Interview with Cindy Billingsley - Spotlight, April 2012

SPOTLIGHT, April 2012: Cindy Billingsley

/ Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

Ceramics Now Magazine
: You are both a painter and a ceramic artist; is one medium closer to you than another?

Cindy Billingsley: Both mediums have equal places in my heart. It mainly depends on the subject or idea I have, clay is sometimes better at conveying my passion or idea then paint is. There is nothing like the feel of clay in hand. I can say in Ceramics what I can not with paint. Clay is felt with all, the eyes, hands and the heart. No other medium can do this. Clay comes from the earth and has that feeling of being alive if sculptures right. If you look closely at a ceramic sculpture you can see the finger marks, the hand prints — it is made by the hand and touch of the artist.

I love in clay that, as an artist, I can take that lump of clay and make it into something magical, something others can touch and see the passion I had for my idea. This is what drew me to clay as my medium.

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Cindy Billingsley Ceramics - featured on Ceramics Now Magazine
Chamber Nautlius
, 2005, 15” x 18” x 9”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax - View her works

There is a visible fascination for the world of animals reflected in your work; where does this interest come from? Tell us more about the subjects you explore.

Since childhood I have had and felt a closeness with animals. I have lived in the company of animals more than in the company of people. So naturally, I would follow that path with my art. In Ceramics I could finally convey the gesture and mood of an animal with the strokes of the clay without a lot of detail.
I have always been more interested in capturing the spirit of an animal or its essence than making an exact model of an animal. Clay freed me up to be able to do this, with quick clay marks here, and strokes of clay there. Clay has that wonderful freedom to it. And Clay sometimes has it’s own ideas about how a piece will come about, that I might not have thought of until I was in the middle of sculpting it. I am drawn to the less familiar animals in my sculptures, like the blue ring octopus, Okapi or fruit bats. These animals fascinate me. Trying to make clay appear like soft fur is the challenge and the fun, like with my Koala sculpture.

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Cindy Billingsley

Cindy Billingsley Contemporary Ceramic sculptures on Ceramics Now

Cindy Billingsley's profile on Ceramics Now Magazine - View her works

Art should come from the heart of the artist, it should engage the audience, it should connect with the community, it should start a dialog, a debate. It should get people to look at things in a way they have not thought of, or to see what they have looked at but not really seen. Art has to come deeply from the artist, there has to be raw emotion and honesty in the work if it is to connect with people. An Artist paints and sculpts what they know. These are all the reasons I wanted to do a show about Alzheimer’s disease. To start a dialog, to connect, to get people to understand what it is like to have the disease, it is a part of my life, so it is what I know, what I am around. I took those thoughts and feelings and transformed them into visuals to engage my audience.
I speak through paint and clay. Art is a look inside the artist, what I am feeling is transferred into the clay while I am sculpting, Those feelings have to go somewhere. I wanted to tell a story, I wanted you to feel how it is, the frustrations, humor, the compassion and the heartache of having Alzheimer’s disease and for the ones caring for one with this disease.

William Faulkner said it best ~ The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it it moves again since it is life.

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Cindy Billingsley: Chamber Nautlius, 2005, 15” x 18” x 9”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Chamber Nautlius, 2005, 15” x 18” x 9”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: On the prowl cheetahs, 2009, 15” x 22” x 22”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: On the prowl cheetahs, 2009, 15” x 22” x 22”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Giraffes - Out of the ordinary, 2008, 25” x 28” x 22”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Giraffes - Out of the ordinary, 2008, 25” x 28” x 22”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Meerkats Alert, 2008, 25” x 24” x 15”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Meerkats Alert, 2008, 25” x 24” x 15”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Gorilla, 2008, 22” x 20” 21”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Gorilla, 2008, 22” x 20” 21”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Koala, 2007, 25” x 27”x 15”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Koala, 2007, 25” x 27”x 15”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Transformation, 2011, 25” x 8” x 12”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Transformation, 2011, 25” x 8” x 12”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Panda, 2008, 25” x 28” x 15”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Panda, 2008, 25” x 28” x 15”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Chimp Portrait, 2008, 15” x10” x 8”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Chimp Portrait, 2008, 15” x10” x 8”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Tapir, 2007, 15” 15” x 9”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Tapir, 2007, 15” 15” x 9”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Father and Son, 2008, 25” x 15” 12”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax

Cindy Billingsley: Father and Son, 2008, 25” x 15” 12”, raku clay, hand built solid, hollowed for firing, low fired, cold finish acrylic and wax