Connie McSilver’s Vivid Imagination
So many times, we forget that art is more than just décor. It’s a means of expression, an outlet for creativity—and for sculptor Connie McSilver—it’s a way to make people smile.
Born in Maine, 73-year-old Connie McSilver—a prominent sculpture artist in some of the nation’s finest galleries, has known she wanted to be an artist since she was in the first grade. A New York University alumnus, Connie has spent most of her career working as a psychoanalyst; and today, she teaches classes at NYU, is actively engaged as a member of the university board, and along with her husband, has made generous contributions to facilitate the opening of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. Closing her practice years ago to focus solely on her craft, Connie now draws on all of these experiences—as well as all of the people she has met along the way—as inspiration for the whimsical sculptures that have since fanned her international fame.
Drawing funny faces and cartoons since she was just a little girl, Connie channels that child-like energy in the hundreds of pieces she creates today. One such piece, “The Wedding Couple,” which is currently on display in the cancer ward of the NYU Children’s Hospital, features two caricatures of a man and a woman in figurative shapes. The piece is adorned with fanciful patterns, flowers, and an interesting combination of stars, stripes, and smiling faces. “Whoopie in Blue,” which currently stands outside Miami’s Markowicz Fine Art gallery, combines different animals and patterns to create one, comical human-like figure. Finally, her most favorite piece, “Umbrella Man”—inspired by her husband, who likes to grow tomatoes—is a 6’-tall sculpture of a colorful, odd-shaped figure with a bright red tomato on its head. Using fiberglass, bright colors and her zealous imagination as the basis of most of her designs, each sculpture Connie creates is entirely different from the next. Though the meaning of these pieces may not be immediately apparent to anyone but her, every one of them embodies one important message she always strives to convey: that laughter, especially at ourselves, is the perfect medicine.
Creating the bulk of her collection from her studio in Westport, Connecticut, Connie’s work is a reflection of the child that lives in each of us. All of her pieces, whether trees, odd shapes or figurines, are characterized by expressive faces and big sneakers; and all appear to be ‘off-balance’ or dancing. She bases these characteristics on her own experiences and those of the patients and friends around her. “After working as a psychoanalyst for so many years, there is one thing I know for sure,” says Connie. “We’re all trying to find balance in life.”
When it comes down to it, for Connie, art is all about being creative—and above all—being you. “The creative spirit really is a wonderful thing, mainly because art is everywhere,” says Connie. “If you’re making art, you have the freedom to do what you really want to do. No one can recreate my art because it’s based on my own personal experiences. I do my sculptures based on what I’m feeling or thinking—and lucky for me, people like it.”
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