The word “sculpture” typically brings to mind finely chiseled Greek marble figures or large abstract metal shapes. Chances are that sculpture on the human form does not come to mind. What exactly is sculpture on the human form? Contrary to what some people may think, it is not fashion.
Sculpture on the human form mixes makeup, hairstyling, costumes made out of non-traditional materials and performing in order to convey the ideas of the artist. From afar, sculptures on the human form can look like displays of wild Halloween costumes when in fact they are much more than just a conglomeration of crazy knick-knacks.
“I think that [sculpture on the human form] gives a completely different message than just a painting,” Lilou Altman, the executive director of ManneqART, explains. “When you put one of these pieces on you kind of become the character, you become for the most part what the artist is trying to convey.” These sculptures are characters of the imagination used to give the everyday person a glimpse into the mind of the artist.
For example, one of the creations featured in the ManneqART gallery, located in Historic Savage Mill, is titled “Undersea Angler Fish.” The sculpture, made by an art class at Southern High School, is made with hot glue, LED lights, papier-mâché and wire. The entire front of the sculpture is the head of an Angler fish with massive teeth protruding from the monstrous fish’s jaws.
While an entire art class created the piece “Undersea Angler Fish,” sculptures on the human form can also be extremely intimate and personal. One example of this is Katie Grammes’ sculpture “Reborn Through Flames.” The sculpture consists of black, orange and yellow feathers giving off the appearance of fire. The description of the piece explains that the idea behind the sculpture is to represent how people persist through hardships and become stronger as a result.
Sculpture on the human form is important because it gets more people involved with art. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing art can only be two-dimensional, like paintings or drawings. However, this traditionalist view of art excludes many other creative minds. Altman says, “Not every artist is a painter or a drawer. Some people, their strengths are actually taking objects and making what they want to say.” Sculpture on the human form serves as an outlet for artists who think in three-dimensional terms, and the result is a totally new and fresh art form that inspires other non-traditional artists to create.
ManneqART, a non-profit organization that promotes sculpture on the human form, provides a great way to get involved in this type of art. Creators of all levels, beginner and experienced, are welcome to join their themed sculpture competitions. More information can be found on their website: https://www.manneqart.org/.
The most important takeaway from the emerging art style of sculpture on the human form is to remember to keep an open mind to less traditional ways of creating. The beauty of art is the experimentation with different combinations of materials and processes. After all, being a mad scientist is just part of being an artist.