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Wire Sculpture / San Francisco, USA

 

As a child, being brought up Catholic, I remember the long Latin masses my family attended every Sunday. The stained glass windows of the churches were what intrigued me the most about these ceremonies. I loved the way the light lit up the primary colors of the glass and the black line that defined the images. I believe this was the first influence to the work I create today. I started drawing these “holy” images using pencil and ink. I liked their expressions and the flowing lines of their garments.

After ex-communicating myself from the church, I began painting with acrylics on thick watercolor paper. Still attracted to the human form, I did a series of portraits using photographs of Hollywood celebrities such as Valentino, Mae West, Eric Von Stroheim, James Dean, to name a few, expressing their “holiness” in a whimsical comic book style. I then moved on to painting mannequins in this style, mostly torsos. I liked the 3-D aspect. I painted these armless and legless forms into super-heroes, still using a thick, black line for the boundary of each color.

Soon I discovered wire and marbles. This changed by scale and subject and I became interested in jewelry design. I could now hold the black line in my hands and form small sculptures with bright colors, much like the stained glass windows of the churches, using black annealed steel wire and glass beads. I found a few boutiques and galleries around Los Angeles to sell my work, thus beginning my career as a “wireist”. Soon I was enthusiastically making jewelry for stores around the planet from my own private “sweatshop”. My work was sold in Japan and Germany and also used in TV and movies in the U.S. So as not to lose my enthusiasm, I occasionally stepped away from jewelry and made candelabras with my black wire and marbles.

A few years later, after hundreds of one-of-a-kind candleholders and thousands of kinds of jewelry, my focus went back to the human form, but this time with wire. I now make larger-than-life figures, some 8-10 feet tall. Mostly nudes, I define the features with an economy of line. Faces and hands are sometimes surprisingly life-like, while genitals and limbs are suggested by a scribble of wire and a marble, or the arc of a kneecap with a swirl.

The scale of these wire people sometimes changes from day to day. One day I’ll be working on the large figures, the next, small skeleton-like people, small wire torsos with marble heads or portraits with marble eyes that follow you around the room or change expression in a triptych. I will always find the human form the most interesting and the most satisfying to mimic.