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Piled high on the floor of Michigan-based artist Jennifer Maestre’s loft is a giant mound of Loew-Cornell colored pencils, the artist’s building supply of choice. She produces beautiful, albeit dangerous-looking, sculptures by meticulously poking each through a screen. Prompted by a contest in art school, Maestre began creating sculptures of sea creatures using nails. “But I couldn’t get a lot of variations of form, or the kind of shapes I wanted,” she says. She needed a new medium—something pointy and cheap—which is when she started using colored pencils.
She sold her first sculpture in 1999 through Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after they saw her work at a local art festival. “They contacted me and said, ‘Oh, we want to represent you. Will you bring your work down?’ I thought it was a joke,” Maestre says. Today, the gallery handles her art exclusively and the artist gets e-mails from people all over the world who want to commission her work. Below, we’ve rounded up 12 examples of her creature- and nature-inspired works of art.
Maestre named this 13″ x 10″ x 10″ work, which she made and sold in 2008, after an ancient Egyptian sculpture. “I’ve been waiting to make a sculpture worthy of the name, and here she is,” she says. “I think the Ibentina is my favorite pencil sculpture.”