Charlotte Daley Artist's Statement

Charlotte Daley
Artist’s Statement

As a child I was fascinated with animal life; mice, frogs, salamanders, snakes, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, a lone raccoon, turtles and horses made their way into our family structure with remarkable frequency. I observed them carefully, and drew them constantly. This fascination has remained with me and has been a central theme in my art.

The paper maché sculptures I am making currently are an expression of joy, wonder, and surprise. They live in the space between the real and the imaginary, blending the lines between what is known and what is not known. Striving to capture a moment in space and time through form and color, each figure tells a story in joyous celebration of the wonder of creaturehood.

When beginning a new sculpture, I start with drawing, working out the beginning, middle, and end on paper. It changes often in the making, but the idea takes life on paper. The underneath structure of the sculpture is polystyrene foam, which is roughed out and then shaped by adding and subtracting. Bumps, spikes, fins, wings, scales, etc. are added as the figure emerges. Appendages are reinforced with heavy wire. After the basic shape is made, a skin of newspaper and wallpaper paste is applied, followed by second skins of brown Kraft paper. Form as color is applied with acrylic paint, finished with a coat of polyurethane.

I graduated from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia College of Art), majoring in illustration, with concentrations in painting and photography. Studying with painter Jane Piper had a huge influence on my use of color to describe form in space. Steve Tarantal taught me to observe keenly and to channel my energy. Harry Soviak showed me how to see the colors that you can’t see. William and Catherine Daley taught through example that the hands teach the mind, and that making art is an essential part of the circle of life’s expression, of joyous celebration, of wonderment.