Sculptor Cheryl Beychok –
When I was 9, I took up a challenge I read on a matchbook cover “can you draw the lumberjack?” Well, it seems I could. So I stumbled onto my own artistic ability. I started illustrating my book reports and soon friends were paying me up to ten cents per drawing to add to their class papers. In high school I took a life drawing class. Then a strange thing happened. I had traveled to Israel in 1973 for a one-year overseas program but ended up staying for three and studying English Literature. Strange expressionistic ink drawings seemed to be drawing themselves in my notebook, which were unlike anything I had done before. I remember feeling “possessed” and frightened, totally unaware of their artistic merit. I showed them to a painter friend who encouraged me and cautioned me to never throw away any of my drawings. So I treated them with respect but was not really interested in engaging with the force that was doing the drawings.
One night in 1986, I dreamt I was walking on a street in Tel Aviv when I turned a corner and suddenly found myself in front of a multi-level staircase with wrought iron railings connecting to different streets. Somehow I knew it was Montmartre in Paris. At the time, I had been questioning which “door” of the arts I should follow as I was drawn in a few directions and not really committed to any. Six months later, I won two round-trip tickets to Paris, notified by letter dated on my birthday. I felt the hand of destiny and was curious where it would lead. In Paris I was mesmerized by the life-size sculptures populating the gardens, parks and museums. One day as I was circling the heroic poses in the Tuileries Gardens, snapping photos at every angle, a man approached me, charmed that I was so captivated by a sight that locals casually stroll by. I had not seen much figurative sculpture in Los Angeles’ public places and, in fact, the figure was conspicuously absent from the arts of the 80’s, except for a new school in New York that was teaching figurative art.
Naturally, I decided I must go to Montmartre in case there was a clue of some sort. After visiting the Sacre Coeur church, my friend and I exited through the rear door, which put us in front of a very long staircase. While descending the stairs I got a queasy feeling, almost like déjà vu, and told my friend I felt kind of weird. She said, “you think that’s strange look down there,“ pointing to the bottom of the stairs where the name “Cheryl” boldly stood out in white letters atop a black door. Upon closer inspection I saw that it was the studio of a ceramic sculptor. Being Sunday, it was closed but it gave me the idea that maybe sculpture was the answer. Back in Los Angeles I saw a monumental figurative sculpture, reminiscent of Rodin’s “Thinker,” being showcased in the lobby of an office building.
Now this is what I was talking about! It took me some time to track down the artist whom I found teaching a bronze-casting course at Otis Parsons and I enrolled in his class. Later, when Don Gale started teaching classes in figure sculpture at a studio in Culver City, I began to study sculpting from the live model. When Don moved to New York, Robert Cunningham took over the studio and I continued with him until he left a few years ago to devote himself full time to his own commission works. In 1991 I was able to go to France and study for one month in the Loire Valley with Martine Vaugel who at the time was head of the sculpture department at the New York Academy of Art. I continue to sculpt and study at the same studio, now known as The Teale Street Sculpture Studio. Last year I completed my first commission of two sisters that was a gift for my client’s wife. I am working on my dream to be able to be a working artist full time.
Sculptor Cheryl Beychok Official Website – http://www.vulcanasculpture.com
Sculptor Cheryl Beychok Fan Page on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vulcana-Sculpture/360321286825
Follow Sculptor Cheryl Beychok on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/fiatluxor23
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