Interview with Eran Webber, a Figurative Sculptor

Updated: May 10, 2020

Better Than Plaster showcased artist

Eran Webber, figurative sculptor

Q: Eran Webber -A sculptor, an artist...

I didn't expect that either when I was a kid, I didn't even consider that as a job, as a career. But I grew up in an environment which encouraged it. Knowing how to draw in my family was considered to be a very good skill so you would get highly appreciated if you could. My grandfather was a painter and an architect and my father is an engineer and is an excellent craftsman. 

When I was 16 my biggest passion was to become a tattoo artist and it was very tough at the time. It meant you're probably gonna go and make somebody a coffee for one year and then fill up huge palettes of ink before you would actually get the information.  My mom took it as seriously as I did. I saved money and went to England. We tried to find a workshop there, somebody who could teach me there. My family couldn't support learning and living abroad and then I flew back home.

"It took me several years to realize that this is still kicking in me; to decide Creating, one way or another, would be the path of my life.”

I realized that I'm willing to sacrifice and jump into that world. Not knowing how it's going to end but deciding that I'm gonna give the next 10, 20 years to that and then see what happens. It's an investment that a lot of people find hard to take so that immediately dilutes a lot of artists.

I went to study in Florence, Italy. I decided that if I want to do it right I've got to learn from the best and I always dreamed about being able to draw, paint, sculpt figuratively and learn the right basic fundamentals of Naturalistic Observation in nature. I studied at the Florence Academy of Art at the sculpture program. Actually, Italy got me in love with sculpture. I thought I would be a painter by then. I started touching sculpture at the Accademia Delle Belle Arte, and sought more information about sculpture. I attended the Florence Academy sculpture program. I did my three years and during my second year started teaching. In my fourth year I became Principal Instructor. 

Q: Would you recommend the formal process of going to an art school, or would you recommend a self-taught route?

Well, I don't have a correct answer because I feel like I'm talking now to a lot of people and each person has their own kind of path. In one way it's not relevant to invent the wheel. The information is out there, so being self-taught nowadays doesn't exist anymore. You can watch online demos of people painting and you can learn a lot from it. Yet I recommend that anybody who wants to make a career invests a minimum of 10,000 hours to make something out of it. If you want to climb Mount Everest which for me means to succeed today in the world of art, then you're got to actually sit on the bottom of a mountain for a while and prepare how to climb it, and then actually climb it, not sit at home and see people climbing it. I would suggest formal studies just because of the environment.

"There's a whole ritual about going to study somewhere and investing a lot into it which actually brings you into the game much stronger."

It could be off-the-grid, not official in a private Atelier, Next to somebody whom you appreciate how they go about things and it could be something formal in a university because they talk about the relevant things for you.

Q: What does it mean for you as an artist to live in a world with no boundaries digitally and being able to access art lovers around the world?

I think it's great and... it's a great illusion. It's a beautiful illusion. It's like a tree full of it and you can only take one fruit at a time, Similar to the amount of followers that you could have potentially on Instagram or Facebook; an overwhelming relationship with the world out there let's call it. On a business level, it's great. Yet on a personal level, I don't think it's relevant that much to how my art would succeed. It's important to maintain that but know its boundaries.

"At the end of the day, art is all about people, relationships between people. "

You're trying to connect with people whether you're talking to them or you're projecting an image or an object to them and make an impact and if you can't pass that… 

Imagine a song that touches millions of people yet the feedback the artist gets is not reciprocal except for when musicians go onstage, or when an artist goes on exhibition and meets people personally. So I think online is a great platform to spread the word, but in an artistic manner. I don't think it enables you to push yourself as an artist.

Q: We're currently sitting in a beautiful studio in Ha'Bonim. Tell us a bit about it.

They used to grow chickens here. When I got here there was no floor, the roof was partially there and what was there was not really usable. Some of the walls were missing. It took me a year and a half to reconstruct the place and it has a lot of spirit.

Here’s an interesting story about it. This is a limestone hill which is a very soft kind of stone that could be used for making bricks. Nearby there is a little fortress and some of the stones were brought from a small quarry that is right outside the studio. So I have garden walls which are perfectly straight that were cut with cords by the Byzantines (following the Roman Empire).

Atelier Eran Webber, a renovated chicken farm turned into a beautiful sculptor studio

Q: What happens in this location today?

It's a place for workshops for artists to come and teach. It's a place for people who are engaged with sculpture and drawing to come and learn the fundamentals, or work and progress their level.

Of course, my work is here so clients who are interested to get to know me and my work better, or order commissions, can come by here. They’re invited to come by and see the work and find their own; find themselves in someone's sculpture.

Q: Any tips for art lovers who are interested in getting that beautiful art into their homes?

My experience shows when purchasing art you pursue something. Pursuing some aesthetics in your own life or some visual impression as you walk in through your environment and I know I'm providing that for some people. As a tip for somebody who loves the art is knowing that when buying art you are maintaining the cycle because at the end of the day, artists are making a living when selling art but mainly it’s what gives us fuel to keep creating and history shows that's way beyond that. The biggest treasures of humanity are invested in art.  Therefore

"every art lover or art collector should know that in the future it may be them who created something, by actually purchasing, by upgrading the artist and allowing them to proceed, to chase what they're chasing."

As an artist, you don't have to be Michelangelo and as a collector or patron, you don't need to be de Medici. So we can meet somewhere in the middle. And everybody would find what they're looking for.

Q: What about tips for other artists?

An artist today needs to confront reality, and know it takes much more than art to become a good artist. If I would rethink my course, I would not remove anything, but I would add more knowledge on the business aspect while initiating my artistic skills If you're studying art, learn some more practical business skills. It's inevitable that if you'll stay in the art world, you will need them.

Q: What's your drive?

My drive is to create and I know that I can come in here and do it. Time is what I need the most. I could stand here and build something, make sculptures and I'll enjoy and I'll forget time; like I'll be out of the zone in my own world. 

"Sculpture isolates creating without the element of functionality. It doesn't need to function, it just needs to appear"

and that makes the game even harder because if I need to build a table then I can collect all the parameters you would expect the table to have (You need to sit next to it, you need to put your knees under it and how many people sit around it). It defines how the table should look like because it's destined for a function. When you look at art, you take all those away and it needs to function without doing anything. It needs to serve things that are almost indescribable.

So you need to think in a whole new realm and for me that's fascinating; trying to think why somebody needs art more than he needs a table to eat on and that's insane. How would you make somebody want your sculpture more than they need their car?

"Sculpture isolates creating without the element of functionality. It doesn't need to function, it just needs to appear"

Q: What impact do you hope to have on someone looking at your art?

I hope that they would come up with something that I didn't. I hope that they would look at it and not think the same thoughts as mine and that's fine with me. I see art today trying to communicate more and more with a story. That's where conceptual art is going. Probably a lot of people would disagree but I think art should make the impact visually, alone or with very few words, and not deliver the artist’s intentions fully. It puts people in a very interesting place because when there is a gap as humans we try to fill up that gap with something.  An artwork that is completely figurative for example could have a lot of conceptual elements missing in it and if the artist fills those up there's nothing left to do there. Know how to make questions in the work and then you can expect that people will try to fill that out, but you shouldn't expect what they would do with it.

Check out unique art prints by Eran Webber

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