Posted July 26th, 2012
With a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning spread across the whole Northeast region of the United States, one is quickly reminded of the intense power of Mother Nature. Luckily, Easthampton has a its very own bear dedicated to keeping its residents alert to these kinds of natural phenomenon. Jennifer Dorgan’s bear, Respect Your Mother, is a manifestation of the power and beauty of the Earth and serves as a reminder to not take the Earth and its elements for granted.
Read more about Jennifer Dorgan’s inspiration and process in the Q & A below.
What town/city do you live in?
Where is your studio? What is your usual artistic focus/genre, when you aren’t working on a bear?
My teaching studio, Piece of My Art, is in downtown Westfield at 24 Elm St. My private studio is on Crown St. in Westfield. I try to do a fiberglass sculpture every year, and this 2012 bear is my fourth sculpture. In addition to teaching 7 year olds to adult painting/drawing classes, I work on commissions of portraits and landscape paintings.
What was the process you used on the bear?
I am always reminding my students to recycle. I watch many of them mindlessly throwing away bottles and cans, without a second thought. Something didn’t get through to many about being responsible for the Earth and the way we treat it. “Respect Your Mother” was born out of my distress with human denial about pollution, and my appreciation for Earth’s majestic beauty.
What materials did you use and why did you choose them?
I chose to keep my design strictly painted. Whenever possible, I like to work with the surface of a painting prospect as is, and not accommodate the shape to the paint, but rather the paint to the shape. I find it challenging to work with the design to create a good flow with the shape of the piece.
What is the theme for your bear and what was the inspiration?
“Respect Your Mother” speaks for itself as to the theme. It’s about the gift of Mother Nature we all share and the need for us to be mindful of how we choose to impact her. The bear lends a powerful figure to encompass Mother Nature’s borders.
What have you loved about the project?
The design of the bear was marvelous to work with! I loved the flow! I also loved involving my students in discussions about working hard practicing their art so that they could contribute their skills and art to good causes. The bear project inspired a lot of kids and grown-ups who attend my studio.
In what ways do you hope your bear will move the folks who view it?
First and foremost, I just want people to have something pretty to look at. If I’m lucky enough to have viewers think about nature and being careful with it, then it’s a win/win!
What else would you like to say about your project or the Bear Fest as a whole?
This is my 4th outdoor sculpture project for a municipality, and I have to commend Easthampton for their completely inspiring, outreaching, organized, and well-planned ways of conducting their projects. Easthampton City Arts+ does things right! I want to extend my appreciation to them for a job that continues to be well done! Thanks for this opportunity!!!!!