Last year at Comic Con International I hosted a panel on action figure sculpting called “Under the Knife.” I had assembled a healthy roster of talent from Phil Ramirez who sculpted the 16” Toy Biz Galactus to Jason Carter who has sculpted many Heroclix for Wizkids. But the one thing I didn’t have on the panel was any women. One of the first questions asked by the audience was “where are the women?” The answer came back that there really only were a small handful of women currently working as sculptors in the action figure industry. But without a doubt the most well know and respected female action figure sculptor is Karen Palinko.
Currently working for DC Direct, Karen has finally been given the opportunity to demonstrate her range as a sculptor with DC Direct as they have allowed her to break out of just doing statues, maquettes and busts and move into doing action figures such as the Silver Age Batwoman and Batgirl 2-pack , the Parasite from the Alex Ross “Justice” line and a few of the First Appearance figures.
Talking about her early years before being in the toy industry Karen told me: “It’s really strange–I started out as a figurative sculptor. I don’t know how I got roped into sculpting Tweety Bird-type thingies. But you know how it is…you do one Tweety, someone sees it, and before you know it, thereyou go: you have a portfolio full of Tweetys.“
Many of you may not be aware that Karen sculpted the Alice Cooper piece for Art Asylum’s “N’ the Box” series.
Earlier this year Karen served as a judge for the Spectrum 12: The best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. If you’ve never picked up a copy of this yearly publication/celebration of art and sculpture you should make it a point to track down an issue of Spectrum.