Q: So, you’re a sculpting major in graduate school. What is it about sculpting particularly that appeals to you?
A: Well, I really like that I can make my ideas and static objects real. If it was a painting it’d just be like an image of an idea, and I like to bring my ideas to life in the best possible way – through sculpture.
Q: How would you describe your sculpture?
A: Lately I’ve been interested in dinosaurs and evil dogs and sharks. I really like sharks lately. A lot of it is just a mash-up of things, like a lot of two-headed animals and creatures.
Q: What’s the hardest part of sculpting for you?
A: It’s really intense; you have to be doing it all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I really love it. I guess the hardest part is not being able to sleep. I stay up pretty late. It’s a lot of hard physical labor, but I love it. I don’t think I’d be able to do anything else.
Q: What would be your normal process for a regular sculpture?
A: Well, usually I like to work with the wax directly. So, we’ll make it in wax, and then we’ll have to take it to the other studio, and in there we have this ceramic shell coating that we put on the wax.
And this process is called lost-wax casting. So eventually we’ll melt all the wax out and we’ll have the molds, and we’ll cast it into iron or bronze or aluminum. From there you have to sandblast it and do some cleanup.
Q: Do you have any other big art interests?
A: I like to paint, but that’s kind of taken a backseat lately, since I’ve just been so into my sculpture lately – which is nice. I mean, I’m really trying to make a lot of work in sculpture, because that’s my major, and I just started here.
Once I get settled in and figure out which direction I want to take with my work, then maybe I’ll be able to do a little painting. I want to try some woodcarving next semester, and build some big words.
I’ve had this idea to build a big “Awesome.” I want to make the letters spell out awesome, and paint it like the sky, so in the distance you’d see it and go “oh that’s awesome.”
Q: What are the biggest influences for your work?
A: Right now, Superman is a big influence of my work, and breakfast is a big influence. It’s my favorite meal of the day. Eggs, bacon, donuts are good, coffee.
Suckers and cigarettes are an influence. They’re just part of my everyday life and lately I’ve been using a lot of everyday objects in my work – things that are around me, things I have access to.
And I mean I’m taking Martha Holmes’s art history class of contemporary art, and so I guess that’s a pretty big influence on me right now, like reading about all the artists she’s talking about in class. I’m writing a paper on graffiti, so I guess that might be an influence.
Q: What was it that made you decide to make a career out of sculpting?
A: It’s the only thing I can really do. I worked in a restaurant for a really long time. When I grew up, my family ran a little restaurant, and you know, that was always an option for me, but I just really didn’t want to do that, and so I went to school and decided to go into art, because I was really drawn to painting.
I actually started as a painting major, and then got into sculpture, and made friends in sculpture. And the cast-iron art movement’s really big right now—not right now I guess, but it’s just something that’s actually happening, where artists are meeting each other and working together. So I made a lot of friends through the cast-iron movement and decided to come to Hays.
Q: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned as a sculptor?
A: I had a professor who’d say, “There’s no such thing as a starving artist, only a lazy artist.” I feel that’s true. I really think that a lot of it has to do with just working hard and making stuff.
Because if you’re not making stuff you’re doing other things, so then what defines you as an artist? Is it what you make, or how you act? And I definitely want me being an artist to mean I’m actually making art, making that my work.
Also, another thing I’ve learned is to wear your safety gear at all times. Wear goggles and gloves, because you can get hurt.