Speak Out: ON CREATIVITY
arttimesjournal April 6, 2017
Creation begins with a wish, a desire to do something, to make something, to see beyond the immediate reality. If we are lucky, it will open a door to a stream of thought that is inspiration. We inspire, we breathe in ideas.
What inspires me, what are my themes? I like thinking about physics, the universe. And I am drawn to spiritual ideas, yoga. In my double profile sculptures, I am showing the underlying unity of minds. In the negative spaces of my sculptures, I show spirits beyond matter, idea before material form.
In sculpture, the body comes into play. We are mostly on our feet and we dance also with our hands. We play, we discover with our hands. In Gupta, India, I have read you have to be a dancer in order to be a sculptor. In India, there is a sculpture showing the Buddha and his disciples. The disciples are shown in three-dimensional form while the Buddha is represented only by the impression of his feet in the sand.
Inspired by the spiritual, I approach the making of sculpture with the skills that I was taught by my teachers, sculptors John Hovannes and Marcel Meylan. Hovannes was a wonderful, inspirational teacher who opened doors of aesthetic consciousness for me. Soon after Hovannes’ death, I met Marcel Meylan, a French-Swiss sculptor who had made enlargements for Zadkine. Meylan had a real teacher’s pride. He was never so happy as when he saw me on a scaffold, seven feet up. I have modeled with plaster of Paris up to nine feet high. He would say: “At last, I have made a sculptor of you.” My teachers have been outstanding mentors, my exceptional helpers. It has always been my policy never to turn away anyone who can teach me. With my teachers we have advanced together, and it has given me great pleasure. When it actually comes to making my sculpture, I work with my hands modeling in wax, except I do not weld but I make models for sculpture, and I supervise the building of large-scale pieces. I have never made an automatic enlargement. I always extend measurement for any sculpture over five feet and I make forms lean inward, following intuitively classic Greek principles. When a sculpture has been completed, I feel as if my inspiration for making it has come through space and time.
Strong-Cuevas is an international, critically acclaimed sculptor, whose work is in numerous museums and many private collections. Her book, Premonitions in Retrospect, has been called one of the most beautiful art books of the year. It has been praised by important critics such as Donald Kuspit.