The unapologetic, raw, unedited interpretation of living life. Each of us is the artist of our own life, constantly remolding, reworking, and roughing out the details and applying what we've learned to the changing canvas. There are no do-overs, no take backs...just rough cuts that release what lies inside us.

I saw the angel in stone and I carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Truth to Materials: A fluid and flexible approach


In relation to 20th century direct carving, Truth to Materials refers to the way in which the sculptor responds to the nature of the block being carved as much as the subject. Changes in colouration and imperfections revealed while carving the block are incorporated as features in the finished sculpture.  Since the sculptor cannot know in advance what imperfections will be revealed during the course of carving, a more flexible and fluid approach is required.
In releasing the magnificent opus that lies within you, it must be understood that there are going to be some decisions, some flaws, and almost certainly a disappointment or two.  But what the artistic leader does with them is where the truth is not just revealed, but made part of the overall work. Once the carving begins the artist has two choices, fight the reality or allow the material determine and expand his creativity.

My Truth: Wood is wood and marble is marble, no matter how hard one tries to become the other.  For a long time, I struggled with the material I was given; when I looked around me I saw shiny, sleek marble ready to be formed into flawless works of art, but all I saw in the mirror was an irregular chunk of wood with knots and ridges. I enjoyed acting like marble, sitting next to marble but only found myself more frustrated that my results were not marble-like.

Allow the truth to be part of the project.  After several years of fighting against the grain (pun intended) of who I was, life hit me hard and when I regained my ability to stand I looked in the mirror with new eyes. I saw the strength in my material and began to see how unique I looked.  The carving changed, the material was allowed to show.  I still appreciate the beauty, smoothness, and flair of marble, but enjoy the experience of finding new truths about myself as each day the material becomes more interesting and what truly lies within the material is revealed.

What is your truth? It takes patience and a enormous helping of humility to uncover who you truly are and what may lie beneath layers of what you have been attempting to be.  It takes great care to allow the work to change based on what you may find...

If you lead a team...how might it benefit you to look at the people you lead with the eyes of a sculptor? What might come out of allowing the essence of who is on your team determine the direction you go next?  It takes more time, more vision, and a whole lot of hard work, but in the end your project and your team may become something beyond your imagination.

...He looked at the piece of stone and said, "I will release the angel that lies within it" ~Michelangelo

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