George Cappannelli - Artist's Statement
I did not discover my love of sculpting until I was in my mid-thirties. Before that I believed I had no skill whatsoever in this art form. Nor did I believe I could draw or paint. Instead, words were my medium – both prose and poetry- and I also was privileged to produce and direct film, television and some theatrical events for which I received 2 Regional Emmy Awards and numerous International Film and Television Awards.
Through a gift of grace, however, I was introduced to sculpting and in a relatively short time it became my primary focus and thankfully it has remained an important part of my life ever since.
As a sculptor, I seek to rediscover the purity and honesty of art carved and modeled by hand. And while I am grateful when my work receives attention and is deemed to have value, what is of paramount importance to me, is that
I listen to the call of my heart and remain true to the promptings of my soul.
For in this way, I occasionally have the privilege of touching beauty, easing back the curtain a little on the human mystery, and when I am particularly fortunate, catching a glimpse of the sacred. I believe this is my birthright and yours and also our responsibility. For creativity and our capacity to love, from my perspective, constitute the best and highest use of our gifts and time here on this physical plane.
Although I now work more in stone and wood, than in clay, wax and plaster, I continue to enjoy and celebrate all forms of sculpting. Indeed, each time a new image begins to emerge through my dialogue with the materials that graciously surrender to my hands, I re-experience a sense of wonder and gratitude for the gift of creative expression. For this reason I believe creativity is a form of alchemy. One that each of us can practice and, in this way, transform our personal experiences – our pains and joys, confusions and questions, stumbles and breakthroughs – into a personal mythology that not only records, but ennobles our journey and helps us to contribute our unique notes to the Song of Life.
The form of sculpting I practice is called Direct Carving. I was introduced to it by Jose DeCreeft, my first teacher to whom I will always be grateful. For ‘Direct Carving’ has enriched my life more than I can say. Among its most important lessons- avoid imposing a preconceived image or concept on the material I’m working with and instead seek to establish rapport with the stone, wood, clay, wax and plaster. This alone has allowed me to uncover the best and highest result my current skills allow. And without equivocation, this is a gift of inestimable value.
Jose DeCreeft also invited me to consider avoiding the use of pneumatics and other power tools, and instead to carve by hand. He reminded me that power tools vibrate at frequencies greater than my own natural physical rate and even greater still than the natural rate of vibration of wood and certainly of stone. As a result, while these power tools might allow me to shape, texture and finish a piece sooner, they do not help me to ‘touch the heart’ of the material I work with. To do this requires a slowing down my rate of vibration, an investment in patience and active listening, and a willingness to conduct what Socrates called an elenchus, a genuine inquiry in pursuit of understanding and truth.