janet echelman quotes


When developing an idea, I remind myself not to start with compromise. I envision the ideal manifestation of the idea, as if I had no limits in resources, materials, or permission.


In Portugal, my sculpture 'She Changes' refers to the town's fishing history, to the era of seafaring trade and discovery. The contemporary site is industrial, surrounded by red and white striped smokestacks, which is mirrored in the pattern of the sculpture.


As a child, I always enjoyed building forts by stringing up bed sheets and clothes. I continue to be inspired by makeshift structures, including my own kids' forts and temporary architecture of all sorts.


Whether being battered by the surf or swimming through the gentle undulating surface of lakes, I find inspiration in the movement of water. Sometimes I think about the journey the water has traveled, reconnecting me to the larger cycles of nature.


Once I began to hear and pay attention to my fledgling ideas, the biggest hurdle was to learn how to respect them. That was hard, because the real way to respect an idea is to invest the attention and work needed to develop it.


I believe people can have a profound experience by being surrounded by something beautiful - that's what I aim for. My sculpture is about the way you feel when you're standing under it and inside it. It's experiential art.


I recognize that it is through the engagement with my craft - by recognizing an idea and drawing it out, building physical models, collaborating with experts, constructing the sculptures at urban scale, and maintaining them through years of weather and interaction with the public - that a new art for cities has become real.


In my regular life, I am very involved in commissions for cities and sometimes countries. And I think of public art as a team sport. The outcome is only possible with the interaction of all the players.


Advances in technology have opened up possibilities in the cultural realm throughout history. I'm intrigued by developments in technology - as an artist it gives me a new palette to explore.


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