The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on April 14, 1972 · 93
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The Vancouver Sun from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada · 93

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Issue Date:
Friday, April 14, 1972
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i u bJI t ii ii i .....mi. m r i' - 'til' X' i"'iirr''l-i''Jf-'ih- m - DERYK BODINGTON PHOTOS ARNOLD MIKELSON AT WORK IN HIS STUDIO By DER YK BODINGTON Arnold Mikelson, of White Rock, Is a wood-sculptor . K . not a wood-carver, as he is quick to point out "A sculptor is a composer," he says, "a producer, even a performer," and when one considers the scope of this imaginative Latvian craftsman's work, it is obvious he is all of these. He arrived at White Rock eight yean ago, "quite by accident really" he- recalls. "My wife saw this piece of property advertised. We had never even heard of White Rock, but we took it." ' His house and studio stand on several acres of heavily wooded land fronting a busy street in White Rock. Here in this secluded hideaway he works 12 to 14 hours a day, creating his sleek, and oftimes satirical, mahogany sculptures. Fifty or 60 half-finished projects clutter his studio. "That is how I work," he explained," "to ' keep ideas from growing stale." Photos and drawings of animals, fish, birds in flight, nudes, hang overhead. All are studies in symetry and motion, to be used as inspiration for his work.' Many of his sculptures have a dream-like, almost mythological quality. Bird, beast and reptile in the image of man. "Fantasy? Yes, I suppose you could call it that," he said, "but based on what I call the silent complaint of man. I try to show man as be would appear if his character had physical properties." The clean soaring lines of his works betray an architectural background. Mikelson was a design engineer for an Edmonton firm for 15 years, and at one time was chief modeller In charge of figures for Royal Crown Derby porcelain in England. He has little time for primitive or Impressionistic art. "Too coarse and bold," he said, "we already have enough rudeness in our world." Some of his work is by commission. "But I don't like it,"- he complained. "It frustrates me to have to please a customer. I'd rather he came to me and chose his work." A present commission of a winged figure, near life size, is for an art college at Abel-ene, Texas. Based on the motto "Here inspiration spreads its wings" he was given a free hand to interpret this as he pleased. When completed it will become the centre piece for the main lobby of the school. There are few real artists in Canada today, claims Mikelson, dismissing many who claim this distinction as "nothing more than dilettantes, who either teach or have some other part time work." His dream is to create a complex, possibly in the interior of B.C., where Canadian artists in all fields of art can live, study and work. "Five hundred acres would do it," he explained, "close to a tourist route, where we could, sell our work." He has strong feelings about commercial art outlets. "The markup is far too high, even by so-called non-profit organizations. "My favorite work?" he asked, "Always the one I'm working on!" Once finished he loses ail interest in them. "They're like empty bottles ... if I have them around too long I'm tempted to smash them!" An unusual man. with an unusual talent, . Arnold Mikelson has a discerning faculty for laying bare the soul and character of his fellow man by strange disturbing caricatures In wood. Satirical interpretations that may not, he admits, be everybody's cup of tea, "but at : least they're traffic stoppers!" ' fr 1 S , . i C- Jv WALZ TRIESTS - RESENTMENT AND BITTERNESS I) X ifti n iff SEATED NUDE TRADITIONAL WEEPING WOMAN IN MAHOGANY The VANCOUVER SUN: Fri., Apr. 14, 1972 7A

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