Artistic creation is the expression of mainly non formulated ideas and unconscious feelings — the crystallization of an emotion…Picasso once told a writer that “If he knew, if he were conscious of, what he intended to express in his work, he would not create it”. It is the tension of creating what is yet unknown to him, but astir within his inner self, which drives the creator to action.
The artist often expresses hidden unconscious feelings, sometimes in sublimated…uncontrollable, slip-of-the-finger manner… the emotions thus evoked will be projected into the work of art. This is “feeling oneself into” the work… an immediate and spontaneous reaction on the preconscious level, on the threshold of consciousness.
-African Sculpture Speaks, Ladislas Segy
The serene aura of the figures can be traced in part to the creative process. Each piece is individually modeled in clay, usually from the bottom to the top. The textures and markings are integral to the impact of the piece and are carefully applied. The faces and hands, being the most expressive, are modeled in detail while the figures are often more abstracted. They are fired in a large gas kiln for about 20 hours to 2200º F. The surface patina is created by removing the piece while red hot and quickly covering it with sawdust. After a few minutes the piece is removed, torched, and quenched with water. This process, a style of raku, causes the clay to absorb carbon and trace minerals creating varied metal-like surfaces.
With their closed eyes and delicate features, the meditative, reflective figures sometimes occur to me in dreams or in waking moments. Influences include, Alberto Giacometti, Aristide Maillol, Odd Nerdrum, and Jean Clos, as well as Asian, African and religious traditions. Quiet and meditative, the figures celebrate a timeless yet contemporary human dignity while presenting the viewer with metaphorical gifts.
People often ask, “What inspires you?" Recently I spoke to a collector who had her piece for several years. I asked if she was still enjoying it. She happens to be a police officer and the following is an excerpt from her reply.
"In my line of work, I see the worst in people daily and though I work hard to rise above it, some days are still rough… but then... I look at ‘Ping’ (the title she has given her piece). I stop..... and really look at him .... he stills me ......That beautiful peaceful face stills me, and I become centered, calmed."
In many of the works it is this essential feeling I am searching for and trying to bring into the piece. When this happens, it is deeply rewarding.