Are they fur real?: Artist wins the heart off animal lovers everywhere with strikingly realistic wild animal sculptures
For most animal lovers, the fleeting dream of owning their very own baby panda will never become a reality but one US artist may have come up with the next best thing.
Pictured in a range of adorable poses, master sculptor, Lee Cross, 21, creates adorable hand made baby animals that are so life like they have even fooled people into thinking they are real.
Inspired by the magical Alaskan wildlife that surrounded her childhood home, Lee, now creates some of the cutest creatures around such as wolf and fox pups, baby otters, baby pandas and even white tiger cubs.
Despite never attending a single art class, Lee’s incredible skills are entirely self taught and combines sculpture, synthetic fur and stuffing wrapped around a posable skeleton to produce loveable soft toys.
Lee also paints white beads to make the eyes as true to life as possible, hand dyes the fur and even adds weights to create the sensation of holding a real life animal.
After spending the last eight years perfecting her craft, Lee has now started a worldwide phenomenon and receives hundreds to thousands of requests from people wanting to buy her sculptures everyday.
In an effort to keep up with demand, Lee now auctions her creations on her aptly named ‘eBay Auction Adoptions’ page, where fans pay anything from $800 to $5000.00 to purchase their very own cuddly critter.
Lee said “Since I grew up in the woods of Alaska, I would see wild animals every day.
“Whether it was a family of eagles nesting right outside my window, wild swans that lived on our lake that became so used to me being there, they would come when I called and let me pet them or even the moose that would eat the carrots noses off my snowmen. I wanted to sculpt the animals I was seeing.
“This is what inspired me to create animals as realistic as I experienced them in life.”
She said: “Each animal varies on how long it takes to make, when I first started it took weeks and weeks working all day.
“But it does not take as long now that I’ve made over 400 animals, it’s become muscle memory.
“However, because every single animal is made with such care and attention, it still takes a very long while.
“I had no artistic ability at all until I turned 13 and I’ve never had any lessons of any kind.
“This was when I made my first animal sculpture, it didn’t have the synthetic fur or posable skeleton but it won and an art contest and even sold the same day.
“I receive hundreds to thousands of commission requests every day, and due to the mass, I only sell these creatures through what I call ‘eBay Auction Adoptions’ where I let the people decide what each one-of-a-kind animal is worth.
“When I first started making these animals purely for my own delight, I had no idea they would erupt practically over night as a world wide “must have”, I was so shocked and it was a little overwhelming.
“My animals have also been noticed by the film company Stan Winston’s Studios who are the the makers of the Jurassic Park movie, as well as the film company Weta Workshop who are the creators of Lord of the Rings, Narnia and The Hobbit.
“I just feel incredibly blessed that these animals have brought such joy and excitement to so many.”