Tahoma artist creates creatures

Local student to show award winning sculptures at Black Diamond Art show

After working on his newly found talent for a few months, Tahoma junior Kaleb Magee is gearing up for his first art show.

Kaleb Magee, an award winning sculptor, will be showing his newest pieces and potentially selling some figurines at the Black Diamond Art Alliance’s show in May.

Kaleb Magee started working with clay during his sophomore year at Tahoma High School after taking a ceramics class with teacher Kara Oxner. Kaleb Magee quickly realized he had a knack for molding figurines, and Oxner flames his interest.

“She’s been such a big help to me,” Kaleb Magee said. “She really inspired me.”

Sculpting figurines wasn’t Kaleb Magee’s first foray into crafting. His father, Keith Magee, said growing up his son worked on wood turning/carving and looming. He also enjoyed tinkering with his toys.

“We’d give him a nerf gun and he’d tear it apart and put it back together,” Keith Magee said. “And then they’d shoot better and farther.”

Kaleb Magee also enjoys video games. His favorite aspect of video games in the limitless creativity of the artists, especially when it comes to monsters. One of his favorite games is “Monster Hunter.” In the game the player is a character fighting giant monsters that resemble dinosaurs, birds and sea creatures.

When Kaleb Magee started working with clay, he realized the monsters he’s imagined in his head could become realized.

“I’d play video games and see all these monsters and I’d draw them,” Kaleb Magee said. “But I dreamed of actually having figures of them, and sculpting allows me to do that.”

Before Kaleb Magee started sculpting, he played sports such as baseball. He played sports since he was young. But sports didn’t completely excite Kaleb.

“To be honest, I only ever did sports because I didn’t know what else to do,” he said. “I’d go to school and go home, so sports took up my time, which felt important. I did enjoy it. But it just really wasn’t my thing. Then I found art.”

Art isn’t new to the Magee family. Kaleb Magee’s older brother Martin Magee took on acting as a teen in Maple Valley and is making a career of it in California.

“He’s done very well down there. He’s done a few movies and had a spot in the show ‘Shameless,’” Keith Magee said. “We’ve been very blessed to have creative and outgoing kids.”

Kaleb Magee’s younger sister, Caitlin Magee, is the athletic sibling. She plays volleyball for her school.

Jonalyn Magee, Kaleb’s mom, said she was nervous when Kaleb wanted to stop sports to focus on sculpting but she supports all of her children making a career out of their passions.

In 2019 Kaleb Magee won Best in Show and was a regional winner in the 2019 Regional High School Art Show hosted by the Puget Sound Educational Service District.

Kaleb Magee said he is hoping to learn more about the business behind professional sculpting and artwork. He’s made dozens of sculptures and has tried selling them on Etsy, and online arts and crafts marketplace.

One of the first lessons Kaleb Magee learned is to not assume what customers would enjoy. While he featured some larger monster sculptures that took him days to create, his most popular item only takes a couple hours. The monster is a small figurine called a “grump,” and they are popular among his followers.

Magee will feature creatures great and small at the Black Diamond Art Alliance’s May show, and hopes to gain a local following soon. More information on the event can be found at www.blackdiamondartsalliance.com/annual-events.