Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bridget Beck - Sculptor

Playstation (front view), steel, wood and earth50’x 47’ x 23’ 6”, 2009/2010 
(photo credit Tory Roff)
Bridget Beck

Name: Bridget Beck
City/State: St. Paul/ MN
Email: bridgeit22@hotmail.com

Bridget Beck grew up in South Dakota where she soaked in the plains and the sky until graduating from Augustana College in 2000 with a BA in English and Art.  She then spent some time at Franconia Sculpture Park in MN as an intern in 2001.  After finishing the internship, she went East and worked in the same capacity for Socrates Sculpture Park, Mark DiSuvero’s Spacetime Studio, and the Connecticut Sculpture Park.  After her time out East, Bridget returned to the Midwest where she continued to make sculpture in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  She went back to Franconia Sculpture Park again as an intern in 2004.  Bridget then supplemented her eclectic resume with an AS degree in geomatics (civil engineering) which she completed in 2006.  After receiving her AS degree she has been gainfully employed by Ramsey County, MN where she designs roads in 3D, surveys the lay of the land, inspects road projects, and tests soils when needed.  Bridget is most passionate about the time spent creating new sculpture as Franconia Sculpture Park's Resident Artist, mentoring emerging artists, and writing the Franconia Blog.

Watch (front view) 15’6” x 22’ x 28’, 2011

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My work centers on the action of play and my sculptures are rough approximations of playlands I have imagined.  They come from a long-standing desire to construct rafts, forts and hideaways.  I believe that there are too few interesting, magical, and thought provoking places.  The sculptures I create attempt, on an individual level, try to tip this balance.  I try to expose the complex intersections between place, belonging, object, and action.  I see my sculptures as places to escape responsibility and seriousness.  I hope to trigger fond memories and prompt fantastic thoughts while building community.  I want drudgery as prisoner and the swing to reign. 

I am currently working on three large sculpture-event projects. 
The first is GLOWaBOUT (http://2012.northernspark.org/project/beck-samaniego) for Northern Spark (http://2012.northernspark.org/) the night of June 9th.  I have always loved creating pseudo battles and taking part in outdoor games.  Artist Carissa Samaniego and I co-created this event and are bringing it back to Minneapolis for the second year at MCAD outdoor plaza.  We can’t wait to get people building fortresses, playing capture the glowing orb, using the pigment throw zone area, partaking in a wild ceremonial procession and so much more.  This year we are taking GLOWaBOUT to a whole new level.

My Mother’s Cottage, steel and wood, 24’ x 20’ x 26’,  2004

The second is an event connected with the debut of my newest large scale interactive sculpture Poetry Studio.
I am building this sculpture up at Franconia Sculpture Park where I am their resident artist. The poetry event- and sculpture celebration will be held at Franconia Sculpture Park on June 22nd from 2 to 4 p.m. and June 23rd from 1 to 5 p.m.   More info can be found at http://www.franconia.org/poetryevent.html.

My interactive studio sculpture comes with a bench swing, elevated writing studio, umbrella roof system, winding staircase, and escape hatch. The visiting public—the young and the young-at-heart—can participate by creating poetry during workshops held both days. Selected participants will read their poems alongside established poets, including Heid E. Erdrich, MN; Wang Ping, MN; Dobby Gibson, MN; and Ashley David, GA & VT.  This idea for this sculpture began after completing a residency at the Vermont Studio Center.  I was inspired for the first time to try to create this sculpture, Poetry Studio, in the likeness of a poem.  I tried to use space poetically – telling a lot with a little and never the whole story and using space/place to grab a person in a way that is specific but incredibly vast at the same time.

The third sculpture is my Locomotive Sculpture project.  This sculpture will travel to 8 separate care or independent senior living communities.  I have never built a mobile sculpture that was built with the help of so many organizations.  I can’t wait to see how this works out.

This sculpture brings a bit of adventure to the usual routine (May- August), weekly Locomotive Sculpture updates during the sculpture construction and the opportunity for hundreds of individuals to contribute to a large scale traveling sculpture that will visit and connect to the larger community.  As community members grow older they deal with aging and loss on a daily basis and sometimes find their mobility is limited. I have established a creative partnership with: Ecumen Parmly LifePointes- Chisago City, Golden Living Center- St. Louis Park, Good Samaritan Center Heritage Place-Roseville, Good Samaritan Center- Inver Grove Heights, Good Samaritan Center University Specialties- Minneapolis, Good Samaritan Center- Stillwater, Ramsey County Care Center- St. Paul and Texas Terrace- St. Louis Park.

I will lead two art making workshops with residents and their caregivers at each location where they will be able to contribute significantly to the Locomotive Sculpture. They are able to access a Locomotive Sculpture Blog and Facebook Page with weekly Locomotive Sculpture updates. There are bulletin boards at each facility that tracks the Locomotive Sculpture weekly as its construction progresses. After the workshops and final construction of the locomotive structure is finished, there will be 8 community events where the Locomotive Sculpture will be driven to each care or independent senior community and invite residents and their caregivers to interact with and gather on the sculpture they helped create.

GLOWaBOUT: a night long city game, steel paint, wood and community, 2011

How did you decide to become an artist?  
I took a sculpture class in college and finally had a place to channel my imagination and energy.  But, it wasn’t until my sculpture internship at Franconia Sculpture Park, after building my first real interactive sculpture, that I absolutely knew there was no turning back…

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 
The best advice I have gotten is to always put the time in no matter if you feel amazingly inspired or as dry as a sack.  This advice is at the core of all my large scale sculptures.  It takes all the time I can get to make something that pushes past 20’ in any direction.  I work when I am super excited about building a certain section and I work on days that are cold and full of monotonous grinding of steel edges… days I wish I was just sleeping in instead. 

Playstation (in action), steel, wood and earth50’x 47’ x 23’ 6”, 2009/2010

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?  
I’ve never sold a large scale sculpture.  I work a full time job to finance my living and sculpture material expenses.  I don’t think anyone would make these sculptures if I didn’t.  I don’t think my wild and large interactive sculptures would be here if I lived off of sculpture sales.  And, I think these imaginative sculptures need to be a tangible part of my life nonetheless- so I guess I still wait for the day that someone is generous enough to finance the time and materials that go into the sculptures I want to build.  

Until then I’ll do the best I can by financing myself and applying for grants and fellowships.  I couldn’t use the limited sculpture building time I have to make benches or works of art that might easily sell or I’d sacrifice the sculptures that I really need to make. 

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy

I know so many great Minnesota artists !

Bridget Riversmith (http://www.redrabbitriversmith.com/), 
Asia Ward (http://asiaward.com/)
Aaron Dysart(http://aarondysart.com/), 
Carolyn Swiszcz (carolynswiszcz.com). 

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

First stop would be Franconia Sculpture Park (http://www.franconia.org/), then,,,, Western Sculpture Park (http://www.publicartstpaul.org/western.html), Casket Arts Building (http://casketarts.com/), and Walker Sculpture Garden (http://garden.walkerart.org/index.wac)

Image of artist at work

In addition to www.Local-Artist-Interviews.com, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? 
A few sites I regularly visit are:
Beautiful Decay- http://beautifuldecay.com/
Irrigate Arts- http://www.irrigatearts.org
Hyperallergic- http://hyperallergic.com/
Arrowhead Artists Alliance-  http://aaawdhistory.blogspot.com/
and Poetry Foundation- http://www.poetryfoundation.org/

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future
Yes,  Poetry Studio Sculpture Event June 22nd and 23rd, and 
Locomotive Sculpture locations and dates are:
August 21st 10 to noon at Good Samaritan Center Heritage Place-Roseville 2 to 4p at Golden Living Center- St. Louis Park 
August 22nd 1 to 3p at Ecumen Parmly LifePointes- Chisago City 
August 23rd 10 to noon at Ramsey County Care Center- St. Paul 2:30 to 4:30p at Texas Terrace- St. Louis Park
August 24th 10 to noon at Good Samaritan Center University Specialties- Minneapolis 3-5p at Good Samaritan Center- Stillwater 
August 25th 1 to 3p at Good Samaritan Center- Inver Grove Heights  

Bridget Beck

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