BRAD SPENCER About the magic of the bricks

Hits: 5700 PavlinPetrov Wednesday, 17 September 2014 18:08 IMAGINATION IN FORMS

Bricks are not what they used to be. They are not just a simple building material any more! They became a special art media and now they live their new life like sculptures in the hands of Brad Spencer. Brat is one of the very few artists in the world who creates sculptures from bricks. With a BFA in Painting and Drawing from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA in Sculpture Brad accepted Art as his destiny. His education was finished with his elective course in sculpture where he finally found his deep calling. The artist dedicated his life and work to sculpture, dealing with it since 1984. Trying to work with clay, plaster, cement and bronze he discovered the passion to create sculptures using bricks and that had made his name recognizable. Bas reliefs, high reliefs, full dimension free standing projects and often a combination of all of them change the outlook of many paces in USA and make Brad feel proud of his creations. The Reidsville, North Carolina-based artist was so kind to share the secrets of his inspiration with me for you. Enjoy them!

Why you choose to work with bricks? How they provoke you?
I was working in cast bronze at the time I saw some brick sculptures brochures from artists in the western United States.  A friend of mine who was selling bricks suggested me to try them in my work. It is great that I live in a state with a lot of brick making plants so it was quite easy for me to collaborate with them.

Is it hard to work with bricks and to create such beautiful forms from them?
I work with the brick clay before it is fired. The clay is firm and to carve it is very easy.  When I finish with sculpting, each piece is numbered, the figure is deconstructed and the pieces are fired, then they all are installed with mortar just like any other brick masonry. It looks interesting for the people and sometimes I make rebuilding of sculptures in front of the eyes of some spectators. It amazes them and makes me happy!

What are the hidden messages in your art works?
There aren’t any hidden messages in my works but I try to create layers of meanings in them. That is the reason people to enjoy the sculptures at whatever level they understand it. In fact the more you contemplate the work, the more it reveals to you and at the end you like it much.

Do you have a favorite artwork and why it is so special for you?
I don’t have any favorite work but I have to say that I look at some sculptors like Michelangelo, Bernini and Rodin as a kind of inspiration. My work does not resemble theirs but they are much influential and in the past they had inspired me to become a sculptor. I am so grateful for that choice!

Do you accept someone as your teacher in the art?
I studied sculpture and apprenticed under the leading of Peter Agostini who was a well-known American sculptor. I worked in clay mostly sculpting different human figures. His teaching was quite similar to the classical Italian approach. The transition to bricks was different because here have to be used carving techniques as opposed to modeling wet clay.

What means the art to you?
Because I create mostly public art I like the idea my work to be meaningful in its location and to the people who see it day by day.  My unwritten law is for each project to learn more about the community in the chosen location in order to design something that is harmonious with the community and the environment around.

What are you believe in?
I believe that making art more accessible by placing it in the open public places can impact people’s lives more directly and constantly than art that is confined in the halls of the museums and the galleries. People love art but sometimes they do not know it till their contact with it. That is why I prefer to make outdoor positioned art.

 What are you dreaming for in artistic aspect?
My goal is continually to push the limits of what brick sculptures can be. That is what leads me toward creation of freestanding, full 3-dimensional brick sculptures. They make people think about brick in a totally different way, accepting it as something much more than just a building material.  That adds an element of surprise and wonder to the brick sculpture medium; allows me to create my magical pieces of art, filling them with love and light.

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