Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon has documented the entire process of creating a figurine of a newsboy and a life-size bronze sculpture. Watch the artist work through these posts. In this blog, she has also included information for students and teachers. In the previous post, we learned a little about the beginning of this project.
If you are lost and want to go back to the chronological running list of posts, follow this link.
I keep thinking about the boys that I have read about. Barney Flaherty, the first paperboy hired by the New York Sun in 1833. That anniversary is coming up September 4th. I never knew that until I started this project. Though Dustin is the name of the boy that I have found for the first preliminary photo shoot, I wonder who I am sculpting? Is it Little Joe, Johnny Waffles, Skinny, Mickey, or any of the other children recounted in Death of a Newsboy? I will be thinking of them all, their entrepreneurial ability, tenacity, their struggle, and their place in history.
The photo sitting was so much fun!
I was able to find a newsboy outfit at a local costume company. It is not exactly what I want. The suspenders are wrong. I’d prefer the old leather ones that button to two buttons in the front. I also don’t like that the sleeves won’t roll up. But what do I want from a costume company? This one will do for this preliminary photo shoot. After all, what I am looking for is a pose. The costume is good enough not to cause distractions when trying to pick a pose. Later I’ll modify this costume, sew my own or find authentic clothing. But I want to have this sitting done before our Thursday meeting so that those attending the meeting can help me narrow down a pose.
I was elated when I first laid eyes on the model, Dustin Lee, in his costume. Dustin is the son of a friend of mine. I have known him since he was born but have not kept up with the family. I thought he would be around 11 years of age. When the Texas Press Association contacted me and said they would like an 11-year-old boy, I drove to my friend’s home to see if his mother would be interested.
Dustin or Dusty, as I have known him all his life, was a natural. His mom, a professional photographer, had groomed him well in the concept of modeling sessions. He was also quite animated. “EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!” he yelled as we tried pose after pose, paper in the air, holding papers, walking, and pointing. Prior to our sitting, I explained to him the importance of a newsboy and some of the history. I thought it might help him get into his part. “Your mouth is closing too quickly” I stated, “Can you hold the A in extra like your singing? Dusty bellowed “EXTRAAAAAAAAA” as I snapped the camera. When I felt we had exhausted all possibilities, our photo session ended. The outfit went back to the costume rental, and I waited anxiously for the photos to be developed.
September 1, 2004
The photos are back, and as I am looking at them, I am searching for movement, action, something to tell a story. Though I was unsure of the pose when the feet were so far a part, I am beginning to see a hidden meaning behind it-stability, being grounded, which represents the newspaper industry in itself. I am looking at those poses differently. The ones with the twist add motion; some, where the back is arched, add a different movement. I put all the photos in a resources photo album and mark my favorites with post-its, then I hand the photo album to my an artist friend, to get his opinion.
Meanwhile, seeing Dusty, in the outfit looking at the photos and getting closer to a pose, stirs up my creativity. Now the anticipation of actually getting my hands in the clay and working on the piece is beginning to build inside me. I can even feel the little flutters in my chest as I think of it. It is a great feeling! Allowing it to ferment there is a good thing. This stage of the creative process is called saturation.
While speaking to Dusty’s mom I learn that Dusty’s grandfather is elated over the idea of the sculpture of the newsboy and Dusty’s participation. Dusty’s grandfather was a newsboy for many years. These little elements add to the personal excitement of the sculpture, to the fermenting.
Next week I sculpt. But before that, let’s look at the next post about The Meeting.
STUDENTS AND TEACHERS
Art and History
• Why did the newsboys scream, “Extra, Extra Read all About It!”
• The sculpture that I am creating is in honor of the Texas Press Association’s 125th anniversary. Can you think of some big events that happened in the last 125 years that would have been headlines in the newspapers that the newsboys carried? Here is a website that can help you- Digital History.