Meet Anthony Kaufmann
Tony’s stone sculpture is very colorful – so is Tony. It is because of his desire to show the fuller spectrum of his work that Tony volunteered to pay the extra cost of printing his Artist Spotlight in color. Thank you, Tony, for being the first to bring color to Sculpture NorthWest.
Who are you?
I was born in the Basalt and sage lands of rural Central Washington. On the family farm I learned the values of creative resourcefulness, self-reliance and the will to triumph or fail on my terms; I spent little to no time indoors, choosing to make playthings in the shop or explore on my dirt bike. Freedom was a big part of my youth. My family have been farmers for three generations. Plants, stone, soil and water will always be my heart’s materials.
Why did you become an artist?
My path towards the arts has been organic in its unfolding. It was created by closed doors as much as open ones; punctuated by blind faith, will, natural sensitivities towards material and a series of fortunate apprenticeships. I never really started out to be an artist, it’s just an area that, because of my love of detail, I feel most useful in.
What has influenced your art form?
The top four things, among many, would be:
1. The fact that entanglement theory is not a theory, Quantum entanglement is the Idea that all particles are interconnected. Based on an experiment where two photons of light were split apart and shipped 11miles from each other. One photon was altered with an electromagnetic charge and the other reacted in real time as if connected.
2. Reverence regarding the mechanisms of nature, the vastness of time.
3. Order out of Chaos
4. The freedom of smallness
How has NWSSA influenced your work as an Artist?
With the community brought together by the NWSSA, I get a sense that my brand of loony is shared by others -thus a sense of confidence.
What can you tell us about your art?
I employ a philosophy of carving that allows equal say between my intent and the will of the stone. This style utilizes direct carving in an aggressive fluid process. The unfolding design process leaves plenty of room for spontaneous reaction to the stone’s mother shape and will. This embracing of passions of the now, when carving, creates a kind of crucible of inspiration in the forward steps, and a reverence in the backward steps.
How do you develop your ideas?
Choosing to rework sculptural standards. Seeing (the works/the pieces/ the sculptures) as half-loaded vessels. I infuse them with the essence of the ideas garnered during the course of production.
I do not work from drawings or models of any sort, preferring ultimate freedom, employing the chaos of the journey, and the will of all factors involved.
What is the overall theme or intent of your work?
Reverence. I build speed bumps. I use beauty, mass and scale to attract. The pieces being meticulously worked inside as well as out bring people in through a soothing tactile journey. This is to bring the heart and mind out of 24 /7/365 in hopes to recalibrate to cosmic time. This is no different than Chaco Canyon or Stonehenge.
What materials do you primarily work with?
Columnar basalt, granite, onyx, marble. I like to unite stones from diverse geological situations as I would like to see humans unite from different cultural backgrounds. I love the universality of it.
What is your working process?
I am truly monogamous; I only work on one sculpture at a time. When blocks or bad breaks occur I prefer to stay and hammer it out. Working towards my favorite time; when all panels/pieces fit together, the shapes have been negotiated to my liking and the will of the stone. I work towards the diamond love, the great caress that makes the stone reach out and kiss the sun.
Where do you exhibit your work?
I have hosted an open studio every year for the past 12 years. Lake Oswego Arts festival - Received the Jurors award. Marenakos Stonearium group show.
I have two public pieces in Seattle and one in Moses Lake. I have three pieces in private gardens.
Have you been influenced by any particular artist?
Yes, by Isamu Noguchi and by Kazutaka Uchida.
What have been your satisfactions in your life as an Artist?
Communication with the inner self, and sharing that conversation with others. I recently had the great joy of a special visitor to 3000bc studios: Kazutaka Uchida one of the few distant guides that spoke to me via the wind requested to see the work in person and it was the best day of my artistic life. I have survived and had tiny triumphs thus far, which gives me great hope.
What obstacles and challenges have you overcome?
Let me preface this answer with the statement:
They are the same obstacle that comes back in different forms, and still present a battle. I accept that!
a. cyclic poverty
c. lovers jealous of the time and attention that my dream consumed.
d. professional frustration.
e. The view by some that I am wasting my abilities on a crazy notion.
My obstacles are shared by all to some degree, and some have persevered to add their work to the great collective, and that gives me perspective and hope.
What are you looking forward to in your professional life?
I want to finish the Planetary Series before I pass. I have one in the series done: ‘Moultant Heart Venus 2 Sings Columbria’s Song’ and eight more to go.
Teaching the techniques for small scale jade carving will be my mission this summer at Camp Brotherhood. What a great way to celebrate the 25th annual symposium!
The workshops held there in the late 90s were very popular and I expect there will be a lot of interest again. Working small scale for those sculptors who normally focus on monumental works can be a bit like cleansing the palate! What better in the middle of a long project, than to create a lovely bangle or pendant in translucent jades of many hues. Wyoming olives, Canadian chromite laden beauties from Kutcho and Cassiar B.C. will be offered for sale with my recommendations for selecting the perfect piece of jade for the ideas you have for jewelry or small carvings.
We are all accustomed to tool making. I will be pleased to share with the group the way to convert a drill press into a "point carver." This has proven to be the most versatile piece of equipment for jade artists that focus on small and medium sized pieces. I hope to have 2 of them there for the workshop.
A larger jade carving of my own will be brought to the workshop to demonstrate the carving process, and tooling involved.
I will be pleased to have this opportunity to encourage those interested to pursue the art of carving jade. The renaissance is still in the making! For example, the Jade Symposium, an online global competition, was held last summer with amazing results. This year's event is unfolding as I write this, with a follow-up story to relay at the Camp Brotherhood workshop.
For more information go to my website: www.jadesymposium.com
Or email me at: www.deborahwilson.bc.ca
See you in July! Deborah