Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sculpture and Beatriz Cunha

Sintra, Portugal. What a beautiful city for a sculpture exhibition!
Titan's Heart by sculptor Beatriz Cunha was installed for the 8th annual public art exhibition in Sintra, Portugal.      See more images of Sintra and Beatriz Cunha's stone sculpture here.
Titan's Heart by Beatriz Cunha.
 Anyone else want to pack your bags and leave with me for Sintra? Right now!

All photos from Beatriz Cunha's blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sculpture and Paradis Express

You want to know what's new in working sculpture?
Go to Paradis Express!

Tilt lighting designs
 Delphine at Paradise Express shows exciting new companies like Tilt

Tilt creates both temporary and permanent lighting designs for events, performances and cultural centers. Their work has style, wit, and with darkness, magic.

See more here.

Sculpture and Demonstrations

 I did an AAC carving demonstration last weekend for the Pacific Northwest Sculptors as part of the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts. This year, the festival's 48th, the focus was on sculpture.
My AAC carving tools. There's a stone chisel at the top left, followed by aluminum tools I've made. There is also a spoon, a screwdriver and a hammer to show people that they probably have something at home that will work to carve this material.
I always try to be aware of my audience when I'm demonstrating. Children don't want a lot of talk, they want to begin (and quit) quickly. I cut several small blocks so that anyone who wanted could try carving the AAC.  Many folks passed by, a few were curious enough to stop and try carving.

Brenda Troisi with her relief sculpture.
One adult, Brenda Troisi, came with an interest and left with a lesson plan. 

Brenda carved a small prototype relief in about 30 minutes. She tried various tools, estimated how much material she'd need for several classes, the costs, and brainstormed with me how to make enough simple tools for the children so they can carve their own sculptures.
Brenda volunteers through an Art Literacy program

Lake Oswego schools are lucky to have arts advocates like Brenda. Most children learn best when they are physically engaged. The arts can make any subject more fun to learn.

Brenda's interest and commitment to school children and the arts made all the work of carrying all the sculpture and supplies back and fort worth it.

Do you share your knowledge by doing demonstrations of your art? What have you learned from it?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sculpture and Beatriz Cunha

Beatriz Cunha, has created a large stone sculpture called Titan's Heart.
Beatriz Cunha and her crew with Titan's Heart
Do you know your Greek mythology?
The Titans were once the reigning gods in Greece. They were overthrown by the Olympians, Zeus and company.  I love how the mythology of ancient gods and their struggles for power can inspire meaningful contemporary sculpture.
Carving out the major forms. (All photos by Beatriz Cunha ©2011)
The new piece signals a change in Cunha's work. After a winter's reflection, Cunha decided to move her work towards a more basic, elemental, biological/realistic approach and connect it to the human condition.
What is more evocative than a heart?

The heart has had deep symbolic meanings in many cultures throughout history and is at the same time the organ of our bodies that is essential for life. It has a larger magnetic field than the brain. The title, Titan's Heart, just came as an illustration of its size, a heart that big had to belong to a Titan.

Cunha says, "A giant stone heart is connected with the elements and the origin of the material side of our nature. It relates to our existence, to our history, to our place in nature and time."

Beatriz had picked the big red limestone block directly from the quarry, but set it aside because it didn’t fit her then current body of work. She trusted that the right idea for a particular stone never fails to come.  When she began her new sculpture series the large red stone was waiting for her.

Titan's Heart will be shown at the summer public art exhibition in Sintra, Portugal.

See more of Beatriz Cunha's work here and visit her sculpture blog here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sculpture and the Portland Japanese Garden

After the first waves of spring color, the fruit trees, the bulbs, the rhododendrons fade,
there is still the quiet riot of spring greens.

A walk through the Japanese Gardens is a lesson in shades of green discernment.
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.  ..............Robert Frost
                                                                   from the site Modern American Poetry

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sculpture and Ancient Artist

Have you articulated what is important to you (and others!) about your art? Knowing why you make your art, what it gives to the viewer is more than your artist statement. It needs to be your manifesto.


Sue Smith is a talented painter living in eastern Oregon.

Her blog,  Ancient Artist: Developing an art career after 50, is an inspirational pun that reflects her interest in historic art materials and techniques and the challenges of being an artist...(at any age).

I noticed she had an manifesto page and sent her my architectural sculpture manifesto.
She published it here.

Have you articulated what is important to you (and others!) about your art? Knowing why you make your art, what it gives to the viewer is more than your artist statement. It needs to be your manifesto

Once you have written it, put it out there. Make it public.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sculpture and the World Naked Bike Ride.

It gives new meaning to the term "flash mob."

The shouts and noise and flashing police lights got me out of bed to see 10,000 naked people ride their bikes, skateboards, unicycles, and run past my house tonight.  Bodies of every possible size and shape coasting downhill and around the corner. The normal rules seem upended when there are more naked people laughing and zooming by than fully dressed bystanders.

The police were there to serve and protect and enjoy the exuberance, their flashing strobes adding bright blue and red highlights to all the passing skin.

I did not take any pictures, it seemed antithetical to the event. There are videos but they don't really give you the sense of giddy naughtiness. You simply had to be there.

What does this have to do with sculpture? 
In one evening, I feel like 10,000 models auditioned for new sculptures!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sculpture and Drawing (The Cave of Forgotten Dreams)

Do you hope that your art will stand the test of time? 
How about it lasting for 32,000 years?

My first love and best training for sculpture was drawing, because drawing trains both eyes and hands.

That's why the Werner Herzog movie The Cave of Forgotten Dreams was such a pleasure.

He and his crew take us into the closed world of the Chauvet caves to see the oldest drawings in the world.  The humans who made them will always be an enigma to us, separated by the 32,000 years between our time and theirs.  What is so wonderful is how alive and immediate the drawings are. 

Here's the best quote on how and why such ancient art affects our lives:

If truth is that which lasts, 
then art has proved truer than any other human endeavour.
What is certain is that pictures and poetry and music are not only marks in time 
but marks through time, of their own time and ours,  
not antique or historical, but living as they ever did, exuberantly, untired.
                                                                             from Jeanette Winterson's book Art Objects.

Go see the movie,
learn more about the Chauvet caves.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sculpture and Olivier Duhamel

Can't afford a foundry to cast your work in bronze?

New Zeland artist, Olivier Duhamel, has created an illustrated tutorial on lost wax casting that shows you step by step how to cast your own bronze sculpture.

Duhamel shows you how to cast your own small bronze object using the ceramic shell process. The manual demystifies the bronze casting process and makes it easily achievable by anyone, at low cost.

See the book . A PDF download is a bargain at $16.00 (US).
A paper version of the Bronze Casting Manual is available from Amazon.

Duhamel's video is a good way to understand his low-tech approach. Using his book and methods you could be casting your own work in bronze this summer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sculpture and Patti Smith

There's a wonderful quote in Just Kids, Patti Smith's book about her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe. 

Robert Maplethorpe dreamed of breaking into Andy Warhol's circle. Patti Smith was suspicious.

Smith says, "I hated the soup and felt little for the can. I preferred an artist who transformed his time, not mirrored it."

Andy Warhol's soup can

What transformations are you working on?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sculpture and the Library

I  love our downtown Portland library. It's beautiful. I wander outside of my interests and discover new inspirations.
Here's sculpture as metaphor.

If a picture is worth a thousand words,  the clever juxtaposition of rock and egg as a visceral metaphor for relationships saved me from reading The Science of Trust. 
Bravo book designer/photographer, I get it.
I found myself using my camera several times.

Instead of checking out heavy over-sized art books for a few images, I used my camera to record them. No need to check the book out, no worries about late fees, easier to track my digital images on my computer and then print them if needed.

Have you noticed your use of the library or books changing?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sculpture and Bill Cunningham New York

Need inspiration? Need an infusion of enthusiasm?
Take a friend and see the movie Bill Cunningham New York.

His life is both monastic and joyous. The life Bill Cunningham leads is inspirational in his commitment to both his craft and his ideals. His life is why kids leave the farm to live in New York.

He's a fashion photographer and an avatar of focus. He may be "the most important man on earth,"
but you must see that comment in context of the movie.

Pay attention to the other photographer who almost steals the film midway with her story. Hope someone is making another documentary about her life.  Artists need our own success stories.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sculpture and Rest

Making sculpture is physically demanding, marketing sculpture is even harder on both body and soul.

That's why it's really good for an artist to be able to STOP and REST.
Stop for at least two or three days. Alone if possible.
Herm at Hearst Castle. Being there in the evening is like stepping into a Maxfield Parrish painting.
        Tell everyone you have important appointments (with yourself!) and then keep them.
Adelman Peony Gardens
 HIDE -either in your studio or out in the big world where no one knows where you are.

Do as little as possible.......take long walks.................draw and
Do no production, marketing, tweeting, Facebooking, networking, phone calls, mailings, etc.
Stop doing all those necessary things that can also make you feel crazy and overwhelmed.
Schreiners Iris Gardens
Stop long enough to connect with the joy and excitement you get from creating for your own pleasure.

When you're connected with that spirit it's much easier to keep everything else in perspective, You can connect with others because you're connected with why you make your art. 
Walking in from the beach at Cape Cod.
 (I speak from personal experience.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sculpture and Julian of Norwich

Photo taken in Colorado, on the path to Shambala.
I'm reading a book by Amy Frykholm about the medieval mystic,  Julian of Norwich .

She had me by the first page: "The soul must perform two duties. 
On is that we reverently marvel. The other is that we humbly endure, 
ever taking pleasure in God".

Nothing about sin and damnation, instead wonder and humility.
It's a good reminder for the kind of art I want to create. After several rounds of putting my work out there for the world to see (and purchase) and getting little to no response, it's time to regroup and find new inspiration and reason to continue.

Marvel is always a good state to begin sculpture work, humility a good state to continue creating art.

It's in keeping with Meister Eckhardt's: "If the only prayer you could utter was a simple Thank You, that would suffice."        

Thank you readers for being on this creative journey with me. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sculpture and Pope John Paul II

Filippo Monteforte photographer
When is a portrait not a portrait?

When the sculpture reminds people more of a urinal than the man it is supposed to portray.

That's not good when the work is supposed to depict Pope John Paul ll.

photo by Marco Guerrier
The large bronze sculpture was created by Oliviero Rainaldi.

Located next to the Rome's Termini Train Station, the work drawn criticism from the public. 

They're calling it a "Vespasiano"
a urinal. It also reminds the Italians of the fascist Mussolini.

Mr. Rainaldi was inspired by a photo of the late pope enveloping a child in his cloak.

Aside from the lack of resemblance to the pope, the sculpture's major flaw is both conceptual and physical. 

Figurative sculpture is not alive, but it is about ideas and forms.

The figure is hollow. Empty. That's very disconcerting.

Given that this sculpture represents the much loved pope, to break the understanding that his body occupied physical space breaks any identification the public can have with the sculpture. (It's like an actor breaking the fourth wall.)

The sculptor's idea's about the cloak took over and consumed the Pope's body! The cloaks hollow shell destroyed the crucial form - that of the pope's body and conveys hollow emptiness rather than comfort and shelter and a loving presence.

This should have been obvious to the artist and any committee overseeing the project in the preliminary drawings and certainly in the maquette stage.

It's bad sculpture and bad publicity. More on the work here and here.