The Day I Discovered Sculpture

I remember this like it was yesterday. 1958. I was in my photography studio in New York City and had just opened the new issue of Life magazine. In those days life was THE magazine. This issue was on the resurgence of wood sculpture as carved by a new group of mostly men who were working in exotic hardwoods. Photo after photo of some of the juiciest work I had ever seen. After looking at the work several times I remember saying out loud,” I can do that.”

Sam Flax, which was one of the largest art supply stores in New York, was just down the block from my studio. I walked over to buy a hunk of mahogany, some carving tools and a book on how to do wood sculpture. My first real lesson was to keep both hands behind the chisel. It only took one slip and one stitch on the index finger of my right hand to prove the point. I still have that first piece and the scar to prove it. Needless to say the sculpture wasn’t very good but I loved the physical part of it and the fact that I could actually walk around something I was working on instead of just laying a print on the table. I was hooked. Prior to that I was painting at night to relieve the pressure of being on camera all day.  Once I started sculpting however I didn’t paint seriously again for almost 30 years.

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