New Brunswick

Saint John sculptures near completion on waterfront

After weeks of chipping, grinding, and polishing, eight sculptors from around the globe are finishing up on massive pieces of public art which will soon be installed across the province.

Sculptors complete massive works of art on Saint John waterfront

The before and after of Vasilis Vasili's work at the International Sculpture Saint John Symposium. (CBC)

After weeks of chipping, grinding, and polishing, eight sculptors from around the globe are finishing up on massive pieces of public art which will soon be installed across the province.

Every two years, the International Sculpture Saint John Symposium has allowed people to watch as tons of rock is transformed into art. In its third iteration, executive director Diana Alexander said the artists have set themselves apart thanks to more diverse materials.

"You'll see more red stone and black," which are much different from the grey granite used almost exclusively since 2012.

In some cases, source materials were taken from the communities where they will end up. Jesse Salisbury formed the base for his hulking work from Oromocto's original bridge pier.
The before and after of Jesse Salisbury's work at the International Sculpture Saint John Symposium. (CBC)

"All of these really add to the really special connection with the communities themselves."

Live audience for sculptors

For the past six weeks, sculptors have been performing their craft in front of a live audience. The format resembles a theatre-in-the round atmosphere, as spectators can circle the artists in a parking lot on the Saint John waterfront.

The experience of having to make decisions was almost unnerving at first for Janine Kortz-Waintrop. The French sculptor said she has been in several symposiums around the world, but never with as much public access as Saint John's. But it didn't take long before she found it easy to let go to the apprehensions of prying eyes.
The before and after of Jim Boyd's work at the International Sculpture Saint John Symposium. (CBC)

"You have too much [to] concentrate [on], sometimes I don't see anyone around."

Now with her piece standing erect, she's proud of what she accomplished. With so many dimensions, those viewing Kortz-Waintrop's sculpture are bound to notice the many small nuances as they peer closer.

"I like that you don't know what's [happening] on the either side," she said.

Hampton's Boyd is back

Someone who is no stranger to the glaring eyes, is Hampton sculptor Jim Boyd. Back for his third Saint John symposium, the draw of making another large sculpture was too much to pass up.
The before and after of Janine Kortz-Waintrop's work at the International Sculpture Saint John Symposium. (CBC)

"I get to focus on making a significant piece of public art," he said. "Normally if I'm home, there's more interruptions and things that get in the way of working full-time on art."

Over the years, Boyd said he's been happy to see how the symposium has grown as part of a larger art movement in the area. It helps he said, to see former sculpting interns like Julie Glaspy return as featured artists.
The before and after of Julie Glaspy's work at the International Sculpture Saint John Symposium. (CBC)

While Boyd said he would love to return for a fourth symposium, he said he wouldn't mind passing the torch to an upcoming artist.

"It's nice to have new sculptors like Julie Glaspy in this symposium," he smiled. "So maybe next time somebody like Stu Ryan [another intern] will step up to the plate."

Ryan, a two-time symposium intern, said he's open to that idea. For now, Barnesville's Ryan said he has plans to organize a chance for the current squad of sculpting understudies a shot at their own show this fall.

"Hopefully get a pop-up show going in November and looking to get a show in the new year as well."