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Reinvention, the Newsletter.

Thought I’d add this email newsletter that I sent out before the holidays. Pertinent.

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Reinvention.

Hi Friends!

I hope this finds everyone well and dealing appropriately (for any and all meanings of the word) with the onrushing holidays and new year.

I wanted to reach out not just with well-wishes, but also with some capital-N News.

After nearly 30 years of making things in metal, stone, and wood, I’ve decided it’s time to reconfigure my artistic practice and transition to working solely in two dimensions. The primary driver of this decision is my physical well-being: I’ve been dealing with chronic pain and dexterity issues basically since starting down this path, and these problems have only escalated as I wander into my fifth decade. It seems that wrestling and grinding and cursing metal into sculptural shapes can be less than therapeutic for one’s genetic predisposition to joint problems. Go figure.

My initial explorations into using the computer as a creative tool were prompted by this desire to experience less pain, and I’ve slowly developed a methodology that I can exploit for 2D work as a replacement for the three dimensional stuff. Probably most importantly, I’m massively excited and proud of the work I’ve been able to produce this way, and feel a joy while working that has been in short supply while building big sculptural pieces. There is nothing more valuable to me as an artist than that sense of joy in the process, and I hope it’s as infectious and exciting to you as it is to me. Of course, as with any big change, there is also a sense of trepidation for what the future may hold, and a newfound need for the support of my friends, colleagues, and patrons. Feel free to get in touch and don’t hesitate to offer advice or opportunity. Hit me up!

So, as I stride/stumble boldly into this new chapter of my creative life, I invite you to come along. Watch your step, check your laces, and stay hydrated!

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.

— J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Yours,

Mark

PS -- click on the BIG BLUE links below to see more of what I'm talking about.

Main Site
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Reinvention.

I was 20 years old in 1986 when I walked into Dan Ostermiller’s studio and asked for a job. Up to then, I'd been helping my Dad build houses. I was young and naive and had no idea what it meant to be a professional artist, let alone understanding the much more specialized realm of the sculptor. I ground bronze and learned to weld it; we painted rubber and slung plaster to make molds; I learned pointing up and roughing in from maquette to monument. I put all this newfound knowledge to work, sculpting my own pieces and casting them in bronze.

The Crew at Ostermiller Studios, circa 1987.

Somehow, the artist in me that had previously enjoyed drawing and painting fell in love with form and space and shadow, and I spent every free penny I made turning my ideas into cast metal. Casting bronze is expensive, even with the discounts the foundries gave us “rats,” the green-tinged, bleary-eyed artisans who did the dirty work on the shop floor. I discovered Brancusi and stone carving, doubly excited by the cheap, plentiful medium and the thrill of turning an ugly rock into a work of art. Somewhere around this point in the timeline, Mr. Ostermiller and I had a falling out (I pissed him off) and I found myself once again walking into a sculptor’s studio to ask for a job. Kent Ullberg wasn't just the second sculptor I worked for, he became like a second father to me. The Swede opened my eyes to a more European view of the world and of art. He also entrusted me to manage his production at the foundry, as well as handling the enlargement of some of his most impressively-scaled works.

Serpentine carving.

There are a many more details and people and crazy happenings to recount, but that gets too far afield from my point. The stone carving and the metal grinding and the construction work, not to mention a detour to make a few thousand Chipotle chairs for my friend Bruce, took a serious toll on my physical health. Couple that with the inevitable diminishing of aging eyesight and a restlessness to move away from committee-driven public art, and you have the perfect recipe for a personal reinvention. And so it is with a bittersweet heart that I formally end my career as a sculptor, moving forward with excitement and trepidation into a future of greater creative freedom and less physical pain. Stay tuned to see what happens on the next episode!

NewsMark Leichlitermemoirs