Gesso Cocteau Blog

The Connection Between Artist and Writers

May 18, 2021

(“The opposite of death is desire.” Tennessee Williams)

When I write I consider the metaphor, when I sculpt I consider the 3D metaphor, as a poet-sculptor I am constantly aware of the evolution of my art forms and to what degree they influence one another. It is easy to wonder which between the two is more everlasting. 

The relationship between sculpture and poetry is a delicate balance between passion and inspiration. I am constantly aware that my poetry’s most often laced with unrequited love and lust, yet my sculptures are almost always thematic relationships built on trust and balance.

I hear many of my artist friends tell me how they believe poetry and sculpture are a natural hand in hand compliment to one another and how each separate endeavor enhances the other.  As a great Buddhist master once said, “Not always true.”

Poems are inspired by something deep within our blood and bone. Poetry is activated by the stories that have been stored in our cellular memory. The inspiration for sculpture has always come to me through a visual of couples, maybe just out walking, or dancing or embracing, then l will often take an armature and bend it in an exaggerated way to give more movement to the ultimate finished sculpture. Bronze can be a very inert material and I want my sculpted couples to defy gravity, to have buoyancy.

With poetry I will feel something deep inside of me, a longing or a sadness and I will try to give a voice and stay honest by never wandering too far from my inner template.

Stephane Mallarme Gesso Cocteau Inspired Blog

Many artists throughout time have shown the connection between artist and writers, we all swirl around in the same atmosphere, we are each other’s muses. The French Symbolist Stéphane Mallarmé whose work ‘Poésies’ was thought of as haunting and ungraspable was forever immortalized by several great artists. Henri Matisse and Christopher Wilmarth both were inspired to interpret his work through illustrations and sculpture. Both were inspired by the imagination of Mallarmé. Wilmarth, who was a poet, a songwriter, and also a sculptor said about Mallarmé “his imagination and reverie meant more to him than anything that was actually of this world. His work is about the anguish and longing of experience not fully realized.”

There is also the story of Swiss Giacometti and French writer Simone de Beauvoir who were close friends, each appearing in the work of the other: Giacometti drew and sculpted portraits after Beauvoir, and the writer modeled the character of sculptor Marcel in her 1945 novel The Blood of Others after Giacometti.

The list of artists who influenced writers and writers who influenced artists goes on and on, an endless stream of sculpture, paintings, prints, drawings, poetry, novels and plays. As artists we want to be inspired, we want other artists to challenge our passion, to evoke, to balance our appetite with creativity.  We want to understand the quote by the great playwright Tennessee Williams, “The opposite of death is desire.”

Gesso Cocteau May 18 2021

Photography - Header Image: Ana Markovitj



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