In the studio of young local artist Mark Klein-Horsman is a collection of works, some beautiful and scenic and others delightfully twisted – all of them put together in a diverse range of mediums.
There are oil paintings of natural settings etched onto barn-board portraits, and hand-sculpted candleholders in the shape of skulls.
Overlooking the studio is the grisly sculpture of a very demonic-looking goat creature with seven eyes and seven horns, and a set of wicked sharp teeth. In its left flank is an enormous gash, exposing the creature’s desiccated ribs and a dark heart. The fur of the sculpture is real goat’s fur; the heart is made of silicone, and the gory mess beats and spews blood into a fountain with the working of a discreetly connected hand-pump.
“I love creature design,” says Klein-Horsman. “I get to bend the rules of physics and nature and combine creatures to make realistic, different creatures.”
Klein-Horsman is an artist of broad talent, practicing variably as a painter, sculptor and makeup artist. He grew up in Crosshill, but is now based in Elmira, where he hopes to establish himself as a professional artist and develop his style.
He’s young, but the 22-year-old has already put together a growing résumé. Right out of high school, Klein-Horsman began working for the renowned Canadian sculptor of Christian iconography, Timothy Schmaltz.
Klein-Horsman worked extensively for the artist on a number of projects. Perhaps the most accomplished work might have been the life-sized sculpture, Jesus is Homeless, which was personally blessed by Pope Francis last year, and which now permanently resides at the Vatican.
“It’s pretty awesome. It looks great in my portfolio,” he said about the work. “I don’t know, it feels good to be like ‘oh, yeah, I worked on that,’ and you see it around.”
The sculpture depicts a figure sleeping on a bench, wrapped in thin blanket all but concealing his frail body from the elements. Only the man’s feet are visible with unmistakable scars of nails, leaving little doubt of who this person is. Klein-Horsman worked with Schmaltz to sculpt the entire work from start to finish.
After working for Schmaltz, he moved on from sculpting to make-up artistry, attending CMU in Toronto to earn his diploma.
Earlier this year, the young artist even had the opportunity to work in design for the upcoming new Star Trek TV series, Star Trek Discoveries – though he can’t say too much about that just yet.
“I just really find that fantasy world and sci-fi and all that stuff very intriguing I guess, and I just wanted to be on that crew that got to create that stuff. [They] got to use their imaginations to create the monsters and creatures that you see in film,” he says.
“So I did everything from sculpting to molding to casting in silicone – all of that.”
Klein-Horsman is still figuring out how to make a living as a artist, and for the time being will be around Elmira and Waterloo Region. He’s also teaching himself to sculpt and create digitally – the absolute dream for him would be to work on a movie like the planned sequels to James Cameron’s blockbuster film, Avatar.
Examples of Klein-Horsman’s handiwork can be seen on either his Facebook page, or his Instagram: @markkleinhorsman.