You may also know that I had a new book that came out last November called 3D Technology In Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling. I’m proud to say it has been a number one new release on Amazon. It seems that from starting the sculpture last July, to the book release in November, it has been a whirlwind of activity in my studio.
You may not know that I have used the same digital technology with the Alice Sculpture as I have written about in the book. It is fascinating, and I can’t wait to write a new book on the process of sculpting Alice.
The Whirlwind Continues
I’m thrilled that my publisher, Focal Press is jumping on board. With the new Alice in Wonderland Movie coming out we have an entirely new promotion strategy for the sculpture and the book. I’m thrilled when Focal Press has asked me to come to book signings, be a featured author, etc. This is a great way to start off my first solo book. I have longed for a publisher that could work with me as a team, and Focal Press is doing just that. Thanks to everyone for jumping down the rabbit hole with me.
This past week, Penn State University, The Behrend College invited me to Erie PA to speak on my new book, “3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling” I also shared about my new project of a monumental sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party. The processes I am using on the Alice sculpture are the same processes I cover in my book.
My host was Heather Cole from Penn State’s new interdisciplinary degree major- Digital Media, Arts, and Technology. My visit was supported by the Endowment Fund. Penn States interdisciplinary degree combines the broad perspective of the liberal arts with technical skill. The Penn State website describes the Digital Media Arts, and Technology major. The students study technology history and theory at the same time they are learning to use the newest programming languages, digital tools, and computer systems. I’m thrilled that this program is looking at using my book as a textbook for Digital Media, Arts, and Technology major.
There were both students from the campus and others from art groups in the area that attended. Many students from the engineering department were also in attendance, in fact, when I asked how many students in the arts that there were in the audience, 1/3 of the audience raised their hands. There were, in fact, more people interested in engineering than those working in the arts. That is no surprise to me. The book and the lecture are very interdisciplinary. I cover such things as 3D printing, and computer numerically controlled machining, digital presentation, and the workflow of a project from digital concept to fabrication. It is a good lecture for both those in the art, those studying engineering, architecture, design, industrial design and more.
Along with the book signing, I had samples of the 3D prints created by 3D RP of the digital design that I used to create the 15-foot bronze sculpture of the Grambling Tiger. 3DRP also created a 3D print of the March Hare. He is a bit stained with clay as we have been looking at him constantly while we are making the 8-foot tall sculpture. Other examples that I brought of 3D printing were some 3d printed bronze by exone. Some 3d printed wax jewelry, articulated pieces and 3d prints that are examples of the great detail you can get from the different types of 3d printing and 3d printing of objects inside of other objects.
Of course, there were plenty of Alice in Wonderland pieces that I was showing and I encouraged attendees to follow along with this newest project on the Finding Alice Facebook Page. And I always try to have other materials that attendees can take home like a list of all of the contact information such as:
- A description of the website created for the book at digitalsculpting.net that has further information will hold tutorials and has podcasts about art and technology.
- There is also a Facebook page for the book. These are created for others to share their work. It is a place where others and I can address questions that people have about the technology and processes, I also encourage vendors to come and share their processes and expertise.
- Brochures from my vendors like Shidoni foundry, my ( CNC) Computer numerically controlled milling companies such Synappsys Digital Services and Across the Board Creations. The video of milling by Synappsys was a big hit in the presentation, and you can see it for yourself on you tube. (Fast forward to about the two minute mark.)
The Digital Media, Arts, and Technology Department brought their MakerBot fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3d printer and had it running. Many thanks to Heather’s Bread and Circus Club at Penn State who monitored the table while I was in giving the lecture.
My daughter created a wonderful banner for my new speaking engagements, and we had that outside the auditorium.
The attendance was great, the hospitality and the quaint campus a pleasure to visit. The next day on my way back to Buffalo for my next engagement, I took a short jaunt to Presque Isle state Park. It was a lovely little side trip. I drove through the park, looked at the wildlife and learned about the Battle of Lake Erie, from which came the saying “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” The Penn State Library with their intriguing exhibit complete with a replica of the ship was my first introduction to the-the battle of Erie and Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry.
Thanks, Penn State University, The Behrend College. I look forward to helping your students through the various resources mentioned above. Who knows, maybe their work will be in the next edition of 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling.
If you are interested in having me come to your University or group, please contact me through my fine art website. I am traveling around quite a bit and would love to come and talk.
Bridgette’s presentation excellently conveyed the practical aspect of 3D modeling. Being able to see the models she created come to life in a real physical project was very inspiring.
Will Gerould- Student
I was thrilled about the broad turn out of students and community members that were in attendance. Bridgette did a wonderful job of covering the subject from an interdisciplinary approach and I think many came out with a better understanding and appreciation of the work involved.
Heather Cole- Instructor Digital Media, Arts, and Technology
Heather, thanks for bringing Bridgette, it was a great glimpse into the life of a professional artist and some amazing technology.
Dr. Chris Coultson- Professor School of Engineering.
The last blog post updating the Mad Hatter Tea party sculpture project was August 7th. This was just days after the foam for the March Hare came in. Much has happened in that short amount of time. Keep an eye on my sculpting blog or on the Finding Alice Facebook Page. I have created a notes section on the Facebook page with all of these updates.
Many people walk into the studio and say, “Wow, everything is coming along so quickly.” I look at the entire project and think that it is moving slowly. That is because there is so much to do, and so many people to manage while sculpting. Plus, it all depends on me, so I am pulled in many directions. However, I can’t complain. I am getting paid to create a Wonderland. Let’s see what we accomplished in the last 30 days. Below is some of our accomplishments this last month. I talk a lot about my process of creating using digital and traditional. If you are interested in learning more about this process, I have a book that is coming out on the 28th of this month called 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling. Y0u can order it on Amazon.
The March Hare
The March Hare came in around August 7th. He had to be dry fitted. We made an internal armature, and he was mounted. After that, I had much hand sculpting to do. Because I revised the digital model in the computer for 3D printing, more detail was made on the digital model than on the Alice and the Mad Hatter figures. This detail was reflected by Synappsys Digital Services that provided this CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) Foam. Still, there was a tremendous amount of sculpting to do.
After the carving on the foam, a layer of wax is put on the sculpture. This seal the foam. Then finally a layer of clay and more detail is added to that. I put together the video of the CNC milling and dry fit and love watching it. As of this date, the March Hare is nearly complete. I’ll save some photos for next month or follow along on theFinding Alice Facebook Page.
The Table base
We worked on the March Hare this month, but I also carved the massive base for the table. The base was designed and carved in foam from Duna USA. It is a new foam for me, and I absolutely love it. I’ll be writing more on that foam later. Then, a layer of wax and finally a we added a layer of paint to that. The paint is the same color as the clay we are using which will cause less visual disturbance when people come to approve the sculpture. I almost hate painting the art as I love the color of the wax on the foam, and this wax color will be more true to the patina or color in the bronze. We will be putting the table away for the time being as we proceed with the other figures.
The Hatter and Alice
The Mad Hatter was delivered, as was Alice. They were huge crates, and it was like Christmas when opening them. Originally we were going to work on Alice first and then the Hatter, but the order of this has been changed.
We had a team of six interns working this last month putting in various hours. I hope to post more about these wonderful people in up and coming posts. Interns come and go throughout the day and so that means that means I am working pretty much two shifts.
I guess in hindsight we have accomplished a lot considering we also had a couple other small jobs in the studio.
What have we hidden? I think a more appropriate question is where will you hide things? Sculpting the table allowed me to create many nooks and crannies. One of the last things to do on the table was to trace the table base onto the table top. I need to know how it fits together so that I know places to hide things under the table as well. I’m thinking of places all of the time, and, for the most part, will create these smaller items last and hide them within the pieces that we sculpted. Of course there is something to be said about buttons and tea cups. Well, I guess that is your hints for now.
Alice In Wonderland Gets Bigger and Smaller digitally Instead of With Mushrooms.
In Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice in Wonderland gets bigger and smaller by eating a mushroom, cake and elixirs of sorts. In sculptor Bridgette Mongeon’s Wonderland, the characters are changing size—digitally.
The Evelyn Rubenstein Park of Bellaire, Texas has commissioned the artist to make eight-foot tall characters placed within the scene of the Mad Hatter Tea Party. Estimated date of delivery of this bronze is just over a year away in fall of 2016. “That short time frame is a monumental task at best, but the digital tools make my job easier and faster,” states Mongeon. The name of the sculpture- Move One Place on is what the Mad Hatter beckons before everyone changes places in the story. The artist hopes visitors to the sculpture will be prompted to do the same.
The artist had worked on the creating and selling of the design for three years before she and the park finalized the paperwork. This happened on July 3, 2015, the day before the 150th anniversary of the beloved story of Alice in Wonderland. She explains that her process of creating the digital models for the pitch to the client needed to be quick, as she still had not secured the commission. Mongeon first used Daz, Poser, ZBrush, Mudbox and Photoshop to create the virtual digital scene that won her this commission. Once the idea was sold to the client, the artist moves to traditional clay to finalize the designs and make them her own. The Mad Hatter, Alice, and March Hare are then 3D scanned using the NextEngine 3D Laser Scanner. “I love my NextEngine Scanner. It is a bit of work to get good scans, but it saves me time and money to have a dependable, affordable, scanner that I can use right in my studio.” The digital files are once again changed and modified by the artist using MeshLab, Meshmixer andZBrush.
One would think it would be senseless to have a 3D print of the figures if you already have a clay version at the same size. But Mongeon says that having the 3D print created by 3D RP in California was very valuable in her creative process. “The clay is fragile and hard to handle. Also, creating things like a tiny cup and saucer and a pocket watch were much easier to create digitally than trying to sculpt a half inch cup with soft clay. The digital model helps me to refine the design further, and the 3D print puts all of these elements together and gives me something to refer to when the large sculpture comes to the studio.” Mongeon claims that in her workflow she goes back and forth between digitally and traditional sculpting as much as Alice goes between big and small in the Lewis Carroll stories.
The NextEngine scanner was not the only scanner used in translating the art into a digital world. Mongeon was elated when Evan Lee of Super Solid 3D offered to come in and scan some items using an Artec Structured Light Scanner. “I’m hiding 150 small elements in the scene of The Mad Hatter Tea party. Yes, the project in itself is a huge undertaking and I must be mad as a hatter to decide to create and hide these elements. But is fun to create them and it will be even more fun to find them,” states Mongeon.Super Solid 3D used the Artec scanner to scan a portrait that the artist created and that she will use as one of the hidden elements. (The crying baby in Alice In Wonderland turns into a pig.) Super Solid 3D also scanned Mongeon’s mother’s chair that she will use as the Mad Hatter’s chair in the scene. She is working with Zbrush artist Johannes Huber to work in Zbrush, modify the chair and hide even more elements of the story.” I loved the results of the Artec Scan. One day I might like to try it on my own, however I fear the Artec scanner is over my studio budget at this time, though I am elated to see the results.”
Mongeon uses more tricks in her wonderland of creating to make Alice and her Friends grow to eight-foot tall. She turns the digital files are into Gcode and Computer Numerically Controlled or CNC Mills out the foam at Synappsys Digital Services in Oklahoma and Across the Board Creations in Canada. The pieces then travel back to the artist’s studio. Mongeon documents the carving of the characters and the “hare-raising” event in a recent YouTube video as she reassembles the monumental foam hare.
Once again, Mongeon will use traditional processes in her workflow. She now is carving the foam and adding detail to the sculpture with a fine layer of clay before the scene goes through the lost wax method of bronze casting at Shidoni Foundry in New Mexico. She will continue to document her process of creating the sculpture titled “Move one Place On” sharing it online through her blog and the Finding Alice Sculpture page on Facebook. Once the project is complete she will write about it in a new book.
Mongeon enjoys sharing her process with others. She hopes it will inspire artists to combine the processes and go beyond what the technology is presently doing and what other artist have done. She has written about the processes of incorporating digital techniques in her own studio and the studio of many artists around the world in a new book titled 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling. The book is coming out in Sept and has been called a number one new release on Amazon. She also shares information through podcasts at the book’s website at www.digitalsculpting.net. She has created a forum on both Linked in and on Facebook, where artists can share their work and pose any questions they might have on using the technology in their own studios.
Bridgette Mongeon has much more to do and share with the creating of the sculpture “Move One Place On.” Stay tuned, she will be sharing her process along the way as she goes further down the rabbit hole.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2015
Former area artist involves Buffalo in a curious adventure celebrating Alice in Wonderland’s 150th Anniversary.
This year the world celebrates the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon, a former area resident of North Tonawanda and Kenmore, has cause to celebrate as the artist’s notoriety is growing with Alice.
Bridgette is known for her bronzes of children, and her sculptures of such entertainers as B. B. King, Willie Nelson and Bill Monroe. Over the years, her work has gotten bigger. She has been commissioned to create school mascots such as the larger than life Prairie View Panther for Prairie View A & M Texas, and a fifteen-foot tiger for Grambling State University, Grambling Louisiana. Her work has also been a bit “out of this world” as she will be creating a sculpture of Neil Armstrong as a gift to Russia. Bridgette states that her newest commission of a monumental sculpture of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is the most curiously creative and wonderful adventure of all.
Tea party for eight- no reservations necessary! The Jerry and Maury Rubenstein Foundation commissioned the sculpture, in honor of their mother, Evelyn. The scene will be a larger than life size bronze that the Bridgette will install at Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire, Texas just outside of Houston.
Bridgette uses both traditional sculpture and digital processes to create her artwork. She has dual cause to celebrate as she is also debuting her new book, “3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling”. The book is a number one new release on Amazon and is coming out Sept 2015. In this book, she describes the digital and traditional processes that she and other artists all over the world are using in their art. She will incorporate these same processes in her sculpture of The Mad Hatter Scene. You could say that Alice no longer needs mushrooms or cake to grow. In Bridgette’s Wonderland, Alice and her friends change size digitally using such things as the Next Engine 3D laser scanner, and digital sculpting programs such as Zbrush. These tools helped her obtain a digital model that she sent to vendors who milled the art with a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) milling machines. Alice and her friends got big as they were milled in foam to eight feet tall. The artist then carves on the large foam pieces, and the ten-foot table, adding fine layer of clay and more detail before making molds that will be shipped to Shidoni Foundry in New Mexico for bronze casting. The installation and unveiling of this sculpture in Evelyn’s Park is scheduled for late 2016.
Bridgette titled the sculpture, “Move One Place On.” The title is what the Mad Hatter beckons at the tea party. She hopes visitors will develop a tradition of shouting the proclamation and change places at the bronze table as they visit the sculpture.
Bridgette is as passionate about education and literature as she is about sculpting, writing, and technology. “I love inspiring others.” States Mongeon. She is writing a new book documenting her process of using fine art and technology with Alice and her friends.
On September 30th, she will be inspiring the youth of Kenmore West as she visits her high school to speak to the students about the combination of art, literature, technology, math and science. She will also invite some of the students down the rabbit hole. She 3D scanned her grandmother’s (Tekla Shipman from North Tonawanda) antique teacups using a laser scanner. Then she sent the digital file of a teacup to the students of Kenmore West. Kenmore West’s art teacher David Rogalski will help the students to enhance the flowers on the teacup digitally using a digital sculpting program called Mudbox. Members of the maker space, The Buffalo Lab have volunteered to help the students if they need assistance in enhance the teacup before it is 3D printed. Upon completion, the students will send their collaborative artwork to Bridgette at her Texas studio, and she will add their cup to the tea party scene before she casts the sculpture in bronze. Mongeon loves the idea that the kids can feel like they played a part in this bronze sculpture.
The Texas sculpture will have even more connections to the Buffalo area. A friend of Bridgette’s posed for the body of the Mad Hatter, but Bridgette will pull from the reference photographs in memory of a beloved family member. Her former brother in law Jack Rzadkiewicz of Buffalo will be her inspiration for the Hatter.
In honor of the sesquicentennial, Mongeon is also creating, and hiding 150 different elements within the scene, inviting park visitors on an interactive journey. If you arrive at the sculpture with your lunch and the best dinning experience is occupied you can begin the treasure hunt searching for the 150 elements. For example, if guests look carefully, they may find a small Humpty Dumpty hiding, and the waiting White Queen tucked into the bronze “bark” legs of the table and benches. (Note the face of the waiting white queen is in memory of another Buffalonian- the artist’s mother, Barbara Ingersoll.) The sculpture and Evelyn’s Park, located in Bellaire, will be a “destination spot” for visitors to the Houston area. Lewis Carroll fans worldwide will come to experience the endearing story of Alice in Wonderland.
Besides her inspirational presentation at Kenmore west, Bridgette will be speaking at Penn State Behrand, and then returning to the Buffalo area. The Buffalo Lab Maker space in The Foundry will host a lecture by the artist. There she will show her work, the new book and the Alice in Wonderland project. The lab will also have some demonstrations of the 3D printing process and tours of their facility. Join her on the curious adventure Thursday October 1st at the 7:00 pm. The Buffalo Lab is located at 298 Northampton St, Buffalo NY 14208 inside The Foundry.
You can follow the project of creating Alice on the artist’s blog at http://www.creativescupture.com/blog or at the finding Alice Facebook page.
–For more information about this press release contact Bridgette Mongeon 713-540-3201
–Watch this YouTube Video to see the sculpture and process https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1J821vwkr8
–For information about Evelyn’s Park http://evelynspark.org/
–Evelyn’s Park press release
How long have you been an artist?
Ever since I could pick up a crayon. My first commission was at Grant School in North Tonawanda. I was in kindergarten; the teacher gave me the hall bulletin board to create a scene of Santa and reindeers. It was tremendous pressure because I wasn’t sure I could draw a reindeer from memory. The teacher found the reference for me to work from which confused m. If she had pictures of reindeers, why did she need me? I write about this experience a lot.
Where did you live in Buffalo?
We moved around quite a bit. I lived in North Tonawanda in the Herschell home owned by the family that built the carousels. I loved that old house. We lived in Tonawanda for a short time, Grand Island, Kenmore and the West Side of Buffalo.
Where do you live now?
I live in Houston, Texas.
Do you still have family in Buffalo?
My parents have both passed away. I have several cousins and immediate family in the area. I have a sister, Becky Gillen in Grand Island and Bill Mongeon lives in Gasport. I have two nieces Rachel Dluhy and Kate Rzadkiewicz. I’m coming to Buffalo for Kate’s wedding, so I guess she will be Kate Fogelsonger. She is the daughter of Jack —my inspiration for the Mad Hatter.
When you lived in Buffalo, did you receive inspiration in your career?
Oh, my word yes! The novels I am working on are full of experiences from my childhood.
My first introduction to art was through my teachers at every level. I am eternally thankful for their dedication. I mention that in my dedication of the book.
The Albright-Knox art gallery gave me something for which to aspire.
But, it was more than just the art galleries. It was Delaware Park, and the richness of the woods and streams surrounding this area, and the cemeteries- especially Forest Lawn Cemetery near Delaware Park. I try to visit there every time I come home. I’m a nut about cemeteries, and Forest Lawn has a piece by one of my favorite sculptors—Harriet Frishmuth.
The Seaward Johnson sculpture of the newspaper reader on Niagara Street probably influenced my career as an artist. That is exactly the type of work that I love to create— bronzes that interact with the community. The Mad Hatter Tea Party at Evelyn’s Park has that in spades, or should I say “hearts.” Oh, how I wish I could receive a commission to create something like that for the Buffalo area.
In your art education in Buffalo, did any one teacher stand out?
Absolutely! Debbie Lloyd was my teacher at Kenmore West. She went over and above the call of an art teacher. She helped me through some very difficult times and in the end, we became very close friends. I love her dearly and have her in my book dedication.
You are not necessarily an educator, but education seems to be important in what you do.
Yes, it is. I love the opportunity of helping others to reach their goals. I’m obsessed with sharing information and in creating community. Those things seem to drive everything that I do. I love that I can educate through my speaking engagements, writings and podcasts.
I also want to work with an art mentoring program. I looked and could not find one. So, I created my own. I’m presently mentoring a young man. I would love to be involved in a progressive education art mentoring program. I’m sure I could do it through distance learning. If there is anyone who is interested, please let me know.
I was thrilled to be a part of 3DCAMP Houston as the cochairwoman for two years. It was a tremendous amount of work, but it was great. I helped in education, developed community and gathered resource for my book.
What started you into 3D technology?
I was married, and my husband was doing 3D graphics as a medical illustrator. He brought me to many conventions that introduced me to the technology. I kept my eye on it and wrote about the technology for Sculpture Review in 2007. Soon after, I developed a graduate degree around 3D Technology in Fine art.
Another thing that pushed me to 3D technology was an injury. Artists like dancers, require their bodies to create their work. Bruce Beasley, a well-known sculptor, describes it in my book as “dancers bodies”. We injure ourselves through the very thing we love. About five years ago, after many years of pushing around clay, I developed some pretty good Popeye forearms. However, I lost all the use of my right hand, I had surgery and am very careful, still doing massage, therapy and use my interns for repetitive work, but when it happened I thought my career was over. That is when I fully embraced 3D technology into my own work.
When sitting on a panel last month, “Hand vs. Computer” at the National Sculpture Society meeting in Philadelphia, I met an artist who had a stroke. He said he was interested in my book because he hoped he could one day create again. I wept. Because of my temporary loss, our encounter was a very personal experience.
Should my career keep going in the direction that it is, I have considered being involved in a scholarship program. I would love to create something for young artist/writers/musicians, especially ones with personal difficulties.
Do you work alone?
Sometimes, but with a project like Alice or the Grambling Tiger, I will find interns from the neighboring schools, high schools, and colleges. We can have up to 10 people working on a project that come and go throughout the week depending on their schedules. I long to have one young artist that I could nurture and would then work for me full time. I do have an intern that has worked with me on quite a few projects. Allison Gonzalez is not a sculptor, but she is the best “rusty right arm” any artist could hope for. I also long for an office assistant- with all I do I need someone to keep me straight. Until then… I have an imaginary assistant named Elizabeth.
Podcasts? You mentioned podcasts, what are they and where do people find them?
Well, I have been podcasting for years. I love it, though it is time-consuming, especially the editing.
I started podcasting years ago with the Inspirations Generations Podcast. I podcasted with my daughter and mom “Three Generations of Christian Women.” Mom sat on the phone in her assisted living facility in Amherst. She had a powerful spiritual ministry helping hurting women throughout Western New York area, but when her body turned against her, she spent most of her time in a chair or bed. My daughter, Christina Sizemore, who lived in Oklahoma at the time, would call, and we would talk about different things, mostly of a spiritual nature. That interaction gave my mother a purpose in her last days. We did that for nearly three years. I am so thankful I did this. I can listen to my mom, anytime I want, though many of the podcasts were not just with mom. Her health would not permit it. So we podcasted with others like Billy Grahams daughter Ruth Graham, the figure skater Scott Hamilton, a monk in Taize France and numerous authors, comedians, etc. The podcast can be found on iTunes and on my gift collectibles webpage at godsword.net.
ART AND TECHNOLOGY PODCASTS
In the last year I revived the Art and Technology podcasts that I started during my graduate degree. I now interview the artists and vendors from around the world that I have featured in my book, and who are pushing the limits of the technology. These podcasts can be found on ITunes and on the book’s website at www.digitalsculpting.net
You mentioned novels. So, you write more than nonfiction?
Yes. I probably have about seven books that I am writing at any one time. What makes it difficult is that they are all different genres. I’m very diverse. I love writing young adult and middle grade. I have a few books in the works; they are highly reflective of my childhood in Western New York. Another novel that is complete is about a young girl whose mother sculpts deceased loved ones, and the strange occurrences that happen surrounding that. I base this story on a lot of my experiences of sculpting the deceased. That is another area that I am known for. I love helping people with their grief through my art. I also wrote a nonfiction book on the strange things that happen when I am sculpting deceased loved ones that include the science, empathy, and emotion of the process. It is a fascinating subject, and I have also lectured on from time to time.
I also have a few children’s books I have written. I’d love to do more of those now that I am a grandmother. My biggest hindrance in getting these published is that I detest looking for publishers. With all of my diversity, I could spend a great deal of time tracking down the right publishers. I desperately need an agent that is diverse in the publishing field.
Many people ask me if I would consider self-publishing. I love the idea, but my books are stolen from the Internet weekly. I love the freedom of copying the link and sending it to my editor to get it to their legal department. I’d go broke tracking these down myself.
I love helping other artist/writers/and musicians market their work and have written about this throughout my career and speak on it whenever possible. I decided to pull from some of those writings and create a book that is a series of essays. This idea was sparked recently by the death of B. B. King. I realized it had been nearly 30 years since I sculpted him and he gave me my start as an artist, calling me his “personal sculptor.” I needed to record these adventures along with some of my epiphanies in my creative life. I’m excited to be working on that project—in my spare time.
What books have you written?
I was coauthor on Digital Sculpting with Mudbox: Essential Tools and Techniques for Artists
with author Mike de la Flor. I contributed to Mike de la Flor’s book The Digital Biomedical Illustration Handbook (Charles River Media Graphics) and have I been a contributing author on a few other books. I have written for numerous magazines and papers on different subjects. 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling is my first book going solo.
You sound very busy, what do you do for fun?
Well, I love what I do. Getting paid to play in dirt and write is extremely rewarding. I have a 2-year old granddaughter, and I love the entire experience of learning through play and exploration. However, it is extremely stimulating creatively; I want to sculpt her, paint her and write books for her.
I am a ferocious reader- and listen to audio books like most people listen to the radio.
I am a gardener, but I realized that the word “garden” is also a verb, an action. I don’t do that very much anymore, as I walk through my gardens to my studio. I spend most of my time near my pond and stream that I created in my backyard. It is a way for me to have a little of that western New York memory in my Texas backyard.
I also dance. I assist with salsa and bachata at SSQQ dance studio in Houston. When I’m not hauling around sculpture, dance is what I do 2-3 times a week for exercise. Besides, being a sculptor and writer is a lone experience. Assisting with dance is my interaction with others. Dance is my “water cooler” experience.
A writer and a sculptor, is that hard?
When I was young, I thought I had to choose one over the other. I was also singing in the chorus and played the guitar, so that made it even more difficult.
There are two muses, over the years I have learned to play them one off the other. I say, “I will be finished with this book writing and be able to get my hands dirty again. Ah, but once I do, this lover, “writing” will taunt me just as my sculpting lover is now. Yes, having an affair with another creative process can keep your creative passion on fire, but it might be less heart wrenching to be in a monogamous creative relationship. Ah writing and sculpting muse you each vie for my attention and I am blissfully and heart wrenchingly caught in between.”
I always tell students that one of the most important aspects of my career as an artist, was being able to write. I write about my work and what I know. I create press releases. It is an important skill.
What is your education?
I have always claimed Kenmore West as “My high school” even though, technically, I was only there for a few months. I was one of the kids that fell through the cracks. I left home at the age of 15. NY had a law that said you could not work past 9:00 p.m. if you were under age—stupid law. It forced me to quit school. Of all of my accomplishments, I wish I could have added graduating from Ken West to my list. Alas, I cannot, but my heart is there, and I will always be thankful for the quality adults that touched my life during that very short time. Frankly, I’m not sure I’d be alive without their help. But that is another story, one I hope to write in a novel one day.
Later, after moving to Texas, I brought my portfolio to the Community College and they accepted me into their program on my portfolio alone. I originally went into advertising and public relations, a choice that has benefited me in my career as a fine artist. I left the community college for full-time employment and soon after found sculpting. Later in life, I finished my bachelor’s degree at Vermont College. It was an unusual program as you could design your studies. It was distance degree program with a one-week residency twice a year in Vermont. I loved the progressive education, and it fit my personality perfectly. I am self-motivated to a fault. I continued with a similar program at Goddard College, also in Vermont for my Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Art (MFAIA). I had a dual focus in my MFAIA. It was important for me to receive enough credits in both areas so that I could teach, if I wanted, though my art, writing and speaking keep me busy full time. I structured my degree around 3D technology and fine art. I believe I designed one of the first degrees with this focus. The other focus of my MFAIA was creative writing.
The best part of traveling to the North East twice a year for my undergraduate and graduate programs is that I made a point to stop in Buffalo. I will forever be thankful that I had such quality time with my parents before they passed.
What is in your future?
I’ll finish the sculpting on Alice this year. The sculpture will be at the foundry for several months. Then I’ll spend a month in Santa Fe where I’ll check the metal and work with Shidoni foundry. While in Santa Fe and in between metal checks and the final patina, I’m scheduling some speaking engagements in New Mexico and Colorado. When I’m not doing either of those things, I’ll park myself in an inspirational location looking at the wonderful Santa Fe landscape, and I’ll write. I see myself doing a lot of that as I am writing two books around the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. The fist, Finding Alice- The Process is very similar to 3D technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling. However, instead of focusing on artists around the world who use the technology I will be focusing on the process of creating the sculpture “Move One Place On.”
The second book is The Finding Alice- Field Guide, it is written in rhyme and riddle. It will give hints to the 150 hidden items in the scene. I’m thrilled about writing this one, as I love writing for children, and this gives me a reason to stretch those creative muscles.
Unlike many artists who work in their studio and sell their art at art shows or in galleries, I work from commission to commission. With the incorporation of the digital technology, I can create twice as much as I could before I used that in my studio. I’m never sure what commissions are around the corner. I have a few life-size commissions pending after the completion of Alice. Though they have broken ground for the Neil Armstrong sculpture in Russia, they are still trying to raise the money. www.unitedinspace.com so that is on hold. I’m always open for new commissions. I have publicly told the town of Clarence I would redo the sculpture of Lucy, but I have not heard from them. Other than that, I’ll wait to see what comes. It is not often that an artist has such an incredible opportunity to create something like the Mad Hatter Tea party. I do hope I find another client that would love something as fanciful and fun as this project, my dream would be that this would be in Buffalo.
I hope to get over to Europe. I have been invited by the Digital Stone Project for the last two years but have had to decline as I kept thinking Alice was coming through. I write about the digital stone project in my book. It is a residency where artists stay in Tuscany for a month. They pick out marble from the stone quarry and then create art using CNC milling and a robotic arm at Garfagnana Innovazione.
In my book, I have featured so many artists and vendors from across the pond. I would love to spend a couple months, one in the Digital Stone Project residency and another traveling, speaking and seeing the incredible art I featured in the book. Besides Garfagnana Innovazione. There is Estudio Durero in Spain. They create 3D photography for the blind. Factum Arte in Madrid, is creating so much with 3D technology and fine art it would be a wonder to see it in person. There are many different companies and artists in the Netherlands such as Joris Laarman, another artist I featured in the book and who has had lots of publicity of late for his robotic 3D printing of metal and the bridge that is building itself. I’d love to get over to Austraila and see Symbiotica at the University Of Western Australia, they combine artists and scientist to create some very strange and intriguing art. I have podcasted with Oron Catts at Symbiotica and featured him in this book and other articles. There are many pioneers who have been using 3D technology in their fine art for many years. I have come to know them, long distance. I would love the opportunity to see them and perhaps share with their universities.
Do you have artwork in Buffalo?
The sculptor has publicly offered the newsboy to the Buffalo area if funds can be raised to cast and deliver the sculpture. She will donate her portion.
No, it is on my bucket list, and I have left instructions in my will. Of course, I would be elated to have something at the Albright-Knox. I have publicly said, on more than on occasions, that I would donate my portion of the newsboy sculpture to the area if I could find a backer to pay for casting and shipping. Maybe I should set up a Kickstarter for that. I have no idea where the sculpture would go, but I can tailor the newspaper he is hawking to depict a period in history. I’d also love to have a public piece along the Canal in North Tonawanda, since that is where I was born.
My mother is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. They don’t allow sculptures in her portion of the cemetery. She is buried on St. Francis drive. I have often dreamed of creating a large sculpture of Saint Francis that would reside on Saint Francis drive or in front of this cemetery.
Maybe I’ll find an art patron or business, who loves Buffalo as much as I do, and can see the possibility of collaborating on a wonderful interactive piece for Buffalo. If you know of one, tell them I’ll clear my schedule and be ready to start in 2016.
The Visual Arts Alliance– Houston Invites all to Come on a “Curious Adventure”
It will be a curious lecture at the Visual Arts Alliance on Saturday August first. Houston, Texas sculptor Bridgette Mongeon is the featured speaker, and she will be bringing a few of her friends from Alice In Wonderland.
Bridgette is the author of a new book coming out this September —a “#1 New Release” on Amazon. The book titled 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling can be preordered on Amazon and through the book’s website. Bridgette is also the artist commissioned to create the new monumental bronze sculpture of the Mad Hatter Tea Party that will be installed in a Texas park next year.
Though Bridgette is a traditional sculptor, she will be talking about how she uses digital tools in creating some of her sculptures. She will display how technology is changing the traditional process of bronze casting. Attendees will see art that artists can now create that, up until this point in technology, could never be create before. She will also share her progress on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
You will be sworn to secrecy as she divulges some of the secrets about some of the 150 elements that she is hiding in the Mad Hatter Tea Party scene created in honor of the 150th anniversary of the beloved story of Alice in Wonderland.
She’s delighted to exhibit the work of artists from all over the world who she features in her book and that are pushing the limits of the technology. It is an inspiring lecture that is bound to leave artists scratching their heads while wondering about the possibilities and saying,
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ( White Queen reminds Alice in the story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”.)
So if you are a curious artist, a lover of Alice In Wonderland stories, or interested in entering a new world of all sorts of possibilities join Bridgette and the Visual Arts Alliance as they jump down the rabbit hole, Saturday, August 1 at 9:45 at the Print Museum 1324 Clay St. in Montrose.
For more information about the Artist
visit her website at http://www.creativesculpture.com
To be a part of the Alice in Wonderland Sculpture
visit the Finding Alice Page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FindingAliceSculpture
And to find out more about the book and listen to online podcasts from the artists, visit the book’s website at http://www.digitalsculpting.net
If you would like a “teaser” about the Alice project, checkout this YouTube video.
This month I was invited to the National Sculpture Society conference to talk and share about my new book 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling and to sit on a panel about art and technology. The panel had six guests, I was the female energy of the group. Sculptor Tuck Langland moderated the group.
I was not sure what I should expect. I’ll post more about the question and comments later, but I thought I would share two pages from my book in which other artists have expressed my opinion much better than I. I’m delighted that the incredible work of Erwin Hauer is in my book. I originally had seen this quote at SIGGRAPH many years ago and new I had to use it in the book. Erwin’s work is being brought back to life by the use of technology. The other quote is from Sophie Kahn. One of the questions asked of the panel is if you scan someone and 3D print them is it still called art? Sophie’s quote from the Gugenheim Museum conference on art and scanning seems to tell it perfectly. Some people also commented about Barry X Ball’s work and so I’m including that page as well.
The other quote I used was originally from an article by Christiane Paul called Fluid Borders and was said by Keith Brown. “Art should, in any case, transcend the medium. Technique always has been and probably always will be confused with art. ” ( Page 44 of 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft… chapter A World Turned Upside Down.)
The book is available for preorder and comes out in Sept.The publisher is Focal Press.
So, I’ll pose the question to you… If you use a computer in your process can you still call it fine art?
I’m so glad that Tracy and Tom put together this page and extra little podcast segment about my interaction with B. B. King and how his death sparked my family into remembering. The message also holds some special things for all artists and artistic families. If you have not had a chance to listen to the short segment, it is not long.
The little podcast above was cropped from our long podcast. Here is a link to Tom and Tracy’s podcast about the book. Though their podcast primarily focuses on fused filament fabrication (type of 3D printing ) they diverted a bit to podcast with me about my book coming out in Sept. called 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling. We also talked about my new Alice in Wonderland project and the technology that will be used on that project and how I am making it into a new book combining art and technology. Thanks Tom and Tracy for the podcasts. It was fun. Thanks also for being a part of this inspiration and family memory of my sculpting of B. B. King.
I’m delighted that the National Sculpture Society invited me to participate in education at the National Sculpture Society Conference June 26-28, 2015.
In 2007/2008 I wrote an article about combining traditional and digital technology called Exploring Digital Technologies as Applied to Traditional Sculpture and a sidebar on Shan Gray’s sculpture The American . The magazine that I wrote this for is Sculpture Review – a publication of the National Sculpture Society. All those years ago I was working on a degree combining 3D technology in fine art. This type of degree was not even heard of and would not have been possible without the support of Goddard College Master of Fine Art in Interdisciplinary Arts degree. Eight years later, my book titled 3D Technology In Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling by Focal Press is being published, and I’m headed to the National Sculpture Society Conference to discuss these topics.
I’ll be participating in the conference in Philadelphia on a panel- “Hand versus Computer.” I’m accompanied by some incredible artists.
The panel consists of Sabine Howard, George Nista, Simon Indrele, Sandis Kondrats, Jim Licaretz, and me Bridgette Mongeon. Once again, I’m the only female on a panel talking about technology. Tuck Langland will be moderating the panel.
Though the Society Conference has me listed for the book signing, my book won’t be ready. It is coming out in Sept, but is available for pre-order on Amazon. So, technically I won’t be able to participate in the book signing. However, when I’m not on the panel, I’ll be in the vendor area. I’ll be talking about the process of creating the Grambling State Tiger featured in the book, the many different technologies and the artists that I featured in the book. Of course, I’ll also be talking about my new book and art project of Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter Tea Party. This new project is pushing the combination of art and technology to the max. Check out the video below or on YouTube. My time in the vendor area will be like my interactions at 3D Printer World Expo 2015, 2014.
Thank you Focal Press for believing it is time for this type of book.It took a long time to convince a publisher to publish a book on the topic of art and technology. I also want to thank them for supplying me with a sample of the book prior to the release date so that I can have it for this conference. The book is available on Amazon but, the actual release of the book is September 2015.
There is still time to register for the conference. Also stay tuned. I’m trying to podcast with some of the participants from the conference for the art and technology podcasts. I’ll either do this before if we can fit it in or after. But, as always, keep checking the book’s website as I podcast monthly with those working with art and technology. You are also welcome to use the podcast episodes on your website or ezine.
If you are going to the conference and want to set up a fireside chat around some drinks or a meal, I’d love to organize one. Just let me know. We did this at 3D Printer World Expo and those participating found it helpful. And as usual you can share your own work on 3D tech and fine art projects and questions on both LinkedIn and Facebook. I’ll be glad to help!
See you in Philly!
I have been waiting on this for a while. My new book on 3D Technology In Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling is now available on Amazon for Pre order. I’m already starting on a new book. This new book is similar to this book, however it follows one job right through. The job is creating a monumental bronze sculpture of the Mad Hatter’s tea party for a Texas Park. I do not yet, at this date, have a publisher for the Finding Alice process book. You can follow along on the new book and project on this blog or the Finding Alice process page.
If you would like to follow the conversation on these topics or have your own artwork you would like to share. Please do so either on linked in or Facebook.
Bridgette Mongeon is a sculptor, writer, illustrator and educator as well as a public speaker.
Her blog can be found at https://creativesculpture.com.
Follow the artists on Twitter twitter.com/Sculptorwriter