Monday, October 8, 2012

Sculpting a Goddess – Q&A with Sculptor Adam Schultz

Adam Schultz sculpts what many term, ‘goddesses’ - large, ample, luscious feminine forms that are plentiful in body, flesh and curves. I stumbled upon his art-form last year and fell in love. I reached out to him to see if he’d be willing to do a Q&A for my blog. I’ll be candid, I tend to be selfish when it comes to satisfying my own curiosities, but this I pursued with it in mind to share with my readers. I'm sure you'll appreciate his immense talent as much as I do. Enjoy! 

To start this... Your Goddess sculpture truly speaks to the feminine allure of roundness, curves, voluptuousness and plus size grace and beauty. Dare I say there is a bit of the sacred molded into your pieces? Your mastery is self-evident to a trained eye. With all the wondrous ranges and possibilities out there, I'm curious...

Q#1 - Are you willing you share or reveal how you personally came to appreciate this female body type? 

A#1 - I'm not sure how most people come to appreciate one certain body type or another, or for that matter what brings most people to be attracted to anything, really. I imagine that we are all born with certain hard-wired human traits, and are also influenced to a large extent by the environment in which we live.

As a figurative artist, I've come to appreciate all sorts of different body types as beautiful or sculptural... large, small, older, younger… I seem to find something unique and beautiful in everyone. I love trying to capture those qualities I see in people through my sculpture.

To answer your question though, I guess I've always appreciated women with rounder, fuller figures than any of the stick-thin images of models we see that are so popular in today's culture. It's just that there's something so beautiful and sensual about the way the flesh looks on a real woman. With all of her soft, fleshy curves, spilling and undulating mellifluously over her body... beauty. No denying it.

Q#2 - Can you elaborate on examples/sources of inspiration? (philosophy, art history, social, etc.)

A#2 -  Oh I love all the renaissance masters ... Rodin, Michelangelo, Bernini, & P.P. Rubens of course, to name a few. I like Botero, but his work leaves me unsatisfied somehow. Too cartoony or ‘baloony’ or something. I saw really very little contemporary art in the world that depicted rubenesque women with the sense of beauty and grace that I longed to see out there.

Q#3 - Do you use models? Or work from images and your mind/imagination?

A#3 -  All of the above. I’m constantly imagining new ideas for sculptures and often work them out on paper and in clay. When I have a model sit for me, I usually take photos of her and then work from them. as the sculpture nears completion, I may ask the model to return for a final sitting.

Q#4 - The poses for your sculpture pieces truly reflect the ample feminine form in more relaxed, and sensually alluring lines. What can you share or divulge about conveying that type of sensuality in a bronze piece? Challenges perhaps?

A#4 -  For some of my sculptures, the smooth, transparent, honey-colored patinas you can achieve with bronze really lend my figures a softness that you wouldn’t get with another medium. Bronze is a warm metal that can be cast into just about anything you might imagine. The foundry's job is to make the casting look just like the artist envisioned it. Sometimes it takes more work than others, depending on the complexity of the project.

I create the original sculpture in clay and then have it cast in bronze. The lost-wax casting method is a 12 step process involving up to 30 workers and 6 small business and takes 3 months to a year for completion of a finished bronze sculpture. It’s an ancient, violent process that enables the sculptor create a limited edition of replicas of the original that may actually outlive our society. I like to wonder if future archeologists are going to dig up some of these delightfully abundant ladies of mine and ponder on them as one of the few remaining examples of life in our culture today.

Q#5 - What can you share about the 'round' & circle parts in these sculptures? Meaning? Intent? The Goddess connection?  (I love the names for both of these pieces, & would love to own Meditation or a piece similar to it, btw...)

A#5 -  They have different meanings and references. "Round, Perfect, Beautiful" draws the viewer's attention at first with the shiny, beautiful, perfect circle, and then the discovery is made of the small, round, proud lady on top. My idea was to bring people's attention to the things they view as beautiful... A round circle - a round woman? I include other forms in my work like rocks, metaphoric or not, which I like to make appear weightless.

Q#6 - If you're willing, tell me about how your first sculpture came to life. Was it of a round, curvy woman?

A#6 -  I think the first sculpture I remember doing after finding some particularly clay-like mud for my mud-pies, was that of a kind of squishy man of sorts, when I was 6 years old, LOL.

Q#7 - Our culture has a great deal of negative attitudes about 'abundant' female form. What are some of your thoughts on this? Any advice or insight for abundant women? Anything you'd like to speak to or share with other men who are admirers of the abundant female form?

A#7 - It seems that today the media actively promotes the idea that people with the skinny body type are beautiful, and people with any other body types are repulsive. It's the last form of prejudice in our society that we allow, really. I feel like it’s a malicious campaign perpetuated by the fashion , health/fitness industries, and the diet pill manufacturers designed to sell more products to unhappy consumers. The severely photo-shopped images of (literally) impossibly wafer-thin fashion models give our youth such backwards ideas of what is beautiful, they are regularly starving, vomiting, mutilating, and hating themselves their whole lives in order to try and  fit in.

My daughter was 4 years old when she first told me that she felt fat and needed to diet.

I feel like it’s important to get as many size-positive images of people out in the world as possible. It's one of the best ways we can affect change in the world. Art communicates ideas at a sub-conscious level sometimes more powerfully than words ever could.

This fixation on the 'skinny' as the iconic beauty is only a recent phenomenon historically, anyway. Up until the late 50's, all throughout history, the curvy woman was the most desirable. It's true, you can look it up.

Watching people's expressions change as they look at my sculptures is one of my favorite pastimes. I love the joy, and the amazement that lights up the faces in folks as they realize that they actually like this sculpture even though they somehow think they shouldn't.  It shakes them up, :-) as art is supposed to.

As I've toured the country showing this 'goddess series' to people at shows and galleries, I've often shared tears with someone who'd spent their entire lives feeling disgusting in the eyes if the world and who, when suddenly confronted with a sculpture of a large, curvy woman looking so beautiful, suddenly realizes that it looks just like they do, themselves. That’s the best.

Thank you Adam, I couldn't agree more. ~ Ruby Madden