Chris Menconi: Clay

In this lifetime I was born a human here in New Orleans, Louisiana, after spending a previous life as a dog and one before that as an iguana. I won’t go into any lives beyond that. This experience has granted me a marked fondness for my former brethren and all other creatures as well. In this human life I’ve decided to spend my time bringing to ‘life’ caricatures of my former friends and relatives as well as the pets of other humans. Unlike the creatures of Morgus the Magnificent or Dr. Frankenstein, my creations are made from clay. A slab of clay is the building block of my sculptures. I form the slabs into cylinders and merge cylinders atop each other to build the animal’s body. This technique leaves the creature hollow, an absolute necessity. If it was solid, it would blow up like a bomb in the firing process. I share my studio with a wire-haired fox terrier who likes to be called Faye. She and her friends serve as my muses and often lend helpful criticism. She’s a good companion ...her short tail never knocks any of my creations over or off the table. Like the Jazz from my home town, no two of my creatures are ever the same. Each is an individualized hand built creation either from memory of my former friends or from pictures of someone’s best friend. I’ve taken to humanizing some of my animals by making caricatures of famous or infamous humans such as Elvis Presley, Richard Nixon, or Jack Benny. Others have told stories such as see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. In my world all things are possible.