Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Creating Courage: Johnny by William Eicholtz

It was the image above that first drew me to the creation of COURAGE. The image, featuring model, sketch and sculpture with the process piece that had me wanting to find out more. Below, sculpture William Eicholtz shares some of the behind scenes stories of the models who helped create COURAGE.

'For the COURAGE sculpture I ended up using 2 different models to get the right 'tone' for the piece. Their sessions were alternated with each other and both were fantastic.'

'I started with Daniel, a fabulous toned dancer whose passion for the arts was evident from the outset. He is in wonderful shape and a real joy to work with, but as the sculpture progressed, the anatomy of the sculpture became more and more like superman- ripped and quite intimidating on the scale I was working. That's when I asked Johnny, if he would also model. Johnny was thrilled and equally enthusiastic, and his figure brought a softness and youth to the forms I was modelling. The combination of the two body types has made a natural, beautiful figure.'

'I wanted to steer clear of imperious, fascist body image of 'perfection' for the message of this sculpture- 'the Courage to be your true self, whoever you are inside'. I believe the sculpture I have made is not intimidation, but approachable and human. Of course the references to classical male images are obvious. The Michaelangelo 'David' comes to mind, with his gaze, raised left arm and curly mane. I also tried to reference classical Greek and Roman Hercules images who wears the lion skin in a similar way.'

'From a personal point of view, I feel that a good model makes a significant contribution to the creation for a work of art. Their passion to make art and be part of a creative process is really important to happily spending the many hours it takes to create a work. What may start as a novelty soon becomes many hours of tedious standing around as I work on subtle curves or intricate drapery. Without the focus on the importance of the work, models would soon become bored. There is also an element of touching immortality when your youthful form is recorded as an artwork.'

'As far as the hours of nudity required, especially for extended life modelling, I believe the nudity is like a working costume. When we start work, the model sheds his street costume and assumed his work attire which is his skin. There is a genuinely comfortable relationship between the model and the artist, me in my dirty apron and heavy boots, and the model in their bare skin..'

'Even though the finished sculpture may be fully clothed, it is vital to get the anatomy of the figure right from the beginning, so I always sculpt a fully nude figure to get this right. After hours of careful work, the clay layer of clothing can be applied with the knowledge that the anatomy holding it up is correct. I believe this is evident in the final result.'

'What makes a good model is not 'physical perfection' but a comfort and confidence in their own body. When or if I advertise for models, I always stress that its a creative process and enthusiasm for art is essential- life modelling is not a 'get rich quick scheme'.

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