Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 28 February 2013
Size isn't everything
When I was carving a massive and grotesque face for a water-feature of a new grotto at Leeds Castle some years ago, the most helpful guidance given to me by the sculptor who was commissioned to build it (Simon Verity) was, "Whatever you do, don't make it Disney" I immediately understood what was not required.
H.I. (a painter since childhood) often used to say that she was always tripping over sculpture at mixed exhibitions, when stepping back to look at paintings. I sort of understood her disdain - a bad sculpture just takes up too much space, like a man with a rucksack in town.
It is very difficult to make a sculpture good enough to be worth exhibiting, and it is difficult to make any sculpture which doesn't attract ridicule.
I know I have said this before, but it is a subject which is always cropping up amongst non-carvers: Why do classical male figures always have small willies?
When carving classical figures with the aforementioned Mr Verity (who also carved all the figures on St John the Divine, N.Y.C. with the help of some untrained locals), we tried carving an average sized penis onto a full-sized figure of Apollo, but found that the eye was immediately drawn to it, to the detriment of appreciating the thing as a whole. After a few seconds, the figure became grotesque - almost obscene - so the poor bloke's willie was whittled down to a 6 year-old's, and balance was restored. Everything looked normal again.
Those Greeks and Romans knew what they were doing.