"My hope is that the portraits I sculpt will cause all of us to pause and reﬂect upon our own sense of
Scarlett Kanistanaux is a sculptor living and working in her Erie, Colorado studio.
These past few years Scarlett has enjoyed sculpting simple yet moving portraits of young monks and nuns inspired by the buddhist tradition.
Coupling the medium of ‘living’ clay with a unique method of sculpting from the ‘inside out’, seems to breathe life into these still ones. Scarlett feels blessed to be part of their creation and joy filled to be in their presence.
My Artistic Journey
My love of art has been an ongoing motivating force throughout my life. I drew, painted, sculpted, learned calligraphy, lettered signs, threw pottery, entered artistic competitions and participated in my first art festival, the Fremont Art Fair in Seattle….all before graduating from high school.
I earned a degree in Art Education from Western Washington University, using my sign painting skills to help pay the tuition. A wonderful career in billboard painting ensued. This allowed me to combine my love of lettering with the bigger than life experience of painting gigantic pictures 50 to 150 feet in the air overlooking city freeways and country roads. As the desire to revisit my creative roots continued to beckon to me, I finally transitioned away from this commercial ‘high-wire’ painting and back into the world of fine arts.
Over the years, I have had the privilege of being able to study under many of the finest artsists and teachers of our time: Ron Carson, Doug Dawson, Albert Handell, Harley Brown, Kirstin Kokkin, Don Gale, Valentin Okorokov, Bob Smith, and Andi Mascarenas. Ultimately and thankfully, I was drawn to sculpting as my primary artistic expression. I have never been happier than when I am ‘in the flow of inspiration’ while I am sculpting.
These past few years I have enjoyed sculpting the simple, yet moving portraits of the young nuns and monks of the Buddhist tradition. Coupling the medium of ‘living’ clay with the method of sculpting from the ‘inside out’, seems to breathe life into these still ones. When I first experienced someone crying in front of one of these peaceful sculptures, I was taken by surprise. When another was moved to tears, I knew I had found my calling. It is a great joy for me to be in their presence.
I have actively sought out venues to showcase my work: Numerous Colorado Art Festivals and Gallery Showings (2005-2011), Loveland Sculpture Invitational (2007), Sculpture in the Park (juried 2008-2010), and an annual Summer Art Show held at my private studio/gallery along side of artist friends Ella Buchholz and Twig Ertl (2004-2010).
Two of my artistic endeavors led to unexpected, but gratefully received awards:
One of my small sculptures named simply, ‘Young Nun’, was chosen to be part of the National Sculpture Society’s 2009 76th Annual Exhibition. I was honored to be the recipient of the Pietro and Alfreida Montana Memorial Prize.
In the spring of 2010 my sculptures were juried into the prestigious Colorado Clay show held at the Foothills Art Center in Golden, Colorado. This gave me the inspiration to take my work to a larger scale. I created 2 pieces that where 31″ tall. Previous to this, my largest piece had been slightly larger than life size. It was this show that also inspired a complete body of work using the velvety black gesso finish. Earlier pieces had been hand painted with colored stains. The sculptures were awarded first place. I was the happy recipient of one ton (2000 pounds) of clay, compliments of Mile Hi Ceramics in Denver.
Doors have continued to open. At the end of the summer of 2010, artist Karla Kriss fell in love with and purchased one of the sweet young nun sculptures. She encouraged her employer, Sandy Sardella, the owner of PISMO fine art gallery, to come out to my studio. Sandy is always interested in discovering unique and unusual art. It has been my good fortune that she has chosen to represent my sculpture. The relationship has turned out to be a blessing on many levels. I could not have imagined a better gallery fit for these peaceful sculptures. With the ongoing support from the caring PISMO staff, I can now simply sculpt. What a gift.