Over the course of the past few months I have been reaching out to peers and mentors in my field. It has been rewarding and enriching.
Some artists and others have an attitude of keeping their arms around their work- not sharing process or collaborating or communicating. We have a tendency to be alone in our own studios especially after we are out of a school context.
Maybe its fear, maybe it's competition, maybe it's immersion in our own work or lives- or maybe it's simply lack of interest that pushes us in this direction.
I know I have been limited by my own experience and that I have been inspired by not only seeing other artists work but by being in their studios, talking about how they make things, seeing them teach, sharing process, exchanging ideas.
One of them is my dear friend Jonathan Bickart. He’s a killer teacher on the Westside of LA. When I started teaching he could have been threatened by a new teacher opening a small studio class, but that wasn’t his reaction at all. Instead he invited me into his studio to see how he teaches…RADICAL.
We are such different sculptors and teachers and have such different things to offer that the notion of being in competition is absurd- but nevertheless, it could have existed with someone else.
I have learned so much from him, he’s truly inspirational. He has the largest – and ever growing library of art books I have ever seen, and pulls them out constantly, using images to inspire students and make them think and grow. I have tremendous respect for him. To work in another’s studio for the first time in years is an awesome experience too. It’s incredibly freeing. I’m able to do things I can’t do in my own studio by myself (like lifting 150 lbs of clay). So I’m having a blast.
In addition he is an accomplished and profoundly interesting artist with a broad spectrum of work. I can’t say enough good things about him as a person, an artist and a friend.
Here’s a piece I’ve been working on in his awesome studio.
I've shared the process of sculpting a piece for the first time ever. It's been an intense process over a long period of time, interspersed with many other things in my life- exhibitions, commissions, teaching... It's hard to say when a piece is finished. But in this case, the clay is telling me it is.
Many other sculptors think I'm crazy for working with water-based clay for this reason: the working time is finite, but so be it. I hate chavant, and plasteline, and classic clay (all oil based options that sculptors insist I try.) If I didn't I could work on this sculpture forever. I wouldn't be running into shrinking and drying issues and wrapping with plastic and so on. But its kind of nice to know it has a somewhat natural end.
My dear friend, Jonathan Bickart, came over and worked with me on her hair last Saturday, gave me some unbelievable wisdom. Thank you Johnathan.
In any case, here are parting shots of Sara. Mold begins next weekend.