Webster's dictionary defines Evolution: Any process of formation or growth. As human beings we're in a constant state of growth and evolution, throughout our lives. But along the way, at random unexpected moments, realizations pop through the clutter of the street noise, and frantic pace and we come to know in our hearts: "so this is what it was all for!" And somehow, from that point on, we are different, born into a new exciting phase of our lives.

It was at this point in Carole Feuerman's life that we sat down to talk about the new path she is taking. Her journey has been leading up to a new birth of artwork, that she feels is the most exciting and 'right' work of her life. With a career spanning 30 years, she started in the commercial art world as an illustrator, and album and magazine cover designer. This work evolved into three-dimensional covers, using face casts, which launched her creation of the wet realistic sculptures she is most known for.

 

Her work has led her through the Madison Avenue ad world, the home of Malcolm Forbes, and even a mannequin factory on the Lower East Side. She has recently visited the White House, (the Clinton's actually own his and hers Feuerman sculptures), is traveling through the U.S. on a book tour, and will soon begin work on a new World Peace project with the U.N. With her superhuman level of energy and enthusiasm for life, Carole is taking life by the horns.

On this next leg of her career, working with molten metals and lava, Carole has literally moved onto more dangerous and uncharted lands. It's a more organic phase of her development as an artist and person, work that is generated from her own emotional evolution. But possibly, it's a time when karma is taking over.

 

IMNYC (IM): You were born in New York?

CAROLE FEUERMAN (CF): I was born in Hartford. And I moved to New York when I was 2 weeks old. I wanted to be in the city! I went to school in Philadelphia and then I came back to New York and had kids pretty young, I got married pretty young. I lived in Queens, then Roslyn, and got divorced and moved back to the city.

IM: Does New York itself actually inspire you?

CF: Sure. I did a couple of pieces that are named after the city, like City Slicker (wet woman in a red anorak). I always wanted to live here. When I saw those lights! It was magical. I remember I was a little girl and driving into the city and we drove over the bridge and everything was lit up and I said Look at those lights, isn't it exciting! Someday I'm going to live there.

IM: When did you create your first sculpture?

 

CF: I didn't even recognize that I was doing sculpture. I was 10 years old. My grandfather had bought a country house and he decided to put up another house for my parents. I was spending weekends with my grandparents in the summer. We were walking around on the grass and he said he'd like to put up a house here for me and my parents and I said 'I know exactly how to build a house. Do you have some spray paint?' And I sprayed out a whole house on the grass, and they built that house. That was actually my first 3 dimensional sculpture!

IM: When did you first make the wet realistic sculptures?

CF: I started as an illustrator doing a lot of covers for magazines, and albums, then I stared doing three-dimensional covers, which were sculptures. And I did National Lampoon, Rolling Stone, and a few different things. I started to cast people's faces, and I really enjoyed that, so I thought I'd become a fine artist, and just do the fine art. And it evolved. I've always loved using my hands.

 

IM: Your realistic sculptures really convey emotion. Was that a goal?

CF: It's a conscious effort. I'm a very emotional person and I really believe that artwork has to touch someone. It's the only way to really make something that really works. I see the world that way and this is something that I strive for.

IM: How do you make them look so real?

CF: The realism is in the paint. In over 100 layers of paint that are put on -- veins, beauty marks, skin discoloration. Even more precisely, when you're holding something your fingers turn a different color. And things that you might not notice. So if you really want to make something real, you have to see what happens to your nail bed and your finger. I would hire models that would come in every day for months. I would copy their fingers touching something, and what happens to your hands, for it to really look real. And heighten that realism by painting it so realistically.

 

IM: Have you made anything larger than life-size?

CF: I did the Absolut Vodka trucks that drove around the city. Absolut Feuerman. One had two people toasting, there were two Yuppies, and me creating the Absolut Woman. They were for 3 different products, the Citron product, the regular, and the Currant. And there was Absolut Summer, of two swimmers.

IM: What prompted you start using molten metals?

CF: I broke my finger. And the coordination in my right hand was not what it had been. So the meticulous details at that time were difficult for me to do. So I started doing these body map pieces, and I never wanted to go back, It was the beginning. There were changes within me, and when I looked at my art a year later, my art changed. When you have internal changes, it always eventually comes out externally.

IM: How do you convey an emotional world through your new body of work called Sculptures Painted With Fire?

 

CF: I've just been intrigued by painting with a material that I melt down, that was once a solid, and working with metal in new ways has been so exciting that I'm mostly involved with the process right now. The sculptures I've done are very classical as they were before. I don't know how emotional they are.

IM: The technique is very organic. Do you drip the metal in or fire it?

CF: I melt down various metals and keep them in separate pots. I take giant soup ladles, and pour the amount of bronze that I want into the mold. And then when I go back to get more, the second layer sort of overlaps the first, which has already started to harden. I'm winding up with multilayers of beautiful patterns that the metal makes as it drips and pours into my realistic mold. I've done everything from mixing two metals, to splashing, splattering, and pouring. I'm just having incredible fun with it, and it is organic. And since I have this commission of 30 pieces, I am getting much more involved with saying something with these pieces. And pulling it together.

 

IM: What do you think it's evolving into?

CF: For me it's an earth process. It's a part of a three series of sculptures about the earth. And metal is silica. It came from sand and rock. I'm melting that in the first body of work. In the second body of work, I'm going to be working with lava from a volcano, and the 3rd body of work I'm going to be working with salt and sea salts and crystals. I'm going to work with these three different earth processes.

IM: Do you ever invite your collectors to come watch you create?

CF: Yes. It's the first time in my career that I've actually involved my collectors in the actual creation of the art. It was so exciting to two of my collectors that they bought pieces right then and there after watching this birthing process. And since I'm working with the body it almost does look like a birthing process. When I pour the bronze and it's on fire, it almost looks like veins, and the body coming alive. It's a very unusual experience. Very spiritual.
It really is like a birth, because in the process, the mold is destroyed.

 

With the first 26 sculptures, each is a god and a goddess. And one looked like the sea, so I named it the Goddess of the Sea, and another one was Aphrodite, and all the different gods and goddesses. They looked to me like they were born of the earth, like they were something from this far away place. It's amazing to be working this way, and I know there are other artists that have free-poured bronze, but no one else has free poured bronze into realistic molds in the manner that I'm doing it. I just make it up as I go. The freedom it's given me

IM: How did you get the idea to include a small sculpture with your book?

CF: I'm creative so my mind is always thinking of what am I trying to do that's different from anybody else. Something that's uniquely me. I chose a sculpture called Kiss, and it's a little girl puckering her lips and throwing a kiss, because to me that's a universal feeling that I want to convey. Taking a picture of something and then seeing it is a totally different thing. Taking it to another dimension. There's a limited edition - only 100 with that particular sculpture. Then I'm going to do the Kiss in free pour. And then each one will be somewhat different.

 

IM: You've studied astrology and metaphysics at great lengths. How does it appear in your work?

CF: My name means "fireman" and when you ask me about being a spiritual person, when you look at everything all these years I've been Feuerman, and now I'm really working with the fire. And you wonder which came first and how karmic life is.

IM: When did you make that connection?

CF: I was working with the fire and it was the second time I was doing it, and I was so happy, like a little kid in a sandbox playing with this fire. In a way I was painting with it. I love to paint. And I never really wanted to be a sculptor, even though I've been doing it for more than 30 years. And it seemed like I was doing the perfect thing: I was a sculptor, and I was taking different metals and using them in a painterly fashion. And then I thought 'My goodness my name is "fireman," maybe I'm doing exactly what I should be doing, everything is exactly right. Who set this up?'

 

IM: Did you think everything you'd done up till now was to get to this point?

CF: Definitely. I had worked so hard my entire life. From morning till night usually seven days a week. And I've achieved a certain amount of notoriety but I think that there are artists who are more famous than myself, and I often wondered how come I'm not that famous if I worked this hard and had this much exposure and this and that. It occurred to me when I was working with the fire that I wasn't supposed to be world famous yet, because I had to keep pushing the universe, because I had to arrive at his new way of working which was in my destiny, before it would all come together. So when I say this is the most important time in my life, and the most exciting, it's now just starting to all come together. Exactly, perfectly right.

***

 

Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture 1978 - 1999, recently published by Hudson Hills Press, is currently available at museum stores, book shops and all Barnes & Noble stores. It includes highlights from the last 20 years of Carole's career, including the new Sculptures Painted With Fire. Only 100 books will include the "Kiss" sculpture.

Carole's work can be seen at:

imnyc's own Exhibit C

 

Carole's work can also be seen at:

Her studio by invitation, and there's an event at the studio in October 16th - contact imnyc.com

The Hueneoc Gallery in Soho at 80 Wooster Street. He shows the realistic sculptures primarily.

The new works in New York will be announced in the fall. I have a new gallery. We haven't set a date for exhibition.

The Judy Miller Gallery in Coral Gables, Lord Grey in Santa Monica, BGH Gallery, Y Gallery in Mass, The (GJJHKJhkjh) Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston, and there's more.

New projects - a major World Peace project soon to be announced

If people are interested in watching her do a pour, they can contact imnyc. She'll be arranging some spectacular pours; she'll hire a bus, if there are enough people