January 30, 2009

Artist's statement. Writing an artist's statement is always difficult for me. I came to art after a full career as a college professor in geography. Thus I got a late start and sometimes feel as though I have several decades of catching-up to do - several decades of artistic expression backed up in me.

Let me start simply. I work in clay, and I do mostly figurative work - "figures" meaning both human and animal subjects. My style tends toward the realistic, but there can also be some abstraction and sometimes humor. I am fascinated by people's faces and have done quite a few portraits of people - not commissioned portraits, but interesting faces that I see in newspapers, on the street, or composites of various facial characteristics. I am also impressed by the subtle nuances of body language that we humans are sensitive to, and I try to incorporate those details of unspoken - maybe unconscious - communication in my sculpture.

Inevitably, as with most artists, my sculpture is a reflection of things that interest me, and I try to communicate whatever that quality is that fascinates me to people who see my work. The best part is, though, that each person sees the world through her/his own unique lens, and so in looking at art, we all project our own personal interpretations and meanings onto it. I makes little difference what I intended to say in a sculpture; what really counts is what you see there!
Biographical information. I was born in Atlanta, GA, and grew up there and in West Palm Beach, FL. When I was old enough to get out on my own, I moved back to Atlanta for college, work, and college (in that order). I dropped out of college the first time after only a year; then worked for several years in low-level jobs in retail and banking (long enough to learn that I needed more education if I was ever going to get anywhere); and finally back to school to complete my education.

I ended up with a Ph.D. in geography - specifically cartography, or mapmaking - and taught that subject for about 20 years, first at the University of Victoria in British Columbia and then at the University of South Carolina. Cartography is sometimes defined as the art and science of mapmaking : I always had a"feel" for art but never any formal training, so cartography enabled me to combine my attraction to artistic endeavors with a scientific application in a discipline that provided a job and paycheck. It was a good meshing of my needs and interests, although I was mostly unaware for a long time of how neatly things had fallen in place for me.

At some point a few years ago, I had the crazy notion that I wanted to try doing some clay sculpture, so I took a class with Britta Cruz at the local Parks and Recreation studio. That did it! I was immediately in love with sculpting; it felt so right, so natural. Within a year I had retired from my position at the university and began my sculpting full time. It's a new, wonderful, fulfilling life for me ... not a second childhood but a second adulthood.

My Studio is at 808 Lady St. in Columbia, SC. It's in a district of downtown known as the Congaree Vista, an old warehouse and industrial area which has been transformed into an arts, entertainment, and restaurant/bar center of the city. I share the building with 12 other artists (painters, sculptors, and a fiber artist), each with our individual studios. In addition, the building includes an excellent gallery space where we hold our own shows 2 or 3 times a year and which we rent out to other artists at other times. The studios are known collectively as Vista Studios, and the gallery is Gallery 80808.

To visit the studio/gallery website, which includes a calendar of events, click HERE.

I am a full-time artist and so go to my studio almost every weekday and occasionally on weekends. It's a perfect working environment for me, and I feel very lucky to be a part of the artist-group at Vista Studios. Here are some images of me at work in my studio: