It is always a fascination learning what materials artists use for creating their inspiration. Allen and Patty Eckman live in South Dakota and since 1987, they have been making life-sized paper sculptures of Native American Indians. This artistry has, so far, netted them a cool $5 million USD.
The Eckmans aren’t using a papier mâché method — there’s no binder — they just inject paper pulp into clay mold and pressurize the slurry to remove all the water.
When they remove the hardened paper from the mold, they have a large blank that they then “sculpt” into paper artifices by adding more detailed paper bits until the sculpture comes alive.
Are paper Indians Art for the Ages?
Or are these paper pieces intentionally created to be less durable and everlasting than marble or hardwood or bronze — and isn’t even rag paper more susceptible to the ravages of time, fire, water and gravity?
Would you prefer a more traditional and longer-lasting material like leather or beading or even feathers instead of paper for these Native American warriors? Or is their beauty only in the fleeting?
Is a paper Indian more or less aesthetically sustainable — if the idea of True Art is to speak to future generations about the truth you know and the wonders you’ve ceased?