Undergirding an artist's work is a philosophy. This is an invisible framework of principle just as bones and muscle are for the body. As it is possible to live a life without guiding principles, it is possible to do sculpture, paintings, etc. with no vision, but will the work have soul or will it be a design? Is it work done by artist or artisan? Craft is a part of art but it is not the heart of it. Art is not a replica of life but an interpretation of it.
I believe it is my task as an artist to find first what is within myself, then within the medium I am using, and thus to release a view of life so that others may also see.
In modern society, many are unsure of their role. Reminded constantly of the differences between us--male-female, young-old, pretty-ugly, rich-poor --we can forget that besides flesh, there are fundamental needs we all have in common. In terms of well being, emotional and spiritual needs are as important as physical. Sculptures can serve as bridges back to elemental places within ourselves, paths to feelings from which too often we have become estranged.
When I begin a work, the ethnicity of the sculpture is rarely a consideration. I do attempt to use a diversity of peoples whose faces could represent the four winds and all the races. I do this with deliberation because of the commonality that I see joining us all. Emotional, spiritual and physical truths are not particular to any one people or religious group as I believe that many of us are on the same road to God even though our paths may seem very different.
Whenever possible, I use the nude to portray the themes. I feel too often clothing becomes the message and the deeper truth is lost. If I used a Lakota warrior in full garb, that could become the story which might be fine if I didnít want it to be a statement about all men.
Sometimes clothing is important, and then I have to consider what might carry along the message best. An example of this is a piece I call Dance for the Morning Star. I did the piece as a nude, but I felt the emphasis on the dancing figure should be the upward thrust of the arm toward God and as a nude male in our society today that was not going to be true. I couldíve put him in jeans but I liked the body and so chose a loincloth which some might see as particular to Native Americans but in reality can be used by many peoples.
I write a brief statement about each piece but I do not go into great detail with it. I know more about the piece than I share. I do like to present a beginning for the viewer, but I want there to be things that can be discovered as someone sees the sculpture again and again. Were I to reveal all I see, this evolution of viewing could be prevented from happening.
I want my work to reflect
emotion, beauty, truth, and grace and hope for those who look at it to
be stirred to feel these elements within themselves. Some might say those
are lofty goals, but if we donít reach upward, we never know what we can