TIME-SPACE-EXISTENCE – Hawaiian style
I started sculpting at age six. Sculpture became my way of expressing what I felt and was beginning to know of the world and the more you sculpt, the more your eyes see around an object, not just see the face but follow the form. This became my way of seeing the expanding world around me. I searched out other sculptors to experience the way they saw and expressed with their hands. Sculpting is seeing beyond words. Even with eyes closed, your hands can sense a shape, like reading Braille in a tongue you never knew before but instinctually comprehend. Through travels in Africa and Polynesia, I connected with native wood carvers. In Europe, everything was a sculpture, a history of sculpture in classic architecture, plazas, churches and fountains that spoke of ancestors walking these same streets creating their visions of the world, leaving legacies of living art. It was a way of being I embraced. What did they do with their Time? How did they inhabit their Space? What did they make of their Existence? They left their footprints here for all to see and follow. My work is a fusion of these experiences inspired by the soul of Hawai’i, my home.
Living many years in Hawai’i, I have learned a different sense of Time. It is not just the supposed slower pace of the island lifestyle, it is the voice of the Aina, the Land, that speaks beyond our perception of Time to a sense of Timelessness. In Hawaiian they speak in reverence of the Aina, but it encompasses so much more than that. With your first conscious breath in the morning, the Air inhales you. The birds wake you and the salt breeze sharpens your awareness. The crash of the waves is like a never ending heartbeat. The mountains and valleys stand like ancient guardians watching over an ageless but ever changing landscape. But beyond the beauty, there is a soul and a history of proud Polynesian ancestors whose spirits still hold sway, whose voices whisper in the wind. Time here is in the moment yet beyond time. Space is felt with one’s feet in the warm earth. Existence is a blessing to be sung with creativity bound in thankfulness. No wonder so many songs and dances of the Hula give praise to the sacred valleys, the mountains, the sea or the beauty of a special flower. What is Time to a place like this? This has changed my life and inspired my art.
This is the spirit that guides my work whether abstract or figurative. It, at its core, is organic but imbued with motion and story like the Hula. It is a dance of subtle gesture in flow, passing on a message without words. Bronze is a cold and inherently static material. The magic is to give it life. What is life but energy and spirit moving through Time and Space? Without movement, would we even exist? I strive to give my art this sense of motion and meaning. I believe in Story because these are the tales of our Existence on this Earth we pass on to others. Behind a good story lies a message, a lesson the Artist has gleaned from his own experience, sung in his voice and shared with the listener. The vocabulary of sculpture is of shape and texture, positive and negative space, repetition and dissonance or even a subtle gesture not unlike a poem but transmitted by light imbued with color. Like life, I leave the story half told and the viewer, in their own interpretation of the piece, completes the picture.
Lately, I’ve been drawn to creating sculptures that encourage the viewers to physically interact with the work. The sense of Space exemplified in Italy’s classic piazzas is truly an inspiration to me. Using my years of experience in construction, landscaping and art installation, when I create a sculpture I am also designing the Space around it. I try to incorporate water, fire, wind or light when possible. When I design for a commission, above all, I listen first to the stories of my client, to their sense of themselves, to the history of the land on which they intend to build and the architectural plans they have made. It is a dialogue and I allow that to percolate within me, distilling all that into one iconic vision, a story in three dimensional Space.