Sculpture artist Laura Walters was part of the 2019 Art On Henderson Collection. Her piece, Yellow Roses, won 2nd place this year. You can see Laura Walters sculpture on display along Henderson Avenue. We asked the artist a few questions.
How long have you been working as a sculptor/artist?
I discovered my love for sculpture in 1988 and have been attempting to work as an artist – sometimes successfully, sometimes not – ever since. I still feel like I have so much to learn & so many ways to grow as an artist and hope I can continue to create in some way all my life.
How long have you lived in Dallas? How does it inspire or challenge your work?
I’ve lived in Dallas for most of my life. I grew up in Garland, then earned my BBA in Finance & BA in Psychology at SMU. After that, I moved to New York for a few years where I felt encouraged to pursue art and began studying interior design and finally sculpture. Once I had the epiphany and realized working with 3D forms is what I felt I was meant to do, I wanted to return home to Dallas so I could have more open space and drive a truck to haul all my supplies around.
When I moved back in 1990 after living in New York, Dallas felt like a cultural void to me at the time. It really wasn’t – that was just my naive perception. But, wow, what a transformation Dallas has made since then and at such a pace! Perhaps it’s my age, but now it seems there is so much going on here culturally you can’t possibly keep up with it all.
Our ever-changing city challenges me to keep up, to try to stay relevant & to still just be me. Opportunity abounds here in Dallas, but for me the greatest challenge is finding the courage to climb out of my shell, seek out opportunities, use my resources, and keep creating.
How did the idea for the “Yellow Roses” come to be?
I have been on a flower kick for quite some time, and as long as that’s the case, I felt it necessary to pay homage to my Great State of Texas. And what better way than with the Yellow Rose of Texas? I originally created these to exhibit at the State Fair of Texas in 2018.
Other artists or art that has changed your life?
Louise Bourgeois, Henry Moore, Frank Stella, and Claes Oldenburg, are some big names whose work I admire a lot, but so many have probably influenced without me being aware or even remembering.
The artist who most influenced me was a co-worker at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Laurie Johenning, who made the coolest bronze sculptures by casting in the sand. After quizzing her endlessly about her work, she encouraged me to take my first sculpture class. Also instructor/sculptor Art Schade, who gave me positive words of encouragement as I poured my first little bronze sculptures. I am always in awe of others artwork & creativity, but the ones that encourage us to keep going and try are the ones that really change our lives.
Who or what is your greatest personal influence and inspiration – past and present?
Family & friends. I think the fact that my mom and dad empowered me with the sense that I can do anything I set my mind to, has been my biggest and strongest guiding force. I am so grateful for the positive faith in God and myself that they instilled in me. Friends like photographer Dasha Wright who twisted my arm in the first place to move to New York, friend & architect Doug Hildinger who taught me to see and look at architecture and art. George & Annie Davis, who gave masterful instruction in figurative sculpture at The Studio for so many years in such an incredibly fun environment with great comradery, encouragement, and endless laughs.
As to inspiration – that can come from so many places and I never know where or when it might strike, but it tends to begin from something organic in nature – sea forms, flowers in the wind, birds, butterflies, random rocks or other items I find on a walk – and the interesting way they interact in the environment around them. Though my favorite inspiration is the ocean and its endlessly mesmerizing creatures. Traveling to new places is always an inspiration because we tend to pay more attention when in a new place and seeing new things.
photo credit: Amy Gervenak