Johnny Legend, the Model
Not all sculptors work from live models. Actually, I started Icarus from a picture I loved of a dancer leaping in the air. Such strength and abandon at the same time. I worked on the sculpture for some weeks and then started getting lost in the muscles and sinews half hidden in the photograph.
When the figure is standing, anatomy is easier to follow, but when your subject is flying against gravity, where do you place everything to look believable! My fellow sculptor at the Studio suggested I look into bringing in a live model.
Sitting at a sidewalk café with a girlfriend that same week, I was complaining about my sculptor’s block. And then, who appears but a beautiful muscular young man on his afternoon jog . As he ran past us, I blurted out, there goes Icarus!
My girlfriend asked me why I hadn’t stopped him to ask him to model. I had never dreamed of doing such a thing! As we are finishing our coffee, she literally jumps from her seat and waves and shouts to the young man who is now running on the opposite sidewalk across the street. I cringe in embarrassment. He approaches and she explains that I am a sculptor and thought his physique was perfect for a project I had started. To my surprise, he shows strong interest. He had always dreamt of being sculpted. I also learned that his mother is Haitian. I had to pinch myself.
He came to the studio the following week . These pictures show him trying to strike a very difficult pose, using a stick to keep him arms up like someone leaping in the air. I learned he was training as a natural body builder. He was already Mr. Natural Ottawa and competing for the province. He has since gone on to win many competitions in his field.
You definitely can’t make this stuff up!