From Chris Wagner: Conversation as Shortcut to Art-Based Resonation

By Christopher B. Wagner

The overall goal of my art, putting aside all elaborate artist statements, is to find a point of resonation between myself and the viewer. I want to create an object that speaks on some intrinsic level to me and hoping that it will do the same with other members of humanity. Usually for me this is a very private enterprise, working alone in the studio allowing my hands to create what they will, not knowing whether anyone else will ever respond to what I am creating.

With this body of work, since I have the subject of my sculpting sitting right in front of me, I feel a resonation immediately, the type of resonation that comes from being able to set down with someone and have a conversation over the course of hours. Granted, our models have committed to having their portraits made and might be obliged to pose for us, hours on end, but while we are working and talking I feel that the relationship is not forced. With all the models we have worked with thus far the points of relation are strong enough that I would feel completely natural setting and talking with all pretenses aside.

It is very rewarding to be able to talk about music, movies, and Bigfoot with people who have had very different life experiences from myself but still have such similar points of interest. I suppose this isn’t abnormal for people to find connections when they set down and actually communicate with one another. After all, that is partially what this project is about. But it doesn’t change how rewarding those experiences can be.

So far we have been working with four models: three recent Veterans and one who served during the Vietnam War. Subjects for conversations have included Tom Waits (how horrible or wonderful he might be), Viet Cong tunnels, dating definitions, helicopter rides, Mars colonization, and Scottish poetry. Perhaps I will elaborate on some of these topics in weeks to come. For now I’ll leave you with a Tom Waits quote which may or may not relate to anything but I like it.

“My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane.”

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