Two of the best artists I’ve known were fluid on the choice of media. Given the correct tools and approach, any material could yield to the creative genius. Both of them loved a challenge.
Warburton, my Baltimore mentor, gleefully recounted how he had worked with an ice sculptor on an elaborate piece for a wedding. He’d never worked with ice or chainsaws before. Warburton claimed it was oddly liberating. It encouraged some interesting, fun pieces in the snow with his grandchildren. The media’s impermanence was “captivating” to someone who worked in wood, silver, and gold.
Louis Charpentier was indifferent to media type also. Starting as a child on a farm in Quebec, his first creations had been in scrap wood, and the subjects had been the pets and barnyard animals on the farm. By the time he was the design chief of a plastics firm, he had carved everything from steel to balsa. But his favored material in later years was common styrofoam.
I once intensely offended a student by carving common pine; it should be quartersawn and perfect wood. But eloquent work is less about the media used and more about the artist. Don’t let prejudice blind you.

5 Replies to “Media”

  1. So very true! I have to apologize for the winter discussion. I just saw what your winter was like right now and had forgotten how darn cold it gets there. I lived in NJ near the boardwalk in Asbury Park for 6 months. Never been that cold in my life. Stay warm.

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    1. Unfortunately, getting dine detail in styrofoam is tricky.
      The figures were part of the Christmas display in front of his house. There’d be as many as 140 figures in the tableau, and you didn’t notice some of the chunky features while taking in the complete scene. Many of my photos were taken on film and most of the shots of the whole display were done at night; with the inevitable result that they weren’t very good, so I don’t share them.

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