ashamed to express myself artistically in any fashion for a long time after that , so I never pursued art in school .
I have since learned to embrace my gift and trust my intuition . What I once thought to be an imperfection in myself , I now recognize as a family problem and not a reflection of who I am . In coping with childhood trauma , I have been blessed with the gift of disassociation a retreat from the present into an inner world . It ’ s kind of like a time travel . From here I am able to create objects that manifest from both my pain and my gift . Now I am actually grateful for my childhood because it ’ s taken me to this amazing place in my life where I feel I do have a voice . I named the copper faced bone sculptures my “ Prince of Tides Series ” ( see page 17 ) and I hope to offer some inspiration to others who may have faced similar trauma .
Tell us more about your artistic process . What is like to work with bones ? Briefly share some of the advantages and disadvantages .
Bone is a lot like working with ivory : it ’ s harder than wood , but softer than most stone . It picks up the light in a beautiful way ; the inner material is porous and can be used to accentuate shading . Discolorations from the soil it laid in stain its surface and can create different tones . It requires a lot of sanding to rid the exterior crust and reveal the luminous ivory beneath . Because bone is a living material , no matter how old , the bacteria that was in the bone still exists . The dust can be quite toxic , so I have to wear a mask and use a downdraft system . I use a variety of tools such as Dremels , dental tools , and bone saws . Some tools I ’ ve made myself , and some I ’ ve modified .
On a visit to The Peary Macmillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College in 2014 , I saw “ Spirits of Land , Air and Water : Antler Carvings from the Robert and Judith Toll Collection ”, a magnificent display of Inuit sculpture . I was moved to know I was not alone in my fascination with this beautiful medium . I ’ d always felt that I was doing something traditional and sacred , and seeing the way Inuits honored the spirit world with the same medium confirmed it . It was like I ’ d been given divine permission to push forward with my vision .
You have successfully been able to create both realistic and abstract forms of art through using bone as a medium . What are your thoughts about realism vs abstract art ?
Do you feel that abstract art should be held to the same credibility as realism art ?
Through experimentation , I ’ ve learned to let go and allow images to emerge from imagination . I find when I try to be overly realistic , the work tends to look contrived or I ’ m unhappy with my lack of precision . I do my metal work under intense magnification , and I have a lot more control with that medium . The face of “ Twins ”( page 13 ) works because it ’ s a realistic interpretation of how I envision an ancient armored mask to look . As for the body , I simply enhance what is already there ; I give it a mask , scales , arms , and position the piece in an upright human posture . Perhaps the composition strikes a balance between abstract and realism which creates an effective fantasy .