In describing what I do as an artist, I have been told that it fits within the artistic philosophy known as ‘formalism.’ Formalistic art theory says that the most important aspect of art is its form, it’s purely visual aspects, rather than its narrative context or its relationship to the visible world. (Definition from internet.)
Within this context, what is most important to me in the sculpture and landscape designs that I create is the aspect of joy. In Sanskrit the term ānanda means, ‘the joy in existence without which the universe will fall apart and collapse.’ My dream is to obtain a commission where I can design a garden that has this joy as the main goal in all that is created.
I believe in magic! Long ago I decided to turn a time-worn phrase on its head; rather than, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” I opted for, “I’ll believe and then see what I see.” This switch has filled my life with endless possibilities and joy. I believe in the power of imagination, and the courage to turn ‘impossible’ ideas into reality. I love making magic!
I am a Landscape Architect and for 35 years, I taught garden design to Horticulture students in a Design/Build option at NC State. Early on, I had the students build an ephemeral bamboo sculpture as a class project; it was a raging success both educationally as well as aesthetically. Each semester after, I assigned a similar project, sometimes involving community groups. These collaborative efforts, where groups of people work together and bond creating an experience, are central to the magic and energy inherent in all the pieces I’ve completed.
I have two parameters for each sculpture I oversee: First, the piece should be interactive if possible; second, the piece must evoke joy! It would best if each piece created at least a smile on the faces of people enjoying the piece, with outright chuckles or laughter being the highest compliments possible. People are thrilled to get close to a huge sculpture, maybe run through it or swing it around. As my skills have evolved in working with bamboo and in overseeing the groups, my pieces have become more complex, colorful, exciting, and of course, more magical.