When it comes to using public art to stir a sense of realization among society and to lay the grounds for dialogue, sculptures are the best approach. Great sculptures possess the power to change and strengthen communities while instilling realization among people.
Channeling the power of art effectively requires a great mind, a stable hand, a unique idea, and an artistic approach. It is sculptors like Jim West that have the capability to engage the viewers not only on an intellectual level but also on visceral or emotional levels. He is one of those sculptors who are working on starting a dialogue in the community by not providing answers but by giving rise to new unanswered questions. Jim West says, “In my art, I don’t have answers, but I have a lot of questions.” The American sculptor hopes that his work helps its viewers see dialogue and not just a lifeless sculpture.Jim West – Starting a Dialogue through Public Art
Jim West is a 64-year-old sculptor, born on December 12, 1955 in Pittsburgh, PA. He is a man of intellect who aims to give a direction to the thoughts of people all around the world. In preparing for his passion for sculpting, West was trained in the classical format of studying and apprenticing under master artists and craftsmen in New York and on the West Coast.
Jim’s passion is to have an impact in the community and society in which he lives. Jim West has been working as a full-time sculptor since 2000 and has worked on some powerful pieces that can be found around the country. Several organizations in the country have used his work for the betterment of society. West is connected with organizations such as Children’s Dyslexia Center of Pittsburgh, Western PA President Development Council, Pace School, and Pine Creek Watershed.
Not only does he work as a full-time sculptor but also is involved in art education including inner city, at-risk and incarcerated youths. West also has served youths as a statewide PA judge for Poetry Out Loud. Jim is making extensive efforts for the preservation of historical monuments and arts by providing his services as an advisor. Jim West is a member of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts since 2012. Moreover, he is part of the Masonic Grand Lodge Committee on the Preservation of Monuments since 2016.The Powerful Artistic Approach of Jim West
Jim West has been working on sculptures since 2000. “Of One” commissioned by a private collector is his first piece that came into its final shape in 2005. Since then, he has worked on a variety of different pieces in collaboration with different institutes and organizations. People can find his sculptures on display in museums, art exhibitions and in public areas such as city sidewalks and parks. The feature that makes his work powerful is the story that he brings with it. Every piece of his work has a story behind it, which creates a mystery and brings an unanswered question in the minds of the viewers.
Jim West’s first sculpture, “Of One,” is held in a private collection. The American sculptor completed the piece in the 2005. It is a medium-sized piece made of Bronze with dimensions 46″ x 27″ x 14″. It is a display of a couple which depicts a scene which shows that both the man and the woman are equal contributors to make a relationship work. When seen from one side, it seems like the man is holding the woman, and from the opposite side, the woman seems to hold the man. It is a thoughtful piece that highlights a beautiful concept for the world to see.
Jim’ third sculpture is located in front of 521 Shady in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is made of concrete and bronze, and its dimensions are 7’ x 8’ x 5’. The piece was completed in the year 2011. The theme of this piece is the establishment of a balance between past, present, and future. It gives the viewers a chance to learn from Frank West. He was a man who respected the past, recognized the present and anticipated the future in his architecture and neighborhood community development.
Point of View
“Point of View” displays the monumental meeting of George Washington and Seneca chief Guyasuta which took place in 1770, and is placed in Grand View Scenic Byway and Park, Pennsylvania. It displays a scenario where two people, George Washington and Guyasuta, who were once allies, fought against each other. It was a moment when these two men met to establish peace. The hand of George Washington is on his sword but the element to note here is that his hand is placed in a position that is not ready to draw the sword. Moreover, the tomahawk peace pipe in Guyasuta’s hand with the blade at the lower side shows that the tomahawk peace pipe is in a non-aggressive peace position as they were meeting to establish peace.
In the East, Brother Ben Franklin
Built in 2016, this bronze sculpture is located in the Grand Masonic Museum of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a 17-feet tall sculpture of Benjamin Franklin, founding father of the United States. The piece honors the historically significant meeting between Benjamin Franklin and Antoine Houdon. Under the collar of Benjamin Franklin, viewers can find the date of the meeting.
Standing 9 feet tall in front of the Grand Masonic Museum near City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the bronze sculpture by Jim West was placed in 2017. It is his second piece that displays a historically significant event. It is a sculpture that is a visual representation of the bond between George Washington, Gilbert du Motier Lafayette, and Benjamin Franklin. It puts light at the time when Benjamin Franklin went to France to play a key role in negotiation about the involvement of French in the French and Indian War. The sculpture features an apron in George Washington’s hand, which he is presenting to Benjamin Franklin. The apron was initially given to George Washington by Gilbert du Motier Lafayette.
Despair and Anger
The sculpture “Despair and Danger” was completed in the year 2017 and shown during the Miami Art Week and at the Hoyt Art Center in 2019. Jim’ sculpture along with lights and audio, creates a sensory journey for the visitors. It is a visualization of two intense emotions despair and anger. It is a relatable visceral installation.
“Split Infinity” by Jim West is a bronze piece that was completed in 2018. It was placed in ArtsQuest Center at Steelstacks, Pennsylvania. It is a display of Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity.” It is a larger-than-life sculpture. It displays Jim’ belief that Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics can open ways of exploration and engagement in the world.
The 2C kinetic sculpture was commissioned and is displayed at the McElroy Center for Science and Innovation, Science, Technology and Innovation facility.
Other sculptures by Jim West include “Reflection of Me” in a private collection, “The Edge” shown at the Sturgis Museum, South Dakota, “Our Path” commissioned as an environmental art piece by the Allegheny Land Trust. The American sculptor’s efforts are paving the way for the popularity of dialogue art. He is using his art to display historically significant monuments and creating pieces that help people look beyond the curtains of worldly emotions!