Friday, March 18, 2011

Mission for Muir!

I'm a sculptor who is passionate about continuing John Muir's legacy of preservation and conservation. It is my goal to keep his memory alive through sculpture because he is one of America's most important historical figures. He is a renowned naturalist, explorer, writer, and conservationist who is considered the forefather of the modern environmental movement. However, John Muir is underrepresented in sculpture and I am dedicated to help remedy this. But, I need your help!

I created a bronze sculpture entitled "Mountain Muir" as a tribute to a great hero and champion of the environment.


Your donations will help install this sculpture at the University of the Pacific Library (home of the John Muir papers since 1970). By depicting Muir as the vigorous man of action that he was I hope to inspire all who visit there to pursue their life's passion and to be people of action and change in their lives and in the world around them.

It is my vision and my dream to install life size statues of Muir at Pacific, Muir Woods, Yosemite, and Dunbar, Scotland (his birthplace). Because these places are visited by people from all over the world, Muir sculptures there could help inspire visitors to take the message of conservation and preservation to their home, inspiring nature protection around the world.

For more about John Muir

With your help, this will be the first of many John Muir sculptures/statues around the world. But I need YOUR help to jumpstart this vision and dream!

My goal is to raise $3000 for "Mountain Muir" to be installed at The University of the Pacific. Funding above this will go toward a life-size statue of Muir for installation on the grounds of The University of the Pacific. If we don't reach our goal by the deadline, we will continue to seek to raise funds through other sources.

Help me promote Muir Awareness!!!

PLEASE SHARE THIS CAMPAIGN!

My campaign can be found on IndieGoGo (Mission for Muir) or on my website (UOP Campaign).

You can help by getting the word out to your family and friends -- make some noise! Send them a Tweet, post us on Facebook, or send an email.

Thanks for your time and support. Please share your comments and questions.

YOU can help bring this "Mountain Muir" sculpture to life and keep the legacy and spirit of a brilliant hero like John Muir alive for future generations!

Your donation will make a difference.

With sincere gratitude -- Will


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The importance of sculpture


Consider for a moment what we would know of ancient cultures without art. From the cave paintings of the Cro-Magnons to the Pieta of Michelangelo to the great work of our modern masters, art has been one way we humans have expressed ourselves through the ages. Before the written word, art was the only way our ancestors were able to convey their religious beliefs, their views on the world around them and the things that they felt were most important.

We make immediate associations to a long gone culture through their artworks left behind. For instance, when we think of ancient Egypt, we think of the Pyramids and the Sphinx among other things. Their art helped define who they were long ages after the last of the Pharaohs had perished.
 
 

How about the ancient Greeks with their statues of athletes and gods -- seeking to show the perfection of the human form, or the Romans seeking to show their Caesars as gods.



 

Art tells so much about the people or societies, as it were, responsible for it. Take a look at the Moai statues of Easter Island, the temple decorations of the Mayans, the terra-cotta army of China’s first Emperor, the Renaissance statues of Italy, and the Lions outside of the New York Public Library.




With the exception of the last sculpture pictured, what would we really know about these ancient cultures without art? What were they trying to convey for their descendants by creating sculpture in stone and metal?  What are we trying to convey with the guardian lion?


Painting vs Sculpture: What will endure?

The cave of Lascaux in France preserved the Cro-Magnon cave paintings there, made over 30,000 years ago, because they were not open to air. Once the cave was opened and the paintings exposed to air and moisture, they started to deteriorate. In fact, you can not visit the original cave anymore. A new one with replicated paintings was created for tourists.

A painting left to the ravages of the elements may not last a decade without constant care, while a statue in bronze or stone can last thousands of years. It is obvious that those who made these works of art and those that commissioned their making, wanted them to last for ages as a testament to who they were. It was their way of saying us, “Remember me”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of painted works. I find them rich and inspiring. With proper care, they can last for centuries or longer. So, why then do we make monuments in stone and metal?  First, the simple answer...they endure the elements without the need for constant upkeep. 

Now, the not so simple answer...


Sculpture lives!

 Sculpture endures throughout the ages, because it does what paintings can not. It can be viewed from many different angles and in varied lighting which gives more or less emotive power to the piece. A painting, on the other hand, is what it is. Lighting may allow you to see the picture better or not, but it doesn’t change its emotive quality.


Light and shadow to a sculpture can bring a piece of stone or metal to life. Anyone who has ever been to “The Haunted Mansion” at Disneyland, has seen the effect of light and shadow as they have passed the watchful busts that seem to turn their head and follow you.

Auguste Rodin clearly understood this and used light and shadow on his sculptures to help bring out the life within them. Just take a look at the forlorn looks on the faces of his "Burghers of Calais".  Light and shadow are used so effectively throughout the piece to bring out the emotions of each of the Burghers as they face their deaths to save their city.




I say sculpture lives, because of the way it interacts with nature and the environment where it is placed. The play of sunlight throughout the day and the onset of twilight until finally the shadows of darkness fall upon it, create different emotive looks for the sculpture, causing it to be perceived differently by the viewer.   Too much light and the piece is washed out, too little light (or too heavy shadow) and the piece can become washed out as well.  However, in such cases, one may need to only change their viewing angle to gain new perspective on the piece.  It can be an emotional and moving experience for the viewer or nothing at all.  Much depends on the eye of the beholder and their state of mind when viewing the piece.

Sculpture also lives because we can interact with it, like we interact with the solid objects of the world around us…trees, rocks, waterfalls, buildings, or our friends and family. Take for instance this wonderful sculpture of Ben Franklin located in Smithfield, VA. 



And like the world around us, sculpture helps enhance, or at the very least, add interest to an area.

How will we be remembered?

Today, we still create monuments and statues of those things we find important. When our buildings have crumbled and our electronic records are lost to the ravages of time, what will we have left behind of who we were? Will a civilization thousands of years from now, be able to tell who we were by those things that have endured? How about two or three decades from now in our own families? Are we complacent to see the memory of those dear to us fade away, as surely as photos in an album or do we seek to immortalize them in a more lasting art form?

Some may say it is morbid to have portraits of those dear to us, or dear to our grandparents in our homes. While others are happy to have what they describe as the comforting presence of their ancestors close to them. Whatever one’s personal view of portrait busts are, perhaps it should be pointed out that sculpture can be used not only to memorialize those dear to us, but to capture a moment in time forever. Maybe its that loving look shared between a couple, a mother with her baby, the sweetness of a child at play, or a triumphant moment for an athlete. Moments like these can be relived for decades to come and can stand on their own as emotive works for your own family or others for long years to come.

Art also helps define who we are or what we find beautiful.  It can be used to enhance an otherwise uninteresting niche in our home or be a constant source of encouragement or comfort to us.  Our ancestors knew this and used sculpture much in the same ways I've already described above.  They just did it in the style of their particular culture.  We may remember them in an instant for their greater works, but every year a person discovers an ancient artwork that they are surprised to find is so relevant to their life.

We know how our distant ancestors left their mark on history and how they wanted to be remembered.

How will we choose to be remembered? 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nature's Prophet

John Muir sits upon a boulder in Nature's cathedral, his eyes alighting upon the wonders that have been the source of his daily inspiration. His mind races to find a way to put into mere words a way to describe what can only be experienced. Like the prophet Moses leading his people into the wilderness, so too has he come to free us from our troubles and tell us all...

"Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away
once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week
in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."
~ John Muir

John Muir inspires me everyday to be a better steward of the environment and to do my best to preserve and protect it and I would like to share that inspiration with others. I am devoted to keeping the memory of John Muir and his legacy alive in the best way I know how. Being an artist, this has been to create him in sculpture.

For more information on this piece, please visit my website page on him at:  Nature's Prophet