Pinch me, I might be surreal

Wish Granted, cedar chair with swivel by Kim Marchesseault For an artist, there is a haunting pressure to choose a genre and work within it.   It can easily feel as though you have to suck everything in while someone laces the corset so tightly you can hardly breathe…no. I will not draw as I am told.

I want to be observant of what happens intuitively in my own work and amplify it rather than force myself in a narrow direction.  Some call this finding your voice.

It requires a good, long look in the mirror, and to avoid defining self based on the countenance of another.  For me one of the big issues is not that I let others define me. It’s much worse.  I allow them to stop me.

My work appears as many styles heading in different directions, yet there is this common philosophical, psychological element among each piece. Usually there is the unexpected. Often a transformation is represented. I sometimes place it subtly so not everyone picks up on it. Is this skill or lack of it?

I think it’s fear.  Keeping it subtle, keeping it small makes it easier to avoid being noticed. Horrors of my childhood sometimes leave me afraid to express and create. -Paralyzed by fear of failure and fear that someone will destroy or take away what I work hard on. I struggle but have made great strides recently to break free.

Some have looked at my work and tacked on the labels art deco/ art nouveau because of Letting in the Light by Kim Marchesseaultthe lines in my pieces. Absolutely, I have leanings toward those styles and the wonderful flowing lines. Some label my work Classical realism due to the detailed nudes I sculpt using live models. I love Michelangelo, Dr. Seuss, Disney, Lalique, Picasso.

I simultaneously finished the piece called Letting in the Light and it’s counterpart, A New Direction. Right there before my very eyes was the influence of O’Keefe’s florals in one and the soft edged buildings she’s known for in the other. A New Direction by Kim Marchesseault I’d been looking at her paintings right before I made those and was oblivious to the impression they’d made on me. And then there is my abstract, geometric work.   This is complete relaxation for me. These are all parts of my personality and expression.   I have had these separate parts meet up in some works much to my pleasure.  These are the pieces I find most thrilling. I love finding connections between things that from a shallow view appear to be completely unrelated. I love combining unexpected elements to share with others an idea.

My very first figurative sculpture is called The Pawn and is a woman/chess piece. The Pawn by Kim Marchesseault The model who posed for this piece began to cry at the end of the last session because she had a very ill pet whom she started worrying about so I changed the head (as though she wouldn’t have to cry anymore once I made this change). I divided the top of her head into three sections in a decorative manner unaware at the time I’d allowed psychology an entrance. My second piece is named Agony. My third figurative sculpture is called River’s Dawn, a reclining nude with flowing, long hair that becomes water. My fourth is a male standing with waves crashing against him looking up toward God in anguish. It’s called Why?

I also sculpt crazy techno bugs, and recently dandelions with buildings and skyscrapers as the petals. My latest figurative work is called Free Diver, a ceramic, floating, nude male designed to hang from the ceiling.

Who am I? I despise labels yet I seek one. I  loathe boundaries yet I search them out. Perhaps I should instead simply enjoy this journey of getting lost in art and finding pieces of myself. One day those pieces may fit together as a whole.

The sound of a voice

The Red Room at the Old San Francisco Steak House, former restaurant in Dallas I worked my way through college at a restaurant in Dallas called the Old San Francisco Steak House. The place was enormous with a large balcony surrounding the entire lower floor and a second kitchen upstairs.  Two grand pianos sat face to face on a stage up front,  and on some nights I was the girl in the red velvet swing, performing an act set to the music of duel pianos. On this particular night I was waiting tables.

It was someone’s birthday so I brought to my balcony table a piece of candy crunch cake ready with a candle and everyone I recruited to help me sing took position around.  We lit the candle and began when suddenly a man at the table stood up.

He was heavyset with a beard. He sang so clearly and powerfully in Italian, we stopped and listened.

The grand pianos downstairs that were engaged in a duo fell silent. You could hear silverware clinking against plates for a few seconds as people stopped eating and put their utensils down.  Staff from the kitchen came out into the dining area and stood quietly in white aprons. There was no talking. Nothing but the sound of this man’s incredible voice. He finished with a huge smile on his face and said, “For you. Happy Birthday, my friend!” He held his hands out toward his friend and the entire restaurant burst into a standing ovation.

Other waitresses asked me to request he sing for their tables and so I asked him if he would. He said, “No.  Tonight I sing only for my friend.”  Then he pulled me aside and told me what just happened was magical. He said the greatest honor a performer can receive is a standing ovation. He couldn’t top what had just happened. He said if he sung again and again there that night, people would grow tired of him and he wanted to enjoy that wonderful moment exactly as it was.

Thank you for the song and for that incredible moment. Farewell, Luciano Pavarotti.