Today we’d like to introduce you to Manuelita Brown.
Manuelita, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist. Over several decades, while working as a mathematics educator, my art making took different forms that included sewing, knitting, supervising the design and construction of two homes, making furniture and designing landscapes. My family aged and changed—the boys grew into young men, and my husband’s career demands lessened, and I began to think more about making fine art as opposed to practical arts. It was now time to fulfill a life-long dream to be an artist. A friend and colleague served on a citizens’ board that was reviewing a remodel of the UTC mall. He heard that they were looking for a sculptor and he suggested me, then gave me the information to follow up on. I had the opportunity to submit a proposal and was selected to create the dolphins for UTC. I used all my vacation time from my job at UC San Diego to complete the project. When it ended, I decided that I needed more time for sculpting and would leave education and become a full-time sculptor.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I create bronze, figurative sculptures. Bronze because I want it to “speak” to people many years in the future. The Riace Bronzes, discovered in the sea in 1972, were created between 460 & 450 BCE. That kind of permanence appeals to me. Even the lost wax process for casting bronzes is centuries old and has changed little. My art is figurative because people inspire me—my family, people in the news, historical characters that I read about, and even fictional characters. I want viewers of my art to know that everyday people accomplish monumental tasks and that they also sustain the events of daily life by the many smaller, but meaningful tasks they do. I think they all deserve recognition, and I hope that it is communicated through my work.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an artist?
When and how I feel successful is not the same as being a “successful artist.” I “feel” successful when I get a response from the viewer. For example, a young patron of UTC told me that now she can sit near the dolphins and become calm enough to complete her shopping. Before, the crowds and noise caused such anxiety that she often left without purchasing what she came to the mall for. Other examples are: when a child looks up with awe into the face of Sojourner Truth; and when students and their friends and family take photos with King Triton; or when an elderly immigrant purchases a sculpture because it gives her comfort remembering her family’s flight from the oppression of 1940’s Germany. I will leave it to others to decide if I am a successful artist. However, I must sell my art in order to make new art.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
In the San Diego area are several public art pieces: The dolphins at UTC, the King Triton, Sojourner Truth and Thurgood Marshall bust at UC San Diego, and Encinitas Child on Highway 101 in Encinitas. Images of smaller works are on my website. I announce in my “almost” monthly newsletter when and where my work can be seen in galleries or art shows. One can also call for an appointment to see work at my studio. Contact Info:
- Website: www.tsahaistudio.com
- Phone: 760-889-2971
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Tsahai Studio-Sculpture by Manuelita