Crafting the beauty and brawn of the human form
With Richard MacDonald’s two Las Vegas galleries inside the “O” Theatre lobby at Bellagio and at CityCenter, we are able to experience the mesmerizing sculpture of the American artist. Every piece he has created comes from meeting with the subjects, studying them with his eyes and then sculpting from memory. He does not use photographs, yet somehow captures every line, movement, expression and shape. Kiko Miyasato sat down with MacDonald to take a peek inside his world.
Q: Why do you sculpt living beings rather than inanimate objects?
A: Passion, compassion, emotion, connection. Art is to connect with you and, unfortunately, society has gone on where a lot of art is made where you have no connection to it whatsoever, and you don’t respond to it, nor do you believe it.
Q: Are there differences between sculpting males and females?
A: Yes, big differences. Being a male, it’s next to impossible for me to empathize with a female. Doing a male is a snap. I’m actually focused on sculpting females now; I have a series of 12 contemporary nudes and Cirque performers coming in the fall. …. Obviously the female form (compared) to the male form is gorgeous. But it’s a constant, difficult thing to try and empathize with the female being, but the beauty and grace are spectacular, so I keep trying!
Q: What should people take away from your art?
A: Art is something that you respond to; art is not really something that you can talk about. … I want people to be able to connect to art.
Q: Is there something about the athletic body that you’re drawn to?
A: Yes, but I would suggest to you that you’re only seeing a portion of my work (in Las Vegas). I have all walks of life. I’ve done women that are pregnant and studied them all the way through pregnancy, and then did a full-size study of the baby at 48 hours old. I’ve done a series of studies of babies all the way through to 7 or 8 years old, so every year I drew them.
Q: Is there a piece in your mind that you haven’t had a chance to sculpt yet?
A: I create whatever I love and put it out there … you like it, you like it; you don’t, you don’t. But I have 30-50 pieces going at the same time in my studio and they take as much as 9-10 years to finish, even 14 years. As (someone once) said, “an artist never finishes his work, he just abandons it.”