Artist Statement

About My Work

The idea for 1000 Squirrels came to me in a flash, like a squirrel darting up a tree or leaping from one branch to another. Midway through giving an acupuncture treatment to an artist friend, I uncharacteristically blurted out “I’m going to make 1000 squirrels!”

I’ve spent the last two decades meticulously twisting wire into intricate, anatomically-inspired sculptures—the perfect marriage of my studies in anatomy and my interest in Tai Chi and movement.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit me hard, like the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. At that time I was teaching Tai Chi, and I felt the power of the earth rumbling from below. Now I feel a huge shift coming from inside of me. Life feels tenuous and precious. At 65, I’m considered elderly, a person with pre-existing conditions, someone to be protected. I want to do something meaningful with the time I have left on this earth.

There is a principle in Tai Chi that revolves around practicing a long form made up of 108 moves. The form is like a kinesthetic alphabet, and is taught one move at a time. It takes almost a year to learn the entire form, then it’s practiced over and over thousands of times, until you reach a certain depth. However, there is never an end to the learning process.

1000 Squirrels is based on that principle. I want to explore my artistic abilities in a multitude of mediums using one subject: the common, adorable, mischievous squirrel. I drew the first 50 squirrels with graphite pencils. The pieces are playful, humorous, and some are dark, like the current times. This project is helping me stretch my abilities and open my vision. I’m looking forward to using other mediums, both 2D and 3D, as I progress through my form, one squirrel at a time.

Mediums
Location

California 1, Capitola, CA, USA

Phone
(831) 325-6293
Email
wb@wendyballenart.com
Social Media