I vividly recall the single piece that made me infatuated with the artwork of Sam Wells. Titled Squirm, it was a sculpture he’d created, under his frequent UNCLE guise, for the 1:AM Gallery exhibition Most Wanted: Behind the Hype in 2012. Using an 8” Dunny head as the core of the form, this piece embodies everything I associate with Wells’ art: a transformation of vinyl works into something surprising and otherworldly.
Wells’ artistry within the designer toy movement began in 2008, when he hand-painted a Mini Munny at the suggestion of a friend. As his skill steadily developed, he found a knack for infusing a grotesque humor in his works while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of premade forms into unique profiles. Then, abruptly, in 2014, Wells put his art career on hold, opting to pursue schooling in dental hygiene instead. While he excelled in his classes, his artistic soul was being pent up. That is until he accepted a commission and re-entered his art studio in late 2015, the floodgates of creativity thrown open once more.
That commissioned work resulted in Wells’ World Eater piece. Painting the Coarse produced Locks (2013) figure with a free-flowing nebula theme, he finished it by sculpting a crater-pocked lunar surface cresting the head. Inspired by this direction, Wells noticed a couple of Omen Blink (2013) vinyl figures sitting on his desk, already primed and ready to be painted. Immediately envisioning their round faces and wide eyes as potential moons, he began work on the duo.
UNCLE Studio - MoonEyes Review - MoonFace + MoonEyes

My Impressions of MoonEyes

Titled MoonFace & MoonEyes, this set was completed nearly one year ago, beginning a new artistic period in Wells’ output. One which he continued to explore, like with the piece in front of me: a variation on the MoonEyes theme titled Fall.

While the specially sculpted moon-like surfaces on the eyes is certainly a standout feature of this work, with each crater and divot feeling carefully placed and executed, it is far from the only noteworthy aspect. The pitch black celestial sky coating the body is speckled with white stars, the occasional one flaring and drawing attention to it. Of similar striking contrast are the beak and feet, painted in metallic silver and conveying a sci-fi feel that emphasizes the space theme as a whole. But the most impressive element is the subtle depiction of cosmic clouds, their greenish-blue ethereal forms interspersed around the whole.
Since beginning this direction, Wells has modified various sizes and styles of Coarse’s Omen into the MoonFace or MoonEyes likeness, such as the below pictured MoonEyes + Stranded Cosmonaut (2016), Shock + Awe (2016), and Theory + Awe (2016). Each is ultimately unique through the sculpting details as well as the coloration and patterning of the nebula designs, and those interested in commissioning a one-of-a-kind original of their own should contact the artist through his website, unclestudio.com.

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