Jack Sewell

Artist Statement

The process of creating art is different for every artist, but the urge to create is common to all of us who  call ourselves artists. I view the world in a way in which I find artistic merit inherent in all of the various elements of life. Images appear every day that I  feel compelled to bring out of my head and share with others. This time that I spend creating those images is intense,  stimulating, thought provoking, frustrating, and ultimately, rewarding.

Sculpture, especially figure sculpture, is my most enjoyable means of artistic expression. I use the human figure in much of my work because of the universal recognition of that icon. Conditions of the human predicament are most easily conveyed using the human figure. My work tends toward representational imagery, but I also use abstract expressions to illustrate particular properties of that image.  My work can show beauty, grace, movement, struggle or humor, all aspects of the human condition.

I work in many materials, including wood carving, steel fabrication, bronze casting, concrete sculpture and ceramic sculpture. I also use “found objects” at times, and enjoy finding materials that are not usually considered as useful art media and try to create images that are surprising considering what they are formed from.

I have lived in and visited many areas on our planet, and always am ready to see more. The coast of Northern California is home.

My methods for creating sculpture

I begin the process as soon as an image comes into my imagination that I feel like I could express in 3 dimensional form. I then begin the drawing of the image.

Drawing the image is not necessarily done on paper. Many projects  must be worked out by making models first. A very valuable method for me is by drawing with clay.

I am, by habit and disposition, a carver. By that I mean that when I’m creating a sculpture I start with a mass of material that is larger that what I need, and I carve away all the material that I don’t want and leave the image behind. For some projects I use a primarily constructionist process, in that I begin with nothing and bring the materials into alignment and fix them in place to create the image. I usually combine the techniques and construct, then deconstruct the material leaving behind the image.

Education and Experience

Although I have had a life long interest in art, my formal education is in the sciences. And still, I never stopped drawing, attending art classes or creating sculpture.

I grew up in New Mexico, then rural New York, then East Bay of San Francisco, in Livermore.  In 1970 I was drafted into the Military. The Army trained me as a medic and operating room technician, sparking an interest in health care.  After my discharge in 1972 I moved to the north coast of California, to get close to the ocean and mountains. I returned to college with the goal of becoming a marine biologist. Meanwhile, I began working at a local hospital, and discovered that I enjoyed the job of working with people far more than the time I spent in laboratories, so I decided to change my major to Nursing.

My career as a Registered Nurse includes many years as an Emergency Room nurse. In the ER, I have seen every kind of trauma and injury, sickness and disease. I have witnessed great tragedy and greater heroics. My sculpture reflects the beauty, fragility and power of  the human experience.

As a nurse, I’ve worked in a wide range of hospital and non-hospital settings, and been able to travel and work. I completed what I consider my first serious art piece, a large figurative sculpture, while in nursing school. My first solo show was a series of oil paintings in the hospital where I worked.

From then on my art education was much more focused. I attended university art classes, workshops, foundry classes, welding classes, and  figure sculpture sessions. I actively collaborate with other artists, sharing tips and tricks, successes and challenges with each other. I have visited museums and galleries all over the world. I worked in a hospital in Germany for three years, from 1985 till 1988, where I continued to study and work in sculpture and painting, and visited many European museaums and studios.

I am very involved in the local art community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Redwood Art Association since 1989, including several years as president of the board.

Since 1978 I’ve been a guest artist in local galleries, and an occasional award winner in group shows and juried shows. My work includes many commissions for work in a wide spectrum of the arts including theater sets, backdrops for a ballet company, restoration work on sculpture, restoration for architectural elements, large site specific pieces, vintage car replicas, and designing and building exhibition spaces.

I have work in private collections in the United States, Europe and South America. My work has been shown in galleries  in Eureka, Mendocino, Carmel, Laguna Beach, and San Francisco, California.