This week, I met Isaiah Ullo at the Werby Gallery. This display was part of a collaboration between Isaiah Ullo and other aspiring sculpture artists. All of the works exhibited were made of plaster, or had to do with plaster, as Isaiah and his team felt sculpting plaster had become a forgotten art form.
Immediately, when I walked in, the one thing that caught my eye was Isaiah’s shoes.
Every other sculpture in the room was white, and these shoes were light pink (Isaiah later explained to me that he used Pepto Bismol, which is totally random and weird). Among the pink shoes lined up against the wall were a pair of black shoes.
I was slightly nauseated and unsettled by the pinkness of the shoes. Maybe it’s because you usually don’t see shoes in this color. I actually didn’t notice the black pair because all of my attention was focused on the pink ones. This kept me from analyzing this particular piece.
Isaiah divulged to me that the black pair symbolizes Isaiah himself, and the pink shoes represent the rest of us. During his childhood, he had a hard time fitting in, and this display represents that situation. For the life of me, I can’t determine the significance of his choice to use shoes for the display (I forgot to ask). My guess is that shoes played some prominent role in his childhood.
The other thing that attracted me was a sculpture of a head stretched out. It reminded me of Coldplay’s album cover for A Rush of Blood to the Head. Isaiah explained that he used a computer program to capture a model of his head, messed around with it, and printed it out using a 3D printer (I didn’t think of that!). The head also symbolizes Isaiah’s detachment from the rest of the world.
Besides plaster, Isaiah likes to mess with hair for sculptures. He is interested in making props and special effects for movies. It certainly would be nice to see actual prop-making return to mainstream movies, as most Hollywood blockbusters nowadays use computers for everything. He has no patience for drawing and painting, which I understand.
Overall, visiting this gallery was an eye-opening experience. I’m more oriented towards drawing and painting, so I was never really interested in sculptures. Seeing the displays here revealed to me more about sculpting, which I am glad for.