Open Letter to the Peninsula Gateway

My letter to the editor in response to The Peninsula Gateway's Articles (below):

"City right to move forward with pier statue" 2/14/2012

"Despite artistic differences, statue plan moves forward"  2/15/2012

How can it be called art if not created by an artist?

The age old question “What is art?” misses an important point. Better phrased, the real question is “How can you call it art if it was not created by an artist?”

No matter what the process used, a work of art either reflects the intent, technique, and abilities of the artist, or it is not art at all. Recently, the Gig Harbor Arts Commission requested that a maquette (small model) of the proposed Maritime Pier sculpture be presented to the city council. Members reviewed a model, computer-carved, from a historic photograph using 3D modeling software.  This fabrication technique does not reflect the spark of an artist.

The artistic merit of the model and the use of 3D technology in its fabrication was largely dismissed as irrelevant given that the maquette was “just the model”, and wasn’t the actual life size work.  In reality, the maquette IS the work of art and represents the artist’s vision, passion, and talent from which the larger sculpture is derived.  As a modern day traditional sculptor, I embrace technology and use it to enlarge my work and accurately preserve my original intent. But utilizing technology to replace artistic intent is akin to fraud and cannot be called real art.  The community and any donors to the project should be saddened to know that the alleged “legacy” sculpture was not sculpted at all.


Mardie Rees Gig Harbor Sculptor