Sunday, April 29, 2012

#24 9" clay reduction of Paganini

Here is a demo I made yesterday showing the creation of a miniature version of Niccolo Paganini. The miniature sculpture is 9" height and will be cast in bronze this year, 2012. In the video (which is sped up at 20x normal speed) I demonstrate the entire clay process which took me 6 hours to make.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#23 evaluating my processes and techniques

For the past month I have been spending more time thinking about processes and techniques than I have been sculpting on my own works. There are bucket loads of ideas worming around in my little head and popping out when I least expect it; at night as soon as I hit the lights, on the toilet, when someone is talking to me. It is odd to most people, but I'm sure this is what all artists deal with-getting ideas out of nowhere. I do go through dry spells and I feel that it is natural, but I'm learning how to get out of them as they sometimes scare me: "what if I grow old and this is it, no more ideas" or "so this is what happened to Bernini when he got older". I'm determined to never let that happen! It is a promise to the universe that I've made-I will always have new ideas for sculpture. Period. So rethinking my processes and techniques is only to better serve the ideas and get them out there. The areas that are in need of major adjustments for me are armature building and reference materials. I have found that if I have all of that at hand I can usually go through a piece relatively quicker and achieve a high quality sculpture. If I don't have enough reference material or if I have questions I am tremendously slowed down and sometimes the sculpture will sit for way too long. Example: I started a sculpture over 10 years ago "Violinist" (not "Paganini", this was way before that) and it still sits in a storage shed in California! When I see it, I get very sad! I wish there was time as I would like to destroy it. The problems I ran into on that are deeper than I could fix, I had used sulfur based clay (which inhibits rubber mold making), the rebar armature was when I was learning to weld and has weak welded joints and it was a poorly planned out sculpture where I didn't make a small maquette first to work out bad angles, etc. 10 years later, I've made improvements in my sculpture (I don't use sulfur clays, I've learned how to tig weld and I make small clay studies before starting large pieces). However, there are still areas to improve that would make sculpting go much quicker and give a better end result. I recognize that I would like to have a variety of small aluminum armatures handy and ready to position and add clay to. Having these would allow me to jump right in a piece if I feel inspired to do so. This leads me to the second improvement I want to make, having all necessary reference photos printed and organized by sculpture. I've created a folder in my filing cabinet called "New Sculpture" and have been looking through photos I've taken of models, of myself, in different poses from all angles that I will print and put in their like a waiting line at the liquor store on a Saturday night. The reference photos answer many questions for me as a sculptor and are very important to keeping the piece fresh and alive-at least in my minds eyes. These two things are key to me producing more sculptures and I hope to finalize my thoughts on this soon so I can get back to creating clay people and more interesting blog posts!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

#22 The birth of desire

When I was at the Academy of Art University one of my teachers, whom was a well respected artist as well as teacher, told his intermediate anatomy class that only 1% of us would make it as sculptors. This perked my ears up. It was meant to discourage I think, but got me curious about sculpture. I started researching what my teacher was creating artistically, his past works, education, etc which then introduced me to other sculptors works which led to me signing up for more sculpture classes. Essentially what this one statement did was challenge me and get me curious about a field that was apparently difficult to get into. This curiosity led to my passion which led to developing the necessary skills as a sculptor.  

When someone says something negative regarding generalizations one must look at why they would say such a thing and challenge it. If it is not proven challenge it, if it is proven challenge it anyways! You must always try to prove people wrong! Eventually you will find your passion and the people that support you no matter what; learn to embrace them and bring them into your life. Surround yourself with those that recognize your passions. The others respectfully discard and do not allow them to make choices for you! When you surround yourself with these supportive people you can begin to take the necessary criticism seriously as you begin to know them and they begin to know you. A general comment coming from a frustrated artist/teacher who maybe was rejected over a project is someone you cannot trust and you should not make decisions based off of someone who had a bad day!

As I got older I remembered what my teacher had told me, but it got me thinking more and more about sculpture. I became more and more curious about it, although I didn't realize it I was training myself for becoming a sculptor. After sculpting a few pieces soon after college I decided to apply for a job as a halloween mask maker. To my surprise I was hired. I was fortunate to be hired by someone who was incredibly ambitious, very talented, managed a multi-million dollar halloween company CMN Enterprises and Illusive Concepts, and quite simply was an amazing and inspirational man-and he believed in me enough to hire me. His name was Mario Chiodo. Mario trained me with the tricks of sculpting in the halloween industry and eventually pulling me aside to work with him and his clients directly as he created a second sculpture business: life size sculptures for the Las Vegas Hotel industry which was booming in the late 90's. Mario had me drawing and making small maquettes as designs for large sculptures for hotel lobbies and courtyards. This, in turn, led to me going to Italy (at Mario's suggestion) which cemented my desire to become a sculptor. I have not looked back since!

I had a lot of support in the arts beginning when I was a young child, but there has always been challenges and for every person who supported me I was dealt a handful of rejections and doubts. This is simply how the universe works when making a decision: testing us and once we've passed the test, supporting us and eventually being tested all over again followed by support. My decision to ignore these people and their unsupportive statements and by bringing in the necessary support in my life as a young artist was telling the Universe "hey, I WANT to be a sculptor!!" And the Universe supported that once I learned to overcome the challenges and doubts. Although there are still challenges and doubts, now I look at them differently.

Monday, April 9, 2012

#21 Tennis Player Alberta Brianti Sculpture

Sutton Betti.
Alberta Brianti clay for bronze, life size dimensions
Colorado, USA

Nearing completion on the clay sculpture of Alberta Brianti. The sculpture will be in a limited edition of 10 and cast in high quality silicon bronze. A small version of the sculpture (quarter scale) will be available in a limited edition and also cast in bronze. I'm planning on having the quarter scale piece and the life size plaster at the 2012 Loveland Sculpture Invitational.