Bill Brockmon a Jewish, Ukranian Born artist who lived from 1913 to 2008. Bill created sculptures using diverse materials including steel, wood, bone, antique tools, and found objects. Bill’s sculptures can be found in museums, synagogues, and private collections across the United States and Israel.
While living in Haifa, Isreal, Bill wrote the following description about his life and art:
Sculpture is now, undoubtedly, an extremely important part of my life. My days are filled with it, and my mind is always involved with ideas that must be translated into sculptures. Yet, it was not until past mid-life that I seriously concentrated on it. I was so busy with the means of making a living, and with organizational work of all kinds, that sculpting was constantly being pushed back.
Yet, my head was full of stored-up visual ideas, of memories of all kinds of art through the ages–from primitive man on. The literature I had read left its impressions, as well as the history of my people, and of humanity at large. In the course of my antique business I had handled thousands of objects created by the brains and hands of man–with skill and with ideas that stemmed from many cultures. I could feel how man had struggled to translate specific art forms that flowed from specific cultures. I could feel the genius of people creating the tools that made it possible to translate the ideas into crafts. Then followed the development into more creative forms, often stylized, and at other times more free-flowing, from a more daring individual. This sense of identity with the development of peoples, and their needs through the ages to express themselves in various art forms, throbbed in my head. And I could no longer deny my need to find time to give expression to my own ideas pounding in my head. I could no wait any longer.
I could draw on a lifetime of personal experiences–from my turbulent experiences in post revolution Russia, and then for the rest of my life in the United States (with its own periods of turbulence) from my arrival in 1924 until now. I was fortunate in having been exposed to many forms of art in my antique business, where I had to develop skills in handling and restoring objects in wood, metal, glass, porcelain, in paintings, in jewelry, and carvings in many mediums. I had to rely on myself, on my instincts and my own senses to estimate, and use my own judgement–rather than specific learned procedures. If the complete self-reliance served me well in my business, and my life as a whole, then self-reliance would serve in sculpting. I felt no desire, nor need for formal training. For a very short period, as a youth, I attended a graphic arts school. I sketched in charcoal and pencil, and copied nature, objects and the human form. But when I began to sculpt, I discarded this “copying” training.
Except for the tools of art–the knowledge of the use of tools and materials that one must have to start working–any other instruction, in my opinion, seems to defeat reliance on one’s own instincts, intuition, and inventiveness. I decided to continue making a living in my antique business, and sculpt for my own satisfaction. Other artists had come to similar conclusions.
When I have a strong feeling, or a deep inspiration about a sculpture, I work directly with the metal, and build as I go along. In this way I am not hampered by a rigid design that I must follow and copy faithfully. I am free to invent as I go along, to make changes, and to dream while I am working on the sculpture. Whatever creativity I possess comes forward while working in this manner. At times, when ideas lag, I start a sculpture with a single metal shape, and dream up a sculpture as I go along. Building the large panels, outside, (surrounding our house–facing the sea and the sky) was, for me, like writing in the sky!–the closed spaces like charcoal drawings, and the open spaces against the sky, changing color as the day changes! All these factors influenced improvisation.