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MRS. SIZZLE SHARES WILLIAM WEGMAN'S WORLD AS SEEN THROUGH KIMBERLY M. WANG'S EYES

Topper leading the way

Topper leading the way

The artist at work

The artist at work

Topper awake, Flo asleep

Topper awake, Flo asleep

From left to right: William (duh), Bobbin, Flo, Topper (standing) and Candy

From left to right: William (duh), Bobbin, Flo, Topper (standing) and Candy

Stacy Fischer introduced me to Kimberly this Fall. I knew her work from BARK magazine and was so taken with her profile of William Wegman who had also told me about her work.  Kimberly is a visual storyteller who loves to hang with artists with the intention of seeing them cultivate and sustain their creativity.  I asked Kimberly what it was like to spend time with Wegman observing him and his art.

"The quiet. That’s what I love about photographing artists. There may be the chatter of visitors to the studio bouncing off the eaves or a crew of assistants muscling equipment into place, but somehow, the artist always finds a quiet space to settle in, hunker down, and work. And in that silence great things are created, the artist’s grand and beautiful plans translated into something tangible.

Shooting with William Wegman, you notice that the contrast between cacophony and quiet is especially distinct because there’s always the clamor of those gorgeous, expressive Weimaraners. The barking, the chasing, the ebullience of the younger two, tempered by the stately manners of the elder pair, punctuate each day. Those bursts of playtime, presided over and encouraged by Wegman himself, are followed by a return to one of his photo or painting studios. And so the day ebbs and flows in this way:

Work. Play. Work. Play. Rest. Eat. Begin Again.

I’d first worked with Wegman several years ago while directing a video project about him. But last year, we reconnected to shoot a photo essay about his creative process and inspirations. Our shoots took place both in his Manhattan home/studios and at his retreat in Rangeley, Maine.

How fun it was to see that his dogs, of course, are still madly in love with him, trailing behind him (or scouting ahead) everywhere he goes. They watch his face for clues about what’s next so intently…it’s not unusual for a visitor to find herself watching the dogs watching Wegman.

This is far more entertaining than it may seem.

It’s equally enjoyable to observe Wegman at work…especially while painting. There are postcards and paints and bits of nostalgia and inspiration strewn here and there and dogs underfoot and lounging about on every piece of furniture that might offer a perch near their favorite human.  And amidst all this is Wegman, quietly transforming blank space into a work of art, his expression alternating between delight and complete focus.  He lets his imagination carry him away, and that smile makes an appearance when he discovers where it’s taken him."

 

 

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