by Kosha Oswald – Collegiate Staff
ArtPrize Artist Kate Askegaard is hoping to inspire people with her sculpture that portrays raw emotion. It is currently on display at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum venue.
“Chapter 2: Wonderful Things” portrays a young girl emerging from behind tree branches, and was inspired by personal aspects in Askegaard’s life.
“I had a rough last year and my husband said we needed to start a new chapter, so the name was inspired by him and the idea that we wanted to turn the page,” said Askegaard, 35, of Dixon, Illinois. “The idea of wonderful things comes from archaeologist Howard Carter and his reaction to peering into King Tutankhamun’s tomb for the first time. He said he saw wonderful things and I really liked that.
“I love that ‘aha moment,’ when you realize something for the first time and I wanted to capture that in this piece,” she said.
The girl in the sculpture is Askegaard’s niece, Brianna. Brianna asked her aunt to do a portrait of her and Askegaard said she felt honored.
“Instantly it clicked that she would be perfect for this piece,” Askegaard, who said she wanted it to feel like the girl in the piece was discovering a new reality. “Sort of like a fairy tale, she’s kind of emerging out of the trees, moving from one place to the next.”
Askegaard has a bachelor of fine arts, specializing in sculpture, from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). She used her knowledge of sculpting as well as her dots and dashes technique that she is known for, to create this piece. The dots and dashes are a way create depth and shading, without the need to blend. She also chose wood rather than paper, to achieve a more natural feeling, even using branches that she took from her own Magnolia tree to further enhance that mood.
Askegaard said 600 hours went into creating this piece. The girl was sculpted using the dot technique with black ink, as well as dashes for the hair. The backdrop is wood with black ink that was sanded down to create more depth. The arms of the girl were sculpted from clay, waxed and cast in bronze. The wooden branches were sanded and oiled. Lastly, at the bottom of the piece are slate and river rocks to finish off the natural look.
When deciding to enter ArtPrize this year a big factor on Askegaard’s mind was transportation. Askegaard knew she would want to do a piece that could fit into her SUV and would survive the trip from Illinois.
Askegaard said she is not caught up in the “emotional rollercoaster” of trying to win ArtPrize.
“Whatever happens, happens,” Askegaard said. “It would be amazing to win but winning isn’t everything. Ultimately my goal here is to just inspire people.”