Past sculpts artist

Gretchen Burns | Collegio Reporter

David Marquez says sculpting has always been one of his passions.

“I enjoy building things and making things with my hands,” Marquez said.

Marquez, whose artwork has been on display in the University gallery for a few weeks, gave a lecture that wrapped up his “Vessels” exhibit on Monday, Sept. 24.

Marquez says he grew up in a small town in Kentucky. He says he didn’t have much money and moved around the country with his mother.

Going to college, Marquez says, was a big step for him. He attended Western Kentucky University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, but he preferred the sculpture classes he had taken.

Marquez attended graduate school at the University of Iowa for graphic design but he kept working with sculpture outside classes.

“I would be painting, drawing or working on printmaking and would say to my professors, ‘I’m going downstairs to the sculpture room and play,’” Marquez said. “They would look at me with an odd expression on their face and say, ‘Play?’ But that’s what it was for me. It reminded me of when I was a child and I would go outside and build stuff out of whatever I could find.”

Marquez completed graduate school with a master’s degree of fine art in sculpture from the University of Iowa.
While Marquez’ art is sculpture, he switches between ceramics and bronze and iron casting with his pieces and uses whatever he can find to be the base and ideas for his pieces.

“It’s a big jump for me, going out and finding those materials,” he said. “As artists, we usually pay a lot for our supplies and don’t always get as much back for them. For me, it’s part of the process of the artwork to find what to make it out of.”

Some of the items he uses in his pieces include plastic Easter eggs, cake decorating tips and the packaging that he pulls off of items.

Marquez showed a piece that he considers one of his only personal pieces: a quilt form that is made of steel sheeting. He says that it symbolizes the relationship between himself and his mother.

For some of his bronze castings, Marquez will create four to five of the same pieces but try to learn new techniques on each piece.

He says he moved with his family to Australia for a year, but he didn’t create many sculptures while he was there.

“We were 40 minutes from the rainforest and 20 minutes from the beach, but there weren’t really any opportunities for me to create,” he said. “We moved back to the States so that I could accept a teaching position and get back in the art field.”

Marquez says he still creates new pieces from stuff that average sculpture students don’t even think about.

“I had some extra plaster for a plaster mold for one of my castings,” Marquez said. “I poured it into a trash bag and hung it up to dry. I flipped it over and it is a sculpture in itself. I like that. It’s
garbage, really, but you turn it over and it’s really a formal art sculpture. I want to make a mold out of it for a bronze sculpture some day.”

Marquez has been expanding his bronze sculpture to work with iron casting. He creates a two-part mold for his sculptures. He takes an impression of half of the sculpture, then an impression of the other half and fits the two pieces together.

He says his sculptural forms are based on ideas of mass-production, cellular growth, biological reproduction and the abstract, and build a narrative of the culture today.

Jordan Haldane says he enjoyed Marquez’ lecture and his art.

“I liked how emotional some of his pieces were. Like he said, ‘Some of his own baggage,’” said Haldane, junior in graphic design. “ I liked how it was childlike and yet thought out at the same time.”

Susan Grace says she wished Marquez would have gone into detail about his casting.

“It was kind of interesting,” said Grace, senior in interior design. “I would have liked to learn the step-by-step of this casting, though. He talked as if everyone automatically knew, but I think it would have been interesting.”

Marquez says for someone to fully understand an artwork, the artist needs to be present.

“In a gallery, you need the artist there to tell you about their pieces, about their emotion and thoughts and ideas behind each piece,” he said.

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