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MEPSA Showcase Artist of the 2011/2012 Season

Carissa Kirksey

Announcing SWF Leonardo!!
SWF Leonardo
This is the gorgeous boy Carissa has created to benefit MEPSA! Look at this face!
Leo has teeth!
SWF Leonardo
Here's what Carissa says about him:
"This was my first try at creating teeth and I think it turned out good! I also made my first scotch bottom shoes, with many thanks to my farrier, Carl Starkey, who was nice enough to take time and teach me about how they are shaped and placed, how the hooves are grown and trimmed for them and even a little bit about the history of this type of shoe."

Leonardo will be offered for sale to benefit MEPSA. The list will be alerted where and when to find him.
**NEWS FLASH** Leonardo brought in $400 for MEPSA!!

This is the first Traditional size custom Carissa has been able to part with once created. He deserves a special home.

SWF The Lady From Bristol
SWF The Lady From Bristol

Carissa Kirksey began showing with MEPSA in 2007. Her photographs stood out, with simple backgrounds, excellent lighting, sharp focus and that extra "something" - an ability to capture a model not only from its best angle, but with realism and character.

Soon something else began to stand out. Some of her most outstanding models were original sculptures, one of a kind pieces, hand painted by Carissa.

She sculpts; she paints; she does her own photographs. All of her work is professional grade. She carries herself with grace and humility. It was a bit of a surprise, then, to learn that she was barely eighteen.

Now twenty, this is the talent and attitude which earned Carissa the title of MEPSA featured artist for the 2011-2012 show season.

SWF Sundara
SWF Sundara at the Wayne County Fair

MEPSA was not the first to discover Carissa. At the Wayne County Fair in Ohio, Carissa took her fifth Best Of Show with an original sculpture in September 2011. She also entered five framed pieces, from pencil drawings to mixed media, in the 2011 Fair, with which she won three first and two second places. It would appear the wins she is most delighted with are SWF Sundara and SWF Little Sundara, a traditional scale and micro mini Marwari stallion. The traditional scale model won both first place as a three dimensional sculpture and Best Of Show, Crafts Division. SWF Little Sundara won first place in the miniatures division.

Breaking into the Wayne County Fair wasn't easy for Carissa, however.

"In 2006 when I showed my first PSQ OS (SWF Destiny's Long Time Coming) at the fair, the judge didn't believe I made him! He was disqualified because of it! It's something I laugh about now! The folks at Buss Hall (the art building) are so sweet though and I don’t think they'll ever forget it happening."

Carissa began her original sculptures in Sculpey and Super Sculpey. SWF I Kid You Not and SWF The Lady From Bristol are both made in this polymer clay medium. Anyone who has judged a MEPSA AR/CM qualifier likely remembers these horses. SWF The Lady From Bristol took the AR/CM Stock Horse Championship at the 2011 New Years Bash Live show in Ashland, Ohio. SWF I Kid You Not is the horse Carissa considers her most competitive, but both models were Grand and Reserve (class and overall) Champions in Divisions C and F in the 2011 MEPSA International Championship Show.

SWF I Kid You Not
SWF I Kid You Not
SWF I Kid You Not
SWF I Kid You Not

In 2011, Carissa began working in Aves Apoxie Sculpt and Gapoxio, with which she created both versions of Sundara. There will be no turning back to her old materials; she has found epoxy putties to be superior.

Carissa is humble about her tack making abilities and confesses it's not her favorite thing to do, but she might be waxing modest. SWF Sundara looks quite appropriate and realistic under traditional saddle with CM rider by Carissa (and wardrobe courtesy Carissa's mom). Thanks from Carissa go out to another very talented MEPSAN, Kim Jacobs, for help with research material for Sundara's Marwari tack and Mom for dressing the rider!

Carissa also enjoys customizing models. When asked what materials she works in to produce the finished paint job, she answered candidly "Anything that will make it look good in the end. I mostly use oils, but also acrylics, pencils, pastels and ink. Usually they all go together as a mixed media with oils as the foundation. I do it all by hand. I don't have an airbrush, I just use paint brushes."

Carissa's goals are simple enough - "I want to sell my first CM, finally get a booth at the local art co-op and sell my framed pieces, and MAYBE cast my first resin(s)."

Maybe? Carissa, we're just waiting for the announcement! The Marwari stallion SWF Sundara (which in Sanskrit means "handsome") is the model Carissa is considering making into a resin.

Her favorite models include a CM mule, SWF The Park Avenue Hillbilly, named after Dorothy Shey, a popular singer in the '40s and '50s best known for the song "Fussin, Fightin' and Fuedin'". Dotty (The Park Avenue Hillbilly's nick name the same as Dorothy Shey's) took Overall AR/CM Champion at the New Years Bash Live Show in 2011, but isn't the only equine whose name has more than a catchy ring; "the lady from bristol" is Cockney rhyming slang for "pistol."

Carissa wanted to make a few things clear with regard to her abilities.

"I'm really grateful for this opportunity that MEPSA has chosen to give me. I would love if you could add that I give God the glory of every one of my creations, and thank Him every day for giving me this gift. I don't know of any artistic relations in my family-my folks aren't artists, and I've never taken an art lesson in my life (except for pottery... and you'll notice I didn't send you any pictures of pottery!) so God giving me the talent I have is truly a gift."

Carissa will be creating a CM as a benefit for MEPSA (from a Stone drafter body she is currently "torturing") which will be used either to raise funds for the championship show, or as a prize to one very, very lucky contestant.

SWF Dragon Horse

- written by Corina Roberts
- photos by Carissa Kirksey
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The mission of the Model Equine Photo Showers Association is to serve as an inclusive organization to promote photo showing in the model horse hobby.

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