I Dreamt I was a model for George Segal

Dimensions 70 cm x 65 cm x 24 cm
Materials Sandblasted glass, cast glass, and bronze

I haven’t done a self-portrait in almost twenty years. When thinking about it, however, I did not want to do a piece specifically about me, so I put it in the context of posing for one of my earliest art heroes.

In the 1960’s when I was in college at the University of Illinois George Segal came and gave a lecture which made an enormous impression on me. At the time although I was a student in the Agriculture school, my interests were in theatre design and sculpture.

During the talk I vividly remember a slide of a guy hanging letters on a marquee at a movie theatre, this sculpture “Cinema” from 1963 was a revelation because it bridged the gap, at least for me, between my two interests. From that time on my two biggest contemporary sculptural influences were Segal and Ed Kienholz. I went on to work in the theatre and television for the next ten years as a designer, master carpenter, and prop builder in order to earn money to continue to make sculpture.

We skip now to 1975, I am in Rome as a recipient of the Prix de Rome in sculpture. I get a call from the cultural attaché at the American Embassy. Would I be so kind as to accompany George Segal for a number of days while he worked on a series of “blue jean prints” My task was to help navigate Rome and to aid with the language. This was very exciting and definitely one of my fond memories. We do not often get to spend time with our heroes.

For the next twenty-five years Segal continued to make his full body and bas-relief plaster bandage wrapped figurative sculptures often adding real objects to complete the scene. He passed away in 2000.