Gesso Cocteau Sculptures in Bronze
Born in Los Angeles, California Gesso Cocteau was surrounded, from an early age, by writers, painters, sculptors and musicians. Gesso grew up in a sleepy beach town next to Venice California and was intrigued by artist and the creative life. At the age of twelve Gesso won a Rotary Scholarship for writing and illustrating a book of poetry, from that point on her mind was made up to become an artist. She always saw the poetics in everyday life and decided instead of conventional schooling she would hit the road with her best friend and go on a six year road trip, picking fruit, living in orchards and perfecting her drawing skills with hours of portrait and landscape sketching. The road was a perfect place to capture real people and honest landscapes.
Gesso then decided in her mid twenties to apply to a studio on the Big Island of Hawaii. The man who owned the studio had been a primary special effects technician and sculptor at Disney for many years and now ran an art studio designing high-end signs and sculptural designs. After being accepted to apprentice under Bill Hilbert Gesso began a seven-day a week regiment of learning design and sculpture elements. It was here that Gesso created her first sculpture.
Gesso moved back to Los Angeles in the early eighties and began showing in galleries in Los Angeles. Here she continued her studies of sculpture and painting at private studios where she worked as assistant sculptor on many projects around the Los Angeles area.
In her early thirties she moved to the desert of California to begin sculpting full time. During this time she was commissioned to do a monumental sculpture of a cast bronze dragon, which was commissioned by Don Brownstein for a castle, he was building in Los Angeles. To accompany the sculpture she also drew sixteen life size drawings of dragons and castle related themes.
Gesso was included in the prestigious Sculpture Garden at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and also invited to show in the First and Second Annual Sculpture Exhibit at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert California.
Her sculpting career catapulted her into a new realm when she was commissioned by Kemper Freeman Jr. to do the monumental fifty-two foot cast bronze sculpture, which was completed and installed in 2005 in Bellevue Washington.
Gesso was also commissioned by the Hard Rock Corporation to do numerous sculptures to be placed around the world in various Hard Rock Cafes. The most recent were three life size sculptured depicting musicians placed in Rome at the Hard Rock Café. Her work can be seen in Sweden, Berlin, Boston, and at the Headquarters for the Hard Rock in Orlando Florida. In 2009 Gesso was selected to do the prestigious international award for Hard Rock Corp. to give out to the Best Performing Hotels and Cafes around the world.
Gesso has worked on many life size sculptures, which can be seen on Hospital Grounds, Hotel Grounds, Private Homes and Gardens, Public Arts, Restaurants, and Galleries.
Gesso has had many solo and group shows and her work can now be seen throughout the world. She lives and works full time in Indian Wells California.
Gesso recently wrote about her art articulating:
There are always opposing forces and in some ways I am always trying to unify or synthesis the polarities in my life. I find that in sculpting, the yielding of the clay and then the casting into bronze helps reconcile my own unsolved conflicts. Because poetry has become somewhat of a religion for me, (I use religion as a loosely constructed manner), because I love the assembly of words to paint pictures, my sculptures are often freeze framed poems. Combining the arts brings forth a multitude of creative possibilities. It is the animating force of our lives. The breath of angels. We create to remember whom we are, to reach back into our primordial genetic thoughts. The creative intellect is a shadow or our instinct. Art always consist of our memories, and usually a prayer to imitate something we remember in nature. We cannot trace the true origins or art, because it is the mythos of our souls who are the forerunners of our visions and creative dreams. There was a muddy center before we breathed. There was a myth before the myth began.
I believe that all art comes from our primordial mud. That there is as Stanley Romaine Hopper wrote "a mythological consciousness that inspires us to create". Every human has her own personal intelligence, her own authentic and ancient dream. We know it when we hear or see or feel something that makes our blood run a little faster, our hearts beat somewhat louder, the quickening of the spirit. We are guided by that personal and private intelligence. It steers us and motivates us. It becomes our muse, our dream, and our own intimate reality. Dreams and art transform us into our own conversation, our own individual existence. We are freed from stereotypical labels by reclaiming our own mythic function. Art helps us to do just that. Creativity points the way for us to our own personal freedom. Whether you sculpt, dance, paint or practice some specific task, as long as we believe in what we are doing there will be value in that action. A dear friend of mine once said that as long as we leave the world a little bit better than we found it that would be enough. Those words added to the pathos of Rilke when he wrote "Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further."