Matt V. wrote to ask, "Why do you sculpt gargoyles?"
Answer: I love creating gargoyles for a number of reasons. They allow a wonderful combination of discipline and
improvisation, sort of like jazz. Most of my other stone work is very structured and disciplined. Architectural and ornamental
stone carving requires a high degree of skill and precision. The designs and dimensions are fully worked out before I start
cutting the block of stone. Gargoyles and grotesques give me a chance to "let go" and improvise, to play with the stone, the
forms, the effects of light and shadow. I can use everything I know about the craft of carving, portraiture, anatomy, and
expression, and combine those skills with creative freedom, imagination, and fantasy.
Many people have a fixed concept of what a gargoyle should look like. These images are shaped by a couple of the most
famous carvings at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and some of the more common commercially available sculptures like the
winged dog with the chain around its neck. Those are wonderful works, but I don't want to repeat them. Instead, I try to push
my imagination and stretch my skills in stone carving by creating new and different gargoyles. I want mine to express a unique
character, influenced by art history and other sources, but expressing my imagination and my love of stone.
I have visited Notre Dame several times; it is magnificent. Here are two very good sites about
Notre Dame and
its Chimeras, Gargoyles and Grotesques. This site, in French, is full of photos of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Follow the links at the top of the page to see the rest of the Cathedral.
site has an historical timeline and a great discussion of the history of Notre Dame cathedral. Note particularly the gargoyle on the
link to the "Vista of Paris from atop Notre Dame". The site is filled with other Gothic lore, and it's always growing,
so you may wish to bookmark it.
I've added photos of some wonderful carvings in Toronto to my Gargoyles of the World page.
Also new on that page is a Chicago green man, a photo I took many years ago. It's just two blocks from the house where
I grew up; for years I used to walk past that building every day on my way to school- no wonder I turned out the way I did :-)
I hope some of you will contribute good photos of your friendly neighborhood gargoyles to add to this page, and remember, send
lots of Valentines gargoyle postcards to your friends and lovers. Let them know gargoyles are alive and thriving in the 21st century!