Behind the Scenes
Whenever I go to a gallery or visit a working artist, the place I really want to snoop around is in those places I'm not supposed to look. Usually there's a story there. The photos below do not tell a coherent story. They are snippets and images of who we really are and what we actually do. If you're just looking to purchase a sculpture, skip this section. There's nothing for sale and it's a bit weird and not terribly coherent. For the rest of you, well you were warned.
Here's a shot of me working on the sails for the Pax Notarius, pictured elsewhere in the CrossBow section. The Pax Notarius is the big treehouse/sculpture on our property. Its genesis is a bit weird. A while back I was working on a manuscript entitled, Tree House, and Pamela and I went out and bought a bunch of books on treehouses to research the book. In a word, we fell in love with the idea.
Later, we decided to make the dream a reality and started work. It was going to be a typical treehouse, windows, walls...a roof. But while we were working on the decking we had lunch, a bottle of pinot and it occurred to us that putting a roof,windows and walls over the most magnificent view I've ever seen...didn't make a lot of sense. It ended up a big black schooner and at the left I'm working on its truly gigantic sails. Many many gallons of special paint to protect them.
Like most people, a time came when Pamela said, "Boy our kitchen really looks like hell" or something like that. We went out to cabinet places and quickly discovered two things: 1. sticker shock and 2. everything looked...tastefully about the same.
We retreated and Pamela said, "Gee, you'd think that as artists, we could do something ourselves that'd be kinda cool." That line always works on me. Up in the studio, I set to, cutting copper panels, while Pamela gave them heat patinas. I made a copper maple leaf pot rack and low and behold, the tab came to approx. 1/10th the quotes at the cabinet stores. The copper is warm in appearance, durable, and at night the coloration is very friendly for entertaining.
Even in high school, I used to go in on the weekends to New York and watch the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballet troupes performing. I was mesmerized, but never ever...ever thought I'd meet one. Pamela was with Harkness Ballet when I met her and this is a shot of Pamela playing Odette in Swan Lake....my wild Hungarian ballerina. And what does this have to do with sculpting? Everything. Without Pamela, I would have quit the arts shortly after I entered. It was (and still is) ferociously competitive.
Our first REAL Gallery...in Tucson, Arizona
Our first shop was...my carport, and those were hard times. Our second shop wasn't a heck of a lot better, a run-down hacienda out in the foothills of Tucson. Lots of lizards and always hot. Our third shop was fun. It was in Trail Dust Town, and everything was supposed to be cowboy land. We'd drink beer after hours and back then you could even wear a sidearm in Tucson. I did...very briefly. It didn't help sales very much. Had a lot of artist friends there and cut my teeth learning how to deal with the public.
The photo to your left was our first real gallery. It was in a ritsy shopping mall up in the foothills. We faced the door with hammered copper, made our own open signs, and learned more about dealing with the public...a total necessity if you expect to survive.
If you wander around on our website, you'll quickly notice what most people would call an inordinate number of dog pictures. Well, that's because we absolutely LOVE dogs. They are our babies, and our very best friends. In the morning when I haven't shaved or showered...or gargled, they all gallop up onto the bed and it's play time for about twenty minutes. Heaven.
Pictured at the left is Moose. Moose guards things. Right now, Moose is guarding the computer, and possibly my chair. When he was born, Moose had a little seizure and his tongue tends to hang out of the right side of his mouth. Have you ever seen a cooler dog???
I threw in this photo for two reasons: 1. Contrast. 2. To show you the time and location where I actually started sculpting. Yup, it was in between flying sorties in Columbus Miss.. At the time this photo was taken, I had just soloed out in the "Tweet", a small twin engine jet fighter. It was a sweet sweet machine and flying it was a high point in my life. The sculpting came about in between the flying sorties, to keep my sanity. Go figure that one. It was also at this precise period that I asked Pamela to marry me.