This is the first in a series of interviews presented by the Cambria Center for the Arts to heighten awareness of artists – and the arts — in our community.
Since she was very young, Lucie Ryan saw herself as an artist. She attended the Parsons School of Design in New York. While she has worked in a wide range of media, she now focuses solely on sculpting.
She works in a light-filled studio that is part of her home near Moonstone Beach. Her work is exhibited at the Vault Gallery in Cambria, Sage Echo Gardens and Nursery in Los Osos, the San Luis Obispo Phantom Project, and the Paso Robles Festival of the Arts.
Lucie recently took some time from sculpting to answer seven questions:
Q: Why sculpture?
A: I’ve always done sculpture. I can’t even think in just two dimensions.
Q: Where do you get your ideas about what to sculpt?
A: I try to express a body actually feeling an experience. I often get in the position I’m trying to sculpt. Then I can feel where the stresses on the muscles are, where I’m overlapping one limb over another part of the body. Or I ask myself, “How does joy feel?” and then I make expressions. Or I scream, or throw my rump up in the air. Some pieces are about sorrow. I experiment to see how would I hold my hands if I wanted to feel that.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Maybe a beautiful woman, or an expression of an opinion I have, or I want people to feel something, or relate to something. I want to trigger a reaction in the person who sees my sculpture. Size matters in sculpture. If you encounter something 10 feet high you’re not going to feel the same as you would if it were just six inches tall. I want people to encounter my work and have to deal with it.
Q: When and how did you become an artist?
A: I knew from the time I could draw a stick figure that I was going to be an artist.
Q: What obstacles do you face in making your work?
A: It requires a long period of concentration. You have to maintain faith in your idea. Getting the clay to do what you want, keeping at it and not getting distracted by yet another idea.
Q: What is an average day like for you?
A: The light is better later in the morning, so I go into the studio about 11 a.m. I may stay there until 3 in the morning if I’m in the middle of something.
Q: What advice would you give a beginning artist?
A: If you really want to be an artist you have to be bullheaded, opinionated, have a lot of self-confidence and not be looking for approval. You have to have a certainty about what you’re doing. Make sure you have a large number of friends who are artists. They will hold you to your purpose. They will ask you what you’re working on. And be sure to join an arts organization where everyone has a primary interest in art. It really works.
— Interview by Barbara Bronson Gray, Allied Arts Association