Meet the man who carved Gollum
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 4:25p.m.
By Lloyd Burr
Sculptor Masayuki Ohashi was all smiles at the unveiling of his giant Gollum masterpiece, which hangs from the roof of Wellington Airport’s main terminal.
Mr Ohashi has spent the last few months hand-carving the behemoth out of polystyrene with a chainsaw at Sir Richard Taylor’s Weta Workshop.
Born and raised in Japan, Mr Ohashi came to New Zealand in 2005 with the dream of working with the Oscar-winner and making props and sets for Sir Richard's films.
“I couldn’t speak English but I always wanted to speak with Richard Taylor as well so I studied English in Auckland for three of four years,” he says.
Mr Ohashi worked as a chef to pay his way through the course before moving to Wellington, where he left his business card for Sir Richard.
Mr Ohashi landed a job with Weta in a number of months. Since then, he’s been working on the set for The Hobbit and most recently, the Gollum sculpture.
“Weta basically made the base shape of it and I jumped on for the sculpture process which was polystyrene carving," he says.
He used a chainsaw to carve the famous figure and, remarkably, didn't work from plans.
“It’s pretty much free carving and I’ve never done this much realistic stuff this size so it’s a very exciting project."
Mr Ohashi doesn’t know what his next project will be, but says he’s looking forward to it.
“What Weta do just looks wonderful and I’ve always been interested in them since I was about 20-years-old when Lord of the Rings came out,” he says.
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