Patrick Gracewood interviews sculptor, Alisa Looney
PG. I’m curious about artists who combine different disciplines. We share a love of drawing, dance, and sculpture. I’d like to talk about process. When we are focused on “Making ART” it is easy to ignore our body’s needs. How do you care for your spirit’s needs as a sculptor? Ignoring that aspect is problematic if we want to create art that communicates spirit instead of just manufacturing a skillful commodity.
AL. Many of the stretches and exercises that I do are essential for my body to function and to do physical work. Movement is key to keep my body mind and spirit all working properly. If I don’t move, I am literally in pain, my mind is not happy and my spirit feels stuck and I can’t draw well. Also, the computer is the hardest on my neck so I tend to avoid working on it.
How A Sculptor Translates Movement Into Form
I am still very drawn to depicting movement, yet not as much directly to the image of the dancer(s) as I was before. I have always been held captive by the energy of the body, and how it is the same energy as the river, the flow of life, the power of it, a strength of the body, the balance, the completeness of one human expression. My consciousness is expanded to the broader recognition of the web of life. How I can best depict our deep connection to nature and to each other?
One recent piece was inspired by the vision of humans breathing with the trees. We support the trees with our out-breath, and they support us with their oxygen. This was largely inspired by Treesister’s meditations which include gentle movement, and focuses on the deep connection to nature and trees. I am exploring how we co-exist with nature, how we can support the healing of our world and each other. This is primary to me now.
Currently I’m making an enamel on steel spirit mask. It depicts the rich layer of soil and fungus deep in the roots of the trees. Trees and fungus support each other with life giving properties. The roots take the shape of a human face, and the piece is titled: Rooting Tree Spirit.
I have had many, many years of movement – explored through dance and then brought that energy into drawings and paintings. Over the years that has developed what I call Sketch in Motion. I enjoy teaching this process.
Dance of a Sculptor
As a dancer, the movement I am longing to do is largely outside, along the river, under the trees. I have decided to start a movement class near our home and studio called: “Move with ease in the trees.” It is my hope that this brings movers to me that also feel this calling to move and to connect with the trees and nature. I will keep it gentle and improvisational, for any age, and will provide art supplies to allow whatever self-expression or inspiration to come out. Afterward, we warm ourselves up indoors and gradually take it outdoors as the movers feel comfortable to do so. I am leading this from what I need as an artist.
PG. Thank you, Alisa. I love the idea of leading from what you need. An artist doesn’t just make a product but is someone who integrates the different interests of life as a creative process.
Watch Alisa’s process video to see her combination of creative processes. https://alisalooney.com/about/process-video/