Interview Topics-Memorial Sculptures


The artist enjoys the opportunity of bringing to life the spirit of a loved one through posthumous sculpture. Intrigued by the connection she felt to her subjects, and the comments that she often heard from her clients like, "You capture more than a likeness, you capture the essence of the individual," Ms. Mongeon felt compelled to examine and recorded her journey of four posthumous sculpture commission in the book “Bringing to Life the Spirit of the Deceased–A Sculptor’s Journey.” (The book is complete, and the artist is seeking a publisher.)

Her primary question in writing the book was, “How do I capture the essence of someone I have never met?” A secondary question that was a little more difficult to ask was, “Is there a connection between myself and the deceased?” Her answers brought her to the study of grief, death, dying, science of emotion, neuroscience, and even physics. All the while partaking in a very personal journey and examination of herself and her own gifts, as well as the unusual occurrences that surrounded each commission. The research was first documented for her thesis at Vermont College Union Institute and University.

Patsy was the first to be documented as the artist begins her close evaluation into the step-by-step artistic process and the unusual circumstances that seem to transpire while getting to know her subject.

“ I seem to know things about the subject that I would not otherwise know. I don’t know if this is anything mystical, it may be that I have good observation skills,”
states Ms. Mongeon

“You develop a relationship with the deceased,” A church friend tells her. It is something that artist never really considered until the writing of the book.

Lucas is the second sculpture documented in the book. "Young children change so drastically from year to year," the artist describes the challenge in capturing Lucas with the little reference that was available. She also describes her desire to nurture and love her subject who died in a tragic swimming accident. She describes her “imaginings” of interactions with Lucas.



As Ms. Mongeon examines her intuition and her ability to “feel” the pain of her clients and their loss. She he is greatly concerned about taking on the third commission.

The commission of Jeanine proves to be one of the most emotionally challenging, as it is her first posthumous sculpture based upon a suicide. The artist has looked at her gift of what some call “psychic empathy,” the ability to feel others pain as your own, in previous chapters, but is surprised when she suffers a bout of depression during the sculpting of Jeanine. “How can I pick up depression from someone one that is not alive,” She wonders. Through her research into emotions, mirror neurons and the Facial Action Coding System developed by psychologist Paul Ekman, she discovers that picking up emotions from photographs is not psychic at all, but instead is science.
Her own loss is described in the latter section of the book as she begins that last documented sculpture commission of professor that passes away, and the loss of a second professor that was helping her with the project.

The book "Bringing to Life the Spirit of the Deceased– A Sculptor's Journey" is an endearing look into the lives of four individuals and the intimate connection that is developed by the artist.

The following is an excerpt from the artist’s upcoming book Bringing to Life the Spirit of the Deceased- A Sculptor’s Journey Chapter One- Why I Am Drawn to Posthumous Sculpture.

"I have always been intrigued with the story that I heard about elephants, marveling at the bones of their ancestors that they never knew. I remember seeing an elephant documentary that said that elephants that came across bones of their ancestors would pick them up and caress them, passing them from one to another in a respectful but mourning ritual. By doing so, it helped them come to terms with death. I feel that this action, this simple action by a wonderful and majestic creature is what I feel when I create posthumous portraiture. When the box of personal affects comes to my studio and I examine its contents, from that day forward until the day that the sculpture is complete, I have spent time lovingly caressing the life that I have had the pleasure of being introduced to. I turn that life over and over in my hands and in my heart as lovingly as those majestic elephants did with the bones of their ancestors. It is through this ritual and my art that my experience is enhanced and the healing process and letting go occur for my client. "
Bridgette Mongeon

A Lecture on the process of creating posthumous sculpture and the emotion of art is available for groups.

Sample of interview questions with response times (photographs and video footage are available)

INTRODUCTION (approx 40 seconds)
Bridgette Mongeon is a sculptor residing in Houston, Texas. She has sculpted B. B. King, Willie Nelson and Bill Monroe, as well as numerous portraits of children. She is also nonfiction freelance writer and has been a contributing writer on several books. She loves to study, creativity as it pertains to neurology and behavioral psychology which one day she hopes to pursue as a doctorate degree. She is just finishing up her first book, “Bringing to Life the Spirit of the Deceased—A Sculptor’s Journey, and is here to share some of her research on the science of emotion as it pertains to art.

1. What prompted you to write this book? (Reply time approx 1 minute)

2. What is it about? (Reply time approx 1.50 minute)

3 and 4. It is said that you help people heal through your artwork, how does that happen?
Has every one of your clients gone through this process of working through their grief? (Reply time approx 5-6 minute)

5. Does everyone heal? (Reply time approx 1 minute)

6. You invite the readers to learn a secret about you, Can you share that with us now? ( there is a good chance I will move into 7 and 8 without prompt) (Reply time approx 8-9 minute)
7. When did you first learn that you had this ability?
8. Why has this been a secret?

9. Can you control it? (Reply time approx 2 minute)

10. If you could get rid of it would you? (Reply time approx 2 minute)

11. How does what you learned about emotion pertain to posthumous sculpture and the science behind the art? (Reply time approx 9-10 minute)

12. What would you like to see happen with the publishing and reading of this book? (Reply time approx .50 minute)

13. You mentioned nonlocal phenomenon can you explain a little more about that? (Reply time approx 4-4.5 minutes)

14. What other “unusual circumstances” do you depict in the book? (Reply time approx 1 minute)
• One at a time (approximate time 1- 1.5 minutes)
• Knowing of my subject _ sitting patsy ( approximate time 1-1.50)
• * Feather moments ( 5.50)
• My imaginings (2.10)

15. Tell us about sculpting the famous (approximate time 4-8 minutes)

Contact the Artist or her Publicist
If you are interested in interviewing the artist or need further information you can contact her or her publicist, Jessica Brown through the online contact form or by calling 713-699-1739. Mailed correspondence can be sent to Bridgette Mongeon, PO Box 10562, Houston, Texas 77206

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