Sometimes you have to travel far from home to discover what’s in your own backyard, they say. Such was the case with my introduction to Alexander Calder, the American sculptor who originated the mobile and had a home and studio right here in Roxbury, Connecticut. I discovered Calder last weekend at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s exhibition Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic. I’ve never thought much about mobiles except as a lovely outdoor decoration or a common baby shower gift but walking through the exhibit and reading about Calder’s work and inspirations, I found myself fascinated by the thought of the artist tucked away in a corner of Connecticut, turning his visions, which might seem deceptively simple to some, into works of art that would eventually be celebrated all over the world.
I decided to share the quote attributed to Calder above because it resonates strongly with me. So often I approach my life like an engineer in search of perfection, painstakingly making plans and trying to plot out the steps that will yield an expected, predictable and desirable result. Art, and Calder’s art in particular, is not about perfection. It’s about creation. A man picking up a few scraps of wires and molding them in his vision into something that might look meaningless, but might also change the course of history. The thought of the artist following his vision inspires me to follow mine. Calder created some of his first outdoor works (many of which have been featured across the globe, including the iconic Stegosaurus in Hartford) in his studio in Roxbury, Connecticut. Who knows what might come out of my own Stamford apartment, if I stop trying to perfect and am bold enough to create?