Kurt Criter Expounds the Artistic Possibilities of Sculpture

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Progressive and experimental artist Kurt Criter discusses the limitless application of sculpture to any physical medium imaginable.

“One of my favorite things about physical art, from sculpture to painting, is that there are almost no limitations that we don’t introduce ourselves,” says Kurt Criter

Kurt Criter Frees Sculpture from Stony Limitations

Like many artists, Kurt Criter chisels out a name for himself by seeking out artistic boundaries and carving them away one project at a time. Although technically a self-employed professional in the green technologies industry, Criter’s day job is more to pay his bills and fund his creative passion than anything. “It’s a great industry, and I have a great career in it, but it’s not how I define myself,” Criter explains. “I am an artist, an individual piece of the collective, and a human being exploring the beauty of creativity.”

Kurt Criter’s creative outlet of choice is a blend of painting and sculpture that he himself devised. Ever the progressive and experimental artist, Criter has devised a means of mixing traditional painting techniques with those of metal sculpting, particularly steel sculpture.

“One of my favorite things about physical art, from sculpture to painting, is that there are almost no limitations that we don’t introduce ourselves,” says Kurt Criter of his work. “Everything has its traditional media, the way in which it is created, but nothing is confined to these standards. If he or she wants, an artist can find ways to combine media and techniques in an infinite variety of ways and create something refreshingly new and interesting.”

This is especially evident in the arena of sculpture, where works of art can be made to nearly any size or scope using almost any physical medium at hand.

Kurt Criter Explores the Many Possible Media of Sculpture

While the following are the most traditionally popular sculpting media, they are far from the only options. Each one also demonstrates how the same artistic discipline can be endlessly expanded upon and altered to best suit the creative needs of the artist and his or her audience.

Clay

“Clay is, perhaps, one of the most familiar and popular sculpting media in the mind of mainstream audiences,” says Kurt Criter, “if for no other reason than it’s the first one we’re introduced to in our high school art classes.”

This introduction to sculpture via clay comes with good reason, as clay and other substances like it are among the most accessible and easily manipulated sculpting media available. It can be used in pottery, ceramics, and in the creation of smaller-scale figures and similar statuettes.

Clay is also one of the oldest known sculpting materials found to date, with examples of clay sculpture dating back to the dawn of human civilization when ancient societies created pots and figurines for both ritualistic use and everyday life. Clay sculpture can be found across all parts of the world and across all periods of history, validating its popularity as the medium of choice for many sculptors.

Stone

“The other most familiar sculpting medium besides clay is probably stone,” says Kurt Criter, “particularly marble. The image of the sculptor chipping away at a massive slab of stone and digging out the beautifully carved figure within is a popular one in society’s collective mindset.”

While marble is certainly a popular choice, so too is almost any other type of suitably sturdy rock. Where solid stone of good quality could be naturally found, civilizations throughout history have peppered their important places with grand statues to gods, heroes, and other noteworthy figures.

Semi-precious stones such as jade, onyx, and agate are also traditionally popular for the carving of small figurines or jewelry pieces. And for particularly massive sculpture projects, the natural rock of a nearby mountain or bluff makes an excellent working material.

Metal

Metal, particularly steel, is the sculpting material of choice for artist Kurt Criter. Metal sculpture can now be grouped into two major categories: cast metal sculpture and metal welding sculpture.

Cast metal sculpture involves the melting down of the metal in question, which is then poured liquid into a carved hollow called a cast. When the metal cools, it solidifies into the shape of this hollow. The cast is then removed, leaving only the perfectly shaped metal sculpture inside.

“This method is interesting because it is almost the reverse of other sculpting methods,” says Kurt Criter. “Rather than carve your material away until only your sculpture remains, you carve your sculpture away from the initial material to make the cast. What’s left is the inverse of your eventual finished piece. You essentially make a sculpture out of empty space first, then solidify it with the metal afterward.”

Welding, meanwhile, is a more recent and avant-garde type of sculpture that involves taking pre-shaped metals such as sheets and rods and welding or otherwise attaching them to one another. This often results in sculptures that are more abstract in design such as the statues commonly found in public parks or outside corporate buildings.

Glass

Although glass is a relatively new sculpting material for larger works, smaller scale glass sculpture has been utilized throughout several time periods and locations. Glass can also be shaped through a variety of different methods. Perhaps the most popular method for creating glass sculpture is the technique known as glass blowing, where masses of molten glass are molded into complex designs by artists blowing air through specialized tubes to expand it where necessary.

Glass can also be carved, albeit with painstaking difficulty. And like metals, molten glass can be cast into pre-carved shapes to cool into its finished form.

Everything Else

This is, of course, by no means the comprehensive list of sculpting materials available to artists. As Kurt Criter has already explained, any artist with enough vision and skill can turn any physical medium to their creative purposes. Other examples of sculpting medium range from as common sense as wood and plastic to as eccentric as ice, sugar, and beyond.

“That is, to me, the most beautiful thing about sculpture or any other art form,” says Kurt Criter, “that ability to experiment and create something incredible out of any and every aspect of the mundane with just the application of imagination, creativity and willpower.”

ABOUT:

Self-employed professional Kurt Criter makes his career working in the green technology industry. He defines himself, however, not by his job but rather by his creative endeavors. And as a progressive and experimental artist in several fields, these endeavors are many. Criter is a pioneer in the art world, where he has created a unique new method that combines elements of painting with elements of sculpture to affect a unique artistic style. Specifically, he mixes traditional painting techniques with that of metal sculpture to craft unique and interesting masterpieces. In addition to his sculpture work, Criter also composes electronic dance music, blending it with elements of trance to create yet another experimentally progressive trend in artistry. Outside of these creative pursuits, he is also an avid poker player and a participant in many local and regional poker tournaments. His eye for and dedication to strategy has helped him achieve recognizable success by placing consistently in the top 10% in professional poker competitions.

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