Sculptor Susan Wagner joins Tim to talk about a life as an American sculptor, some of her iconic works, and the creative process. Listen to Susan give insights into what it is about three-dimensional art, sculpture, that taps the human imagination, and draws us to it. She’ll also talk about what it means to “dance with clay.”
If you were to travel to the Vatican in Rome, or the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, or just about any major destination in the city of Pittsburgh, you may have seen Susan Wagner’s work.
She’s a sculptor who focuses on classic depictions of famous and not so famous people.
Art draws us to it. Whether it’s a painting or a sculpture, it catches our attention and pulls us in. Whether it’s modern, abstract or classic, depending on our tastes, and maybe just the mood we’re in at the time, a certain piece of art may stop us in our tracks and make is look, and then think.
Why is that? That’s what we’ll be talking about today with Susan.
Since this is a podcast, and you can only experience this through your ears, you cannot see everything we’ll be discussing. We’ll do our best to describe the subjects, but you can also see for yourself by visiting our episode page at ShapingOpinion.com, or go to Susan Wagner’s website at Classic-Scultpure.com.
I first met Susan recently when I was doing research for a project that I’m helping with. But I had seen her work before. If you live in Pittsburgh and travel to any of the hottest tourism destinations in the city, you’ll see several of her works.
She was commissioned to create larger than life versions of baseball greats Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski and Willie Stargell. A short walk away, her sculpture of a police officer stands watch over the city at the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
She’s created historical figures, works depicting medical pioneers, saints, and others. But my favorite one, I have to admit, is a fictional figure of a little girl in a garden at Pittsburgh’s UPMC’s Passavant Hospital. Susan Wagner titled that piece “Hope.”
Our thanks to Susan Wagner for her participation, and for her photography we are using to show you her work. Also, a big thank you to the BFG Cafe in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh where we did this interview.
- Susan Wagner’s Website – Classic-Sculpture.com
- New Abraham Lincoln Statue Unveiled – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
- Pirates Unveil Bill Mazeroski Statue – Associated Press
- History Behind the Statues at PNC Park – MLB.com
- New Statue Pays Tribute to Legendary Transplant Surgeon Thomas Starzl – University of Pittsburgh website
About this Episode’s Guest Susan Wagner
Susan Wagner is an accomplished sculptor and painter who specializes in figurative sculptures from a few inches tall to larger than life and Fauve style paintings which emphasize painterly qualities, the imaginative use of color and simplified lines.
Her mastery of the human anatomy and her ability to capture likeness and convey emotion through both clay and canvas is evident in her sculpture and painting portfolios and truly what makes her works outstanding and unique. Susan’s art is now displayed in public forums and private households around the world ─ from her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the Vatican.
Susan’s art and work ethic are heavily influenced by her roots in the Pittsburgh area. Her drive to create was evident at an early age, she remembers digging the red clay from newly bulldozed ground around her home and using it to make sculptures. Growing up in working class neighborhood, Susan learned to stay grounded, be dependable, and always meet deadlines, making her an ideal artist to work with. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in art and anthropology, she started her own freelance business, which she operates today.
Works Discussed in This Episode