A_r_t_i_s_t_’s_ _S_t_a_t_e_m_e_n_t_ _
(What is the most important information that the public should know about this piece? How did you come to create it? What is it/What does it represent to you?)
The above questions were posed to me by the WANDELL SCULPTURE GARDEN in Urbana Illinois where I recently installed my sculpture "Early Morning Walk"
This is my reply:
I woke up at six o'clock one morning in 2008 and said to myself, "I should immortalize someone today," (being a sculptor I do this from time to time).
And that day being a Thursday I needed to get the garbage out.
So, as I was approaching the curb with the garbage, I saw a young rabbit in his pajamas walking his dog.
Normally this would not have made much of an impression, but this was a short, sort of pudgy rabbit, and his pajamas did not fit him very well. His pants were continually falling down.
He also had on pink slippers, which I considered somewhat odd, and which stood out quite prominently in the early morning light.
Later in the day, as I was preparing to immortalize someone, I remembered this young rabbit and his dog. It had been quite a while since I had focused on anyone and there was something about the relationship between the two that seemed worthy of my mission. They were certainly convenient.
It occurred to me that if I made the rabbit taller and somewhat thinner he would be much more attractive.
But I immediately decided keep his slippers just as I remembered them.
The dog needed a complete makeover, however.
He was unkempt, to say the least.
I lightened him up a bit (he was a dirty brown color) and I gave him a dog "sweater"(or perhaps they are "dog pajamas").
The weather was getting cooler and I wanted to elevate the dog's standing in society by providing him with proper clothing. Artists are able to use their judgement on such matters. I knew I had to make the dog's clothing the same color as the rabbit's pajamas so that the work of art would be perceived as a coherent "whole" rather than as two separate entities.
It was at this point in the whole process a solution occurred to me.
"If I emphasize the blue polka dots in both the rabbit's and the dog's pajamas, and actually physically cut them into the steel, I can get the weight down on my sculptures significantly," I thought.
I often struggle with the weight of my artwork.
I do not know how successful this idea was, but like a lot of things, once I had done it, I was stuck with it.
I do know that when I showed the piece at Art Basel in October of the following year, not one person commented on the polka dots.
In fact no one commented on my work at all.
I remind myself though, that an artist's work is seldom appreciated in his or her lifetime.
It took quite a while to finish this sculpture, as I was trying to get the rabbit's face to look both pensive and quizzical.
Many of my works attempt to show this characteristic . Yes its a little thing, but little things are important. I believe that such a look provides a window into the soul of the work.
Because I took so long on the "pensive and quizzical look" I missed the application deadline for a major show at the Whitney in New York.
However, I did get to show "Early Morning Walk" in Stamford Connecticut. I feel ok about that, as Connecticut actually borders New York and some New Yorkers probably got to see it.
Seeing as how it was early in the morning when all this started, I decided to title my work
" Early Morning Walk."
It was 2009 when I finally got it finished.