Creatives We Love: Karen LaMonte

What inspired you to start sculpting?

I have known since I was 9 years old that I was an artist. I grew up in New York City in the 1970’s and as a family we spent all our free time in the museums and art galleries and funky art spaces of the city. They were free!

When I was finally allowed to ride the subway by myself I started going every weekend to the village and exploring the galleries. Initially, I understood very little of what I saw, but I loved learning about the art scene and I knew that it was going to be my life. I was and always remain attracted to the people, the places and the energy that surrounds art making.

What do you want to see reflected in your work?

Making art is my method of investigation. I am exploring ideas as expressed though the possibilities of the various materials I use for sculpture. I hope this sense of curiosity is transferred to people who see my work.

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

I spend years researching ideas and then transferring them into sculpture in various materials. I am perpetually learning about new materials, new techniques and new technologies to give my ideas physical form. The most satisfying moment for me is after all the work, when the sculpture stands alone and someone who knows nothing about it or me sees it and has a powerful reaction to it.

What inspires you?

I think almost everything inspires me. I just completed a group of sculptures in white bronze, rusted iron, and dark glass titled ‘Nocturnes.’ Inspired by the beauty of night, they are absent female nudes.

I had a fantastic time reading about night from both a scientific perspective as well and an artistic one. I spent two years working with chemists to get just the right shade of glass that would be reminiscent of the evening sky that I love so much. Dusk is an amazing time of day, it has been my inspiration both literally and metaphorically.

At this moment I am actually working on a new project that is a cumulous cloud carved in marble. It is my first large project in marble and I am so exited to be working on in this ancient material for the first time. It is unique in that the shape of my cloud has been made by weather modeling software, so simulated forces of nature are defining the shape. It is the confluence of science and art.

What is your favorite place or thing to do outside of your studio?

I love the park near my studio in Prague and going there in the morning to walk my dog before starting work in the studio. I also love going to art exhibitions and theater. Living in Prague, I am particularly grateful for NTLive which are live broadcasts of theater from London to movie theaters around the world. It is absolutely amazing!

If you could pick a place to teleport to right now, where would you go?

To the library in Alexandria before it was accidentally burnt to the ground by Caesar’s troops in 48bc.

What’s your motto for life and why?

My motto is from the Pink Panther, when Inspector Clouseau is trying to learn “frawress” English, Steve Martin says with a heavy French accent,

‘We do not quit!’

…because we don’t!

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