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Professor's hobby is a work of science fiction

Friday, October 23, 2015

Matt Jacobson with model rocketMatt Jacobson is an associate professor of film and science fiction modeler.

When did you start building these models and why?

I started building models in the early 1970’s, when I was around 7 or 8. My father built models, and one day at a swap meet he bought me an Aurora “Seaview” kit from “Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea”. I think my fascination with space and science-fiction modeling had a lot to do with the zeitgeistof the Space Age- I grew up in a house where we watched all of the space missions launch and land, and building models of space-age subjects was like holding a piece of that future in my hands.

As an adult, there’s something very relaxing about building a model. The repetition of the process- trimming, gluing, puttying, sanding- is soothing. I’ve come to realize that some of the attraction of building models involves a little of the element of control, too. It’s nice to have one spot in your life where, no matter how small that spot may be, you are in complete control of the process- where you are bending the materials to your will, creating a little bonsai moment of beauty that wouldn’t exist anywhere else without your insight and labor. It’s actually very similar to the approach I take as a cinematographer, when I film a scene- creating a little piece of perfection in a frame.  

I don’t go into my model room to hide- I go there to relax, and express myself in a fashion that is different than any other creative aspect of my life. I enjoy building models, and sharing those models (and the process it takes to build them) with a large audience who appreciate my work, both online and in person. Building models is like painting, or pottery, or gardening, or working on cars, or any other hobby- lots of people do it, for lots of different reasons. Read more

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