Ceramics, or clay, is one of the mediums I like. Have you ever met someone that you feel you like you’ve been friends with forever? That is what working in clay feels like to me. I can have a conversation with someone in the studio and if I have a piece of clay in my hand it will magically transform itself into something- a frog, a rabbit, a tortoise, or something wonderful. It’s as if the clay knows what it wants to be and I am but a bystander that happens to be present. There is also a process that occurs when I’m working in clay. I like to call this process virusing. I know the word seems nonsensical, but let me explain. When I’ am working on a larger scale piece, I add and remove lumps of clay off the main piece I am working on. As the lumps of clay come off the main piece they tend to form themselves into shapes that they chosen! The main piece continues to develop and is constantly spawning new or “sub” pieces. Major pieces often have ten or more minor pieces that have appeared to have produced themselves. All major works start in my mind and go directly into my sketchbook. Minor works that develop themselves off of major pieces start off as finished pieces and then go into my sketch book… from there they inspire more major works. The whole process spreads throughout my entire being, like a virus.
Glass is a very beautiful and a very fickle medium, as it can change its personality with every tick of the clock. Cold glass can warm in an instant with the light. I can fuse a glass piece that I don’t care for and take it out into the sunlight and fall in love with it. Every color of the rainbow is available to the glass artist. As a sculptor I mainly concern myself with form, space, texture and so on. With glass there is a new element, “luminosity”. The glass doesn’t just have color, it glows, and depending on the time of day and/or time of year, it can have a huge affect on the luminosity. Winter glass is a totally different animal than summer glass. Working in a medium that has its own personality, like glass, is very exciting. Whatever I do to the glass it always does more for me. I can make an unimaginative design, fire it in the kiln and presto, out comes a beautiful work. It works in that direction, insofar as I have never had an exciting design turn out dull or bad. I was first introduced to working in glass in college and never thought I would have the resources to work with it again but now that glass has become an easier commodity to find I am happy to work with it again. I have so many new and exciting ideas bouncing around in my head and sketchbook that I can’t wait for the glass to arrive.
One of my favorite mediums to work in is bronze. That being said one must realize that “working in bronze” could be a host of different mediums, including clay, wax, and plastic or any medium that can be molded or burned. That is a feature that seems to be uniquely applicable to the method of bronze. I have cast many things into bronze that most people would never think of. I have cast wooden sticks, foam core, plastic models and even a suit complete with tie, from a doll. The ideas come fast and feverishly but with bronze it’s the foundry process that take time. The fastest I have ever completed a bronze was a little over two weeks. That would be a small work. A large work I did took over 4 years to complete. I really love the process of taking wax and making it bronze. Once a work is cast in bronze it seems to take on a very real personality. I have a 300 pound gargoyle that seems to delight in the fact that every time I move him, he makes me bleed. Silicon bronze is very sharp, so I always wear gloves but he gets me every time. I should not have put such an evil grin on his face.
One of the first mediums that people are introduced to is painting…well, painting and drawing. I love the two dimensional world, but drawing and painting is like sweating blood for me. It can be done but the toll it takes is huge. The concentration it takes to produce a drawing or painting of any meaning is monumental. In working with other mediums, I can do multiple pieces at one time. Drawings and paintings occur slowly and individually. The problem is not representative- in other words, not an issue with being able to duplicate what is seen, but replicating a feeling. Ah…therein lies the problem. Many of my paintings have started and have never been completed, and many have consumed numerous hours. Expressing feelings with paint is a fantastic challenge to me and I cherish the time spent in front of a canvas.