Artist Basil Watson on the human figure
Basil Watson is a leading Jamaican artist, based in the USA whose distinction is attributed to his exceptionally life like sculptures. This is what he has to say about sculpting the human figure.
‘The figure has been my interest, inspiration and focus, which I have continued to study through a strong foundation in drawing. I found sculpture as I sought to explore a more plastic vehicle of communication. The energy, vigor and emotive quality of the human figure intrigues me and this has sustained and anchored my work. Through the exploration of the language of the body, I have been able to capture exaggerated movement, subtle gesture, and the expression of emotions and attitudes to thus encapsulate and portray varying aspects of the human condition.
Striving for mastery of technique and a deep understanding of anatomy, my struggle is not just to make the figure life-like but to also capture the energy, motivation and spirit that are reflected in every aspect of the subject. With an ability gained over decades of dedication to observation and expression, I am able to see what lays on the surface along with how it is shaped from within and what is the driving force and essence underneath.
Modeling, my favored method, allows me to incorporate the energy of the process which I can vary according to concept and attention to detail. There are times when the attention is to the big picture with concern only for the essence and energy of the figure. At other times, there is more attention to detail which might be essential to the concept. At all times however, the process feels natural as the sculpture evolves out of a close observation of nature.
I am inspired by the heroic in mankind, and am moved to express the vitality, beauty, grace and strength of the human figure in its varied shapes, sizes, abilities and functions. The spirit that motivates it is limitless in its grandeur’