Kevin Comeau is a professional sculptor from Meteghan River, Nova Scotia. He’s an Acadian-Métis, using his surroundings and natural material as inspirations for his sculptures. To date his works have been exhibited locally and regionally, and purchased by private collectors. He is self-taught, sculpting for over 20 years in various media (bronze, clay, stone, steel, plaster, and wood). His focus is commissioned portrait busts. Kevin completed an Apprenticeship last year for the lost wax bronzing process, now creating sculptures in bronze taking his fine art skills to the next level.
sculpting is a passion
I create to release what’s inside of me. Sculpting is a passion. It makes me feel alive. I started sculpting in my early thirties to fill a void caused by serious health issues. Actually I didn’t think I had any artistic talent but one day I sculpted in plaster – the shape came to life – and I’ve been doing it ever since. Sculpting lets me create three-dimensional art using my hands and basic tools. I sculpt in natural elements as much as possible and create detailed sculptures using self-taught skills. I think my heritage and my strong connection to nature influence my choices of mediums. And my attraction to the human body and facial details influence the subjects I sculpt. Right now, I’m enjoying creating portrait busts.
drawn to the details and depth
If I had to label my practice, realism is what I’d say. I’m intrigued by three-dimensional art. I enjoy the challenge of creating a realistic piece of art. When I sculpt, I focus on exact proportions, intricate details, and the symmetry of what I’m creating. When I visit galleries, fine art sculptures are what I enjoy. I’m drawn to the details and depth of the pieces, their three-dimensionality. I create sculptures in different kinds of wood, various types of stone, steel and rod iron, plaster and clay. I enjoy creating with what I find in nature – like an old apple tree, a piece of gypsum, driftwood on the shores, natural clay from the beach. I even make my own tools to sculpt with. I sculpt a variety of subjects – mostly people, mythological characters and animals. The lines of the face and curves of the body, all that inspires me. I’m naturally attracted to the anatomic elements of the body, having been a bodybuilder in my younger years. Sometimes the medium itself inspired me – the grain of the wood, texture of plaster or the shape of a stone. Now, my practice has lead me to sculpt portrait busts in clay and cast in bronze and I enjoy creating commissioned pieces.
putting in the hard work and the time
I’ve had a few challenges in maintaining my sculpting practice. Firstly, because I’m self-taught with no formal training, that’s affected the growth of my practice. Many opportunities are for ‘professional’ artists that are recognized by certain institutions. For someone like me, completely self-taught, I wasn’t even on their radar. Fortunately, after putting in the hard work and the time, having solo exhibits and getting out there, I’m now recognized by my peers as a professional sculptor. This for me is a great achievement that I’ve worked hard for. Another challenge is living in a rural community, in a province far from Canada’s hub. Art and culture are big in Toronto and Montreal, so building my practice in Nova Scotia in a small community is challenging. It’s forced me to find solutions to promote my passion for commissioned portrait bust, especially using the Internet and social media. As an artist, technology is not my strength, so I’ve had to find a skilled team of people who know how to use these tools to help me expand my practice. It’s made me realize that I can’t succeed alone, and I should tap into the resources out there for my practice to succeed.
very helpful for building my practice
A fellow artist that I respected very much suggested I join VANS. She explained that VANS provided information and support for visual artists, such as details and deadlines about grants, and they gave workshops on lots of topics for artists – that it would help promote my practice and help me get better connected in the ‘art world’. That was a few years ago and I’ve kept up my membership since. So far I’ve benefited from a few of VANS’ resources. Firstly, I take advantage of the newsletters. I get them via email and it’s great. It has the latest information on upcoming exhibits, calls for submissions, activities going on throughout the province and elsewhere. And the website is valuable tool too. Also, I’ve taken some of the seminars VANS offers online, the Studio Sessions Webinars. They were great. I was in the comfort of my own home. I didn’t have to travel to participate, so for me living in a rural area it was very convenient. The cost was reasonable and the information I learned was very helpful for building my practice. I’ll definitely take more workshops and seminars from VANS. The staff is a valuable asset too. I had a chance to meet and talk with some of them, and their willingness to provide me information was awesome. They are approachable and I appreciate being able to connect with them.
creating a series of portrait busts of people from my community
Right now, I’m working on an exciting sculpting project. I’m creating a series of portrait busts of people from my community; people of historic or cultural importance that have had an impact for our community’s Acadians and Métis. I’m sculpting in clay, and I’ll choose one from the series and create a bust in bronze. Last year, I participated in an Apprenticeship with professional sculptor Carolyn Bedford. During a 3-month period, I learned the art of the lost wax casting process to create sculptures in bronze. So now, I’m putting that into practice. It’s been very rewarding so far and I’ve been able to focus full swing on this project thanks to a grant from Arts Nova Scotia. I’m very appreciative for their support. I’ve received a Professional Development Grant to help me learn the bronze process, and now a Creation Grant to put my new skills into practice. The feedback I’ve been getting is incredible, from my community and from all over. I’ve been promoting my project using social media and the positive comments have been pouring in. I can’t wait to officially exhibit the series of busts.