[RECESS] is when we get to hear the stories of the good people behind the pop-up. It's our favourite time and we're happy to share the conversations with you.
Starting October 14, local artist Rudolf Sokolovski will showcase his pieces sketched, built, and carved for his debut solo exhibition, Modern Sculpture.
Originally from Odessa, Ukraine, #Sokolovski was raised in Vancouver and was immersed into the art world at an early age. His father, monumentalist-sculptor Valeri Sokolovski, was an inspiration and mentor. Building onto his practical knowledge, Sokolovski studied Greco-Roman composition including Michelangelo, Bernini, and Rodin.
We sat down with Rudy (as we've grown to call him) to learn more about the artist behind the sculptures and get a glimpse of what to expect. The exhibit runs October 14 to 19 11AM-7PM daily, closing at 5PM on Sunday.
@thisopenspace: Your work focuses on figurative compositions and life-sized busts. How do you choose which individuals to sculpt?
Rudy Sokolovski: This is true, a lot of my pieces deal with the human form in one way or another. I think the human form is an amazing creation, in its construction, in its movement, in its beauty. With portraits I like to capture personality. Making a portrait is an intimate process for me because I need to study the person first and foremost, study their subtleties and their gaze. This is easier when they pose for you as you can talk to them, look at their body language and how they are, but with persons that have passed it requires studying photos, videos, and learning about them so you can capture their essence. So I usually sculpt persons that I find interesting in some way as I will be spending some time with them.
Do you have a process when creating or type of environment that you work best in?
RS: The only thing I really need in order to sculpt is natural light. This is a basic thing but it's absolutely paramount. With painting it's not so much an issue because its 2D, there are no forms that light reflects off, but sculpture requires correct lighting, especially when working on a portrait.
You work with bronze and wood. Are there any other other materials you play with?
RS: I almost always start with sketching and making small maquettes from wax or clay, it’s quick and it allows me to develop an idea. My working material is usually clay because it allows for fast sculpting and is the most expressive. Once I've created what I intended I would then take a mold from it and have it casted. You could have a piece casted in a number of metals but the best is bronze. It’s strong, versatile in its range of color, valuable and will virtually last forever. There’s a reason we had the Bronze age. But I also love wood because it's so organic. Making a wood sculpture is very different from sculpting out of clay, it's the opposite it fact. Instead of building up a composition I carve away the wood, piece by piece, "freeing" the composition from the block. And the beautiful thing about wood is that is so diverse. You can use exotics like a hard African ebony, or a warm cherry, or local white cedar. The options are endless, and the material often dictates composition.
Was there a conscious moment where you decided to pursue a path in sculpting? Or was it never a question?
RS: When I was growing up I never thought I would be an artist or make art as my profession. As a kid I spent a lot of time with my father, watching him work, and as I became older, eventually helping him. I never gave it much thought, but I guess in effect I was learning just by doing. It wasn't until many years later when I was at a crossroads that I made a conscious decision to make it my profession. My father never wanted me to be an artist, in fact he discouraged me in a way because he knew how difficult it is as a lifestyle. Of course he did this to test me, to see how serious I was about it. And I remember a period of time when I was drifting around, questioning life, questioning art and myself.
Who are the top 3 individuals that inspire you, artistically or otherwise?
RS: The people that inspire me are the ones that have achieved greatness in some way, whether they're athletes, musicians, artists, writers or just great fathers.