Back to Epiphany – a Sculptor’s Return to His Moment of Inspiration




michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture pietrasanta italy

It is official. We now own our brand new studio and gallery space in Squamish, BC, Canada. After over a year of the build process we now have the keys. But I will not be moving into this space just yet. I know you are thinking “What the heck?”

Michelle and I have been planning an exciting adventure for several years now. We will be travelling and working in Europe for one year, beginning in June 2018. I have packed all of my studio into storage, and we have found a non-art related tenant to occupy the studio space until our return to Vancouver in summer 2019.

michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture pietrasanta italy

We have always dreamed of living abroad for a year, so this seemed the most appropriate time to execute the plan, before we put down roots in the new studio.

My epiphany to pursue a love for stone sculpture happened in Florence, Italy almost 40 years ago. As Michelle and I transition to a new chapter here in Vancouver, Canada, it seems fitting to go back to Europe again. We affectionately dubbed it our “Reset Year,” but after spending time asking ourselves just what it is we are wanting to achieve, we have decided to call it “Back to Epiphany.”

We have returned to Italy so that I could work in studio in Pietrasanta (Saint of Stone) for a month each in 2006 and 2008. Some examples of commissions I began during those periods are “Barn Owl” and “Ansia.” Michelle observed that I became a changed artist, being influenced by the invisible pull of the nearby white marble quarries and the spirits of countless sculptors who had been there throughout history. Since it was Michelangelo whose work struck a chord in my soul in 1980, and who worked in this same town 500 years ago, it is no wonder I am affected while there.

michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture pietrasanta italy

I am often asked what it is that inspires me as an artist, hoping that there might be some singular nugget that will be my answer. It is not. My answer is life. What I see, what I hear, what I smell, feel and taste. My take on the term “an artist must suffer” is not that he must endure the physical hardship of poverty or being ignored by an audience. I truly feel the term reflects the fact that an artist can never switch off his sensory input and the resulting inspiration to new ideas – unlike most folks who can punch out at the end of a work day.

So I am really looking forward to all the experiences Michelle and I will encounter to get re-energized, re-inspired, rejuvenated – in short, “reset.” Michelle and I hope that living a different lifestyle for a while, visiting places we’ve wanted to go and experiencing different cultures can only positively influence us – oh yes, and the resulting impact on and re-ignition of my creativity.

michael binkley sculptor stone sculpture pietrasanta italy

A healthy portion (September and October, 2018) will be spent in studio in Seravezza, Italy while we stay in an apartment in our beloved Pietrasanta.

I have a residency in southern Spain for December and January, and the remainder of the time, I will be developing my virtual sculpting skills. Michelle has accepted a continued contract to do remote work for the education company she has been with for the last eight months. So we’ll be keeping busy. And of course, inspired…

With this post, I am announcing my willingness to create a special sculpture for you that I can commence work on while I am in studio in Italy. I can handpick the material for your artwork, begin your project in Seravezza and finish your sculpture in my new studio in Squamish when I return. This is an excellent opportunity to create an interesting story and lasting memory to accompany your sculpture.

I welcome your inquiry and look forward to collaborating to realize your masterpiece.

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