My work has been a reflection of an internal search to discover who I am and how I fit into the world. I attempt to create Ideas and feelings utilizinggeometric design and non representational shapes. How do you communicate a feeling or memory in a sculpture? This is a question I try to answer visually.
Specifically in this work the idea of “the gap” is present- this idea represents a distance I felt after serving 4 years in the military and returning home to feel like I didn’t belong.
10’H x 5’W x 2’D
click photos to enlarge
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A SCULPTOR. WHEN DID YOU START SCULPTING? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CAREER HIGHLIGHTS?
I began making sculpture after returning home from the military. I began school pursuing my BFA and it was late 2009 or early 2010 when I actually began to create my own work that was not just a project for class. I have been featured in 573 magazine and in Missouri Life. I currently have a sculpture on display in Oak Park Chicago and I sold my first sculpture (large scale) this year.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO SCULPTURE?
I was attracted to sculpture because it’s building something- my dad is a 3rd generation bricklayer and I grew up watching him. Instead of houses it is metal sculpture.
WHERE DID THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS SELECTED PIECE DERIVE?
The idea of negative space has been a huge factor in all of my work even to this day. The idea of two pieces that look like they belong together but don’t fit- this comes from my own experience returning home from the military and feeling like I didn’t belong.
TELL US ABOUT THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH CRAFTING THIS PIECE.
Well, this is one of my first sculptures and I was still learning how to work efficiently. This sculpture took much longer than it would have if I had made it now.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO COMPLETE THIS PIECE?
I didn’t work on it full time, but it took almost a month maybe a little longer to complete all the welding and grinding.
HOW DO YOU WANT THE SCULPTURE GARDEN AUDIENCE TO LOOK AT YOUR WORK?
Any way they choose. The idea that they will be taking the time to look at it is great. The best view is through the gap between the two halves. Intentionally so, the view otherwise is less interesting- this way the audience is almost forced to view through the two halves which is how I intended it to be viewed.
WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE THE AUDIENCE TAKES AWAY FROM YOUR PIECE?
Any opinion good or bad is a good thing for art. This means I made the viewer feel something. The Sculpture is about isolation and feeling ostracized – but it also has a positive side. Through my time working on this sculpture and talking about it, it was very cathartic for me and helped me get over some things.
WHAT OTHER ARTISTS INSPIRE YOU?
Richard Serra and David Smith
WHY DO YOU DO THE WORK YOU DO?
Working with metal is hard work especially at this scale and larger. It becomes meditative for me- I lose myself into the work and the feeling of accomplishment after completing a large scale piece can’t be duplicated.
I work to capture movement in a medium that does not move. Using steel, which is an inherently rigid material, I work to convey a sense of fluid action in space. My work explores the wide range of movement of the human figure informed through my study of drawing the human anatomy. My sculptures seek to convey the motion of the body in extremely stressful and beautiful positions; the moment that a dancer is at the peak of a jump, the weightless split second before a body succumbs to gravity. I am describing an ephemeral action in steel to convey this moment for eternity. I want the viewer to visualize the actions that led up to a given pose and the actions that will follow it. Using the brightly colored surfaces separates the figures from the landscape, making them stand out in much the same way people do when they wear clothes. The brilliant colors serve as protection for the steel from the corrosive outdoor environment as well as adding excitement to the steel to aid in the sense of movement. The work explores the range of possibilities and flexibility of the material as well as the subject matter.
Motivated by his study of human anatomy and movement, Jack Howard-Potter works with steel to create large-scale figurative sculptures. His work has been on display throughout the world in outdoor sculpture parks, galleries and public art exhibitions.
Howard-Potter grew up in New York City where he was inspired by the public sculpture of Alexander Calder, George Ricky and various performance, dance, and artistic exposure. He earned a BA in Art History and Sculpture from Union College and has been making and displaying his original sculpture since 1997.
After college, Howard-Potter moved to Colorado and worked with a blacksmith creating furniture and learning about the properties of steel, the medium that he would eventually use to create his art. Howard-Potter also gained the skills to convey a heightened sense of fluidity in solid steel while learning about the commercial practices of metalworking
In 2001 Jack enrolled in anatomy and drawing classes at the Art Students League in New York City to further his skills as a figurative artist and understand how the human form works and moves. Famed artist and instructor at the League for 40 years, Anthony Palumbo, selected Howard-Potter to work as his assistant and eventually became his mentor. For two years Jack immersed himself in the human form, sketching five days each week and completing thousands of drawings. It was this practice that gave him the in-depth knowledge of human anatomy that can be seen in his work today.
In 2005 Howard-Potter made his largest and most daring sculpture to date, The Muse. Standing 27 feet tall the monumental figure of a female form taking to the sky, made out of almost two thousand pounds of steel covered in a galvanized and powder coated silver skin took 4 months to complete and representing a major success in Mr. Howard-Potter’s career.
Jack has permanent and long-term displays in sculpture parks, municipalities and galleries across the country including Marco Island and Coral Springs, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; Pemberton, New Jersey; Salem, New York; Jackson, Tennessee; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Chicago, Illinois and Blaine, Washington.
Howard-Potter resides in New York City with his wife, Erica, daughter, Skylar and son Lyndon, and is a member of the board of trustees for the Elisa Monte Dance Company where he continues sketch rehearsals and draw inspiration from the dancers.
Nature and industry inspire my work. I strive to bring animation, balance, and intrigue to my work, playing with gravity, but keeping trust between the piece and its landscape. My hope is that my work invites the viewer to play, question, and respond. It is a great honor to have my work recognized, but my greatest reward is the delight on the face of a child.