Historians describe how the great artists were "of their time" and how their works gave guidance and inspiration "in their time." In their now. Serious contemporary sculptors (like me!) feel this obligation deeply. To properly do my work as a serious sculptor, I must somehow express MY now.
Each artist works from a palette they know, looking for a shade expressing some version of now and hoping that magical force which made them artists will guide that shade in their hand to an understanding of--now.
Happily, I find myself composing my next sculpture and again looking for that perfect shade. It is a struggle, but worth it in the end. I feel that my now is the clash of joy and hope against a backdrop of politics, despair, and disease. Don't worry. I'm not about to cut my ear off. But, you notice, the essence of sculpture--uncertainty-- hits its peak during composing time.
When I look at history to find other artists' expressions of nows which enlightened, arrested and informed their contemporaries, I find “Guernica,” by Picasso, “The Terra Cotta Warriors” (by who-knows) and “Liberty Enlightening the World” by Bartholdi as examples of a now-connect in art. Many others exist. These describe fully the devastation, the fear, and the aspiration of their time. Their fame in our time comes from "nailing it" in their time.
So, what to do? What to make of my now? What DOES the world need?
I thought about this lots and discussed it late at night with my muse. (The muse works overtime--no union.) I plan a sculpture combining joy and despair together, a monumental contradiction, but, I believe, the essence of our time.
I never did this before, but I plan also to elicit your ideas as the sculpture progresses. The idea resides in my head now, but I know that as it pushes out into designs and then permanence, it will take many turns. Turns you can be part of. In future letters I will describe more details, but for now, I envision a figure seated on a park bench in stunned despair while an etherial ballerina dances unseen behind both him and the bench. As sculptural permanence approaches, ideas will yield to form, and form to solid art, but along the way, I would love your ideas and help.
After all, it is YOUR ’now,’ too.