Artist Statement

Elliot Norquist

Artist Statement

For years now there has been a sculpture on a wall in my home, a spontaneous arrangement of primary color and great intuitive planning. It’s origin was utilitarian: a gray CD case, 5”x 5”. The simplicity of form and color inspired my jr. high aged son to transform it with remnants of brightly colored duct tape.( I had multiple rolls of it lying around after I’d finished a project with the students in our rural northern New Mexico school district, where I was Artist in Residence at the time.) His work is a masterpiece. A haiku of sorts, made in the tear and stick frenzy of any artist in the “zone”, without self-conscious scrutiny. The piece has color, composition, power and identity. When I’m really “on”, I hope for that feel.

Years of simple shapes (mostly squares) have run me through the gamut of choices in forms and finishes…severe, pure, bright, painted, rusted, old, worn, smooth, and rough: Pieces in site, pieces about site. Pieces about walls or light, and pieces about both elements.

In 1989, when my son was born, I built a series of works in elemental shapes with bright colors…children’s colors. That show was a statement of joy and hope and color. Now I am back there in a way (add 21 years) with new shapes and different colors. The challenge is to make it work without losing the integrity of shape or color. Ask a painter about the power of color, and ask a sculptor about the power of shape. Ask me, somewhere in the middle, about the power of both things. That describes my current artistic efforts. I’ve often told my students that the closest thing to a powerful piece is a really dumb piece. As a “big mountain” skier my son has had to choose the most powerful line down a mountain, which is often the line closest to disaster. I try for that line in sculpture. Much like any pursuit, to be safe is not acceptable, to be great is the aspiration, and to crash is also part of the process. The mix of all these creates art marked by passion, joy, regret, and best of all hope. My hope is to get to continue the process and the journey.


4 responses

  1. Aileen Timmers

    Hi Elliott,

    Good to see you’re still doing the walk and walking the talk. You were a great creative inspiration for me.

    Hope you and your family are well.


    April 17, 2012 at 12:15 am

  2. Hi Elliott and Caroline. Hope you got back to Colorado safely. Enjoyed your company in Sarasota. Off to Brussels tomorrow!
    All the best, Marylou

    November 6, 2012 at 5:41 am

  3. Phyllis (Fyd) Johnson

    Hi Elliott–I graduated with you in the Class of 68, Raymond College. I’ve never forgotten the “Blue Penis” as we referred to your car in all our immaturity, nor that you were a gringo soccer player, though I knew nothing of your pursuits in Art as I was afraid of Baden so never attended class and failed Art History. A huge regret when I ended up living most of my life in NYC with Art Museums to die for. I took two semesters worth of art seminars at the Metropolitan, but knew I’d have been better served by attending Baden’s classes. I now live on a small Island in the Caribbean where I’m involved with lots of artists (so much so that I’m called “Swifty” by some), but at Raymond, I was Fyd Johnson, and to this day I have such fond memories. I was looking for John Oddy (a couple classes ahead of us at Raymond, a guy who went to Canada to avoid the draft) and found your description of your son’s middle school artistic endeavors and I liked what you say about risk. Art has so enriched my life and it sounds like yours, too. Fyd

    March 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    • Marylou Selo

      thank you for sending this! Love it!

      Marylou Selo Conference Interpreter and Translator 15 West 72nd Street – Apt. 21N New York, N.Y. 10023 USA New York: + 1 212 877-0232 Cell phone: + 1 917 714 3635 Mobile Europe: + 31 653 294946

      March 6, 2014 at 10:08 pm

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