If college students come home on spring break and tell their parents that they have decided to major in art and become a sculptor, many parents would be aghast. Their first thought would be how would they support themselves and next they would envision their child living at home forever. However, there are sculptors who are self-supporting and don’t fit into the ‘starving artist’ category. And one industry that employs sculptors is automotive manufacturing. The concept of clay modeling in automotive design began at General Motors seventy years ago. Today automotive sculptors combine the designer’s drawings with the engineer’s specifications to create a three dimensional model.
Harvey Earl first introduced the idea of modeling sculptor’s clay to produce three-dimensional models. Clay was more workable than the plaster and wood used previously so it permitted more flexibility and creativity. So sculptors as well as illustrators and engineers became an integral part of an automotive design team. However, when automotive art emerged as a fine art genre, some of the sculptors left the industry and started to freelance.
One of these is Steve Posson. Posson had majored in automotive design at the Art Center College of Design in