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This may well be the most important blog I’ve ever written.
Last July, I received notice of ‘Beyond the Lines’ gallery’s exhibition at Bergamont Station featuring Debbie Korbel, an artist who had studied with me years ago.  May I say that no one else could get me out to Bergamont Station.  Off I went with Nikka and Amy.
‘SILVER’  by Debbie Korbel
Silver by Debbie Korbel
I suppose it’s really unseemly of me to take any credit for awesomely talented, creative Debbie Korbel but why not.  Why not indeed when it was the Brush painting classes years ago in my studio that first started Debbie on her artistic journey.  Here’s some of the proof!
Peony by Debbie Korbel

Debbie Korbel Chinese Magnolia

Koi by Debbie Korbel
Debbie and I have remained somewhat connected through the years and I was so happy to have a chance to see her again.  To say that I was completely staggered, blown away by her work, does not even begin to describe how in awe I am of her creativity and her ability to bring her concepts into three dimensional reality. Experiencing that, I knew just then that I had to write a blog about Debbie and share her gift with as many people as possible.
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How is it even possible to create such a perfect anatomical horse with scraps of flotsam & jetsam, bones from animals, driftwood, odd steel pieces… Debbie Korbel
Here’s ‘Silver’.IMG 3476
And a beauty cast in bronze…..IMG 3480
I knew that a visit to Debbie’s studio was in order because I absolutely needed to see and know more of her process.IMG 7596
Can you even begin to make sense of all this detritus?  Debbie scours construction sites wearing boots and heavy gloves looking for all manner of salvage, organic matter that she sees beauty in and that will be re-purposed into something amazingly wonderful.
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The only recognizable item here is the elks horns, driftwood and some lacy metal thing.IMG 7599
 My memory tells me this is going to be part of a fish….
IMG 7602And this????
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Everything you see here will be used and that beautifully!IMG 4235
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IMG 4223I was right.  This piece is going to be a large fish.  Debbie is holding driftwood and a deer antler.
DK: “Once I started with driftwood I realized I didn’t have to stop there because you’re just looking at shapes and colors.”
Debbie Korbel
Debbie can’t help creating and I suspect that’s what an artist is.  She sees things that no one else sees and then brings them into being and the world says ‘why yes….of course’!IMG 4253
The horses are simply amazing.  Take a moment to see all the various materials used to bring this beauty into being…IMG 4297
 Debbie’s faces are absolutely perfect and beyond being lovely…they transport you to another dimension….
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 I have to say this is my favorite piece because of the sensitivity that goes so far beyond the sheer skill in creating it.  The idea of beauty in a wounded warrior….This piece is “DREAMING”.  I’m in awe of Debbie’s anatomical skill and again, the beauty she obtains in each face she molds.
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NR:  “What was the inspiration for this piece?”
DK:  “The impetus for the sculpture was a combination of things.  I wanted to create a figure that was “damaged” yet beautiful and passionate.  Love makes “wounded warriors” of us all.  The figure is that of a man who is separated from his beloved and yearning to hold her close to him again.  I wanted to write poetry that complemented the feeling of the piece.  I think that when we are in love we see everything in life through that lens, even the common nighttime sounds reflect and amplify the emotions we are feeling.”
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On the jawbone there is the poem…
”Cicadas in the night
Calling out for love
I search the constellations for your face”
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 Again, using all manner of objects and then combining them to create this ethereal winged creature.
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 Another view……
Debbie Korbel
 I mentioned Debbie is also an accomplished poet and how beautiful is this seen on the wing of the ‘butterfly’!
                                                                                                                       “ I see your lips moving
                                                                                                                         but I can’t hear a sound
                                                                                                                         I am lost
                                                                                                                         in the cathedral of your
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Time to sit down and ask Debbie some questions:
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NR: “How did your artistic journey begin?
DK: “Your Brush painting class was the genesis. I had no formal art training until I came to you.  Making jewelry caused me to hit my stride and that led to classes in sculpture with various teachers.  I started in clay and then into mixed media.  Deborah Butterfield’s driftwood pieces and mixed media horses were an ‘ah ha moment’ for me when I thought ‘I can do this!’  From mixed media I found an electric wood drill and electric screw driver and so it went.”
NR: “ Ahhhh…a woman with tools!” …..laughter….”Before you even thought of being an artist, what did you consider yourself.”
DK: “I was always creative, making jewelry, writing poetry and children’s stories.  I did a lot of things to express myself. What can’t be taught is creativity, coming up with the concept and having a sense of balance and design.”
NR: “Do you remember your first sculpted piece?”
DK: “It was of a great big fat woman with wire in her hair.”
NR: “When was that?”
DK: “About seven or eight years ago.”
NR: What you do is very complicated, coming from your core, your soul.  When you talk to the public at an exhibit, how much do you have to explain or how much do they grasp of what you do?”
DK: “The question I am most asked is ‘Where do you get your materials’ and ‘How do you come up with all these ideas?’  “For me, ideas are like a river, you just dip your cup into it.  You have to be calm.  Stress is a creativity killer.”
NR: “What about the notion regarding Van Gogh, that an artist has to be tortured?”
DK: “Artists can be a little depressive or neurotic…it’s a release.”
NR: “Where do you see all this going?”
DK: “I would be content with selling a few pieces and continuing doing what I’m doing.”
NR: “From your heart, what would you like to say about your work?”
DK: “I don’t like pretentiousness.  I would like to communicate, be creative, in the zone….It’s like a whisper in your ear.  Of course it’s affirming when someone likes what I do. I always remember a Jeff Koon’s quote, “Art is a humanitarian act.  Art should be able to effect mankind, to make the world a better place. The only thing the artist can do is be honest with themselves and make art.”
NR: “Debbie I shall never forget this day, your inspiration and the thrill of watching your process.”IMG 4352                                                                                       The poem embedded in this work:
                                                                                       “I want to be your mantra
                                                                                         a soft sound on your lips…
                                                                                         a murmuration of love rising
                                                                                         like a cloud of starlings
                                                                                         against a dusky red sky.”
Samurai by Debbie Korbel
Reverance by Debbie Korbel
Metamorphosis by Debbie KorbelDebbie’s work may be seen at:
7277 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA. 90046

7350 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA. 90036

47900 CA-1
Big Sur, CA. 93920
May you always follow your heart!

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