Boaz Vaadia - About the Artist - Articles, Awards, and Reviews

New Yorker of the Month
Boaz, our New Yorker of the Month, May 2008

Boaz, our New Yorker of the Month, May 2008

Ask a New Yorker: Boaz, how did this idea for your style of sculpting come to you?

Boaz: It is very simple actually. The way I came up with my style was a process. I came to New York in 1975. I moved to Soho. I had a loft in Soho. As I started working, one thing for me that was always important before I came to New York is that I always explored the primal connections of man to nature. So coming to the New York’s urban environment, where do you find it? In Soho in my loft I started working and exploring, ‘where do I find it?’ Then I recognized that New York as urban of an environment that it is, it is actually as natural an environment of any other environment on the earth. This is my attitude to it. It comes from the point of view of realizing when I observe a bird colony that are on top of one another and there fighting there are no spaces between the nest. Nobody said it was unnatural or it is not a natural environment. Urban environments are the natural habitat of humans. And we as humans are part of that environment and a part of nature as any other creature on earth. So with that attitude I start working and I start feeling much more comfortable in the city.

And as I recognized the immediate environment that I was living in I recognized that they replace all the sidewalks in the city. The old sidewalks use to be blue stone and so I had free materials. So I picked all those blue stone materials and started working with it. And as I started doing the work I worked with cedar poles that they used to support trees in the streets. So I started doing construction with cedar poles and blue stone. To come to where I am right now working with blue stone I recognized that the way the blue stone is quarried is by the separation of the natural formation of the rock. So they are splitting the stone in the natural formation of it. The stone is sediments. After a millions of years of pressure it was stratified to stone. Working with it I realized it is a very difficult material to work with. So the only way I can work with it is if I say to myself, ’What can I do with the materials instead of doing with the materials that I want.’ I start to develop a dialogue with the material and the result is the inspiration of the understanding of how stone is forged in nature and using it in my own work. The layering of my work is such that basically what I do is take a layer that was formed in nature, that was quarried by humans to create floral under the feet and I use slate that is the same formation that creates roofs over the head. It is the primal needs of shelter. As I started working with it, I said, ‘Oh a figure how can I work with it?’ So I carved layer by layer, then it suddenly clicked that as with humans we are also formed by layers of understanding, layers of growth. It was very natural for me. So what happened I worked with it? Now even when I finish a figure it has to be stuck on top of each other where gravity is the main force of holding it together. So they have to be free standing only by gravity before I glue them and bolt them together. There is a great respect to nature and a great inspiration from nature that brought the style of my work.

Ask a New Yorker: Very simple? Do you name your pieces?

Boaz: Yes. The name of pieces is really to identify them. It is basically the same as your name when you were born. For many years I named my pieces based on friends and family that visited me. I would name a piece after my cousin, my friend, my uncle. Then I realized that everybody was asking me why I name all my pieces biblical. I didn’t realize it but they are biblical names because my personal association with names is Hebrew names. So, I decided to be true to that and now I’m using old testaments as the source for names for my pieces.

Ask a New Yorker: With your creative DNA, were your father or mother artists?

Boaz: No. My father was a farmer. I grew up on a small farm in Israel. I grew up with a tremendous amount of love to the mother earth. My parents worked the land with great love. So for me the earth is the mother earth and that is what inspires me to be an artist. The other reason for my creativeness is that I am totally dyslexic. So I had to find a way to express myself. I decided to be a sculpture very young, somewhere between 12 -14 years old. By 14 I was very serious about it already.

Ask a New Yorker: Do you have hobbies outside the studio?

Boaz: My life is my family, my wife and my children and my artwork. That is what my life is all about. I feel as though I am very, very lucky and blessed person because I make a wonderful living with what I love to do. So I am just grateful.

Ask a New Yorker: What advice would you give to a young artist or any artist for that matter?

Boaz: My advice is very simple. If you are born to be an artist and are on this earth for that reason then you have to pursue it. The guarantee is that you will be poor all your life. If you still want to persue it in knowing that, if you can explore yourself and find yourself you will absolutely will a unique artist. Each person on this earth is such a unique creature that when one finds themselves there is no other way but by being unique. The problem with our society is that we all like to be like someone else instead of being ourselves.

Ask a New Yorker: So your definition of success is:

Boaz: It is the ability to explore and grow as a person. I have the luxury that I am also financially successful. But that is not what success is about. It is to be able to continue to grow and explore. And if you find yourself and you follow your inner soul you can’t be wrong. You can only be successful. That is what success is, to find you.

Boaz's studio is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Berry St. See


Original article appeared here.

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