this project for the wonderful guys at The Roald Dahl Story company. It’s not everyday you are asked to design and build a life size statue of the beloved Matilda, so instantly, we jumped at the chance…it's the same process we’re used to, working with an exceptional team of artists, designers and sculptors (who initially make the clay maquettes for scale - in animation) but then the unusual thing for us was…to make it huge. No small task there! 

Then we were informed…we need to make another one…twice as big…and a character for Matilda to stand up against, pending a public vote.

The statues start off in exactly the same way, from designs, to a clay maquette sculpt (10-20cm) then a digital scan (an aid, in order for it to be scaled up) however, due to time constraints, they vary in the process of how they’re made. Matilda, is more traditional, clay sculpted, the a silicone and fibreglass mould is created, and she’s then laminated (fibreglass) as a cast around her steel framework, and finally sprayed painted and finished. Trump, was a little more high-tech; robocarved out of polyurethane, bonded together around his steel framework, coated with armalite resin and then spray painted, like Matilda. I’m of course making this sound easy…but the end result you’re left with two ‘bronze’ statues, looking formidable.

What’s most flattering is the amount of positive comments we’e seen and received about the design of the characters. It’s our interpretation of what Matilda looks like to us, breaking the mould for the usual iconic Sir Quentin Blake’s style…so to read through the support for how liked she is as a character with this design, is sincerely flattering - but it just shows you the strength of Roald’s writing, from his descriptions of her, all these little details about her boom, her posture, her charisma, you know she is Matilda, no matter what the design. but making sure those little details are captured, of course.

Thanks to our fantastic team who made it happen, I couldn’t be any prouder of how we created such incredible characters.”

Read the BBC’s report on this exhibition below: