TP: How has your craftsmanship evolved over the twenty years you have been sculpting?
JM: One of my goals is to constantly improve the craftsmanship of the pieces, working with the wood in such a way that not only is the finished product smooth and visually appealing but that people appreciate the pose and how it was done.
TP: Can you talk about the dynamic characteristics of your pieces?
JM: When I started, I had a vision of what I wanted to create, and it took a long time to build the skills that enabled me to achieve that. Right now what I’m really enjoying is drapery and clothes. I love creating movement with flowing capes. You may not think that you can get a block of wood or a board and make it into something that looks wavy.
TP: As your craftsmanship continues to advance, do you expect your art to look more complicated or simple?
JM: Making a sculpture appear simple can actually be harder than making it look complicated. I think that’s true of painting too. If you’re looking to produce a realistic sculpture, you can make a successful piece regardless of the pose, and you can add intrigue whether the subject is fairly inert or in the midst of action. A true craftsperson will be able to bring forth a solid piece, regardless. For instance, you can look at a painting that is just a street with a house, but you think, “wow, that is wonderful,” even if there is not a lot going on, because it’s so well done.
TP: What are your thoughts about art as refuge?
JM: Saturday mornings are one of my most guarded times. At the end of the week, there’s often a lot going on in my head and lots of internal stuff. If there’s something that’s bugging me, or if something doesn’t make sense, or if there’s something to consider about the future, I can just lose myself in focusing on a piece of art. It’s like a reset button in a way because it involves all my senses. It involves focus. It’s also about diving into a process where I have to use my entire brain.
TP: Can you describe your process more deeply?
JM: I’m able to shut out some of the things I’d like not to think about. Figure sculpture is a cruel master. You’ve got to get it right to make it look like something. It’s really a tunnel vision kind of experience that allows me to reset myself and recover from the week and any uncertainty or anxiety or wondering how things are going to work out. With my art, I can control what’s in front of me; I can shape it; I can make decisions.
TP: Does making art help you figure out life?
JM: I think it helps put things in their proper place. Oftentimes, our worries take front and center, or anxieties command more energy than they should. The temptation, for me, is to constantly work on those things and go over them again and again, trying to figure them out. The art process and getting outside to do something physical allows me to focus on something else, leaving those other things where they belong. It helps me to restore balance. And sometimes, answers just pop up, or things work themselves out.
Note from Teresa Piccari: Over the past year and a half, I have worked with sculptor and painter Jon Moro of Rockport as an agent and publicist, assisting him on several events. I have supported several journalists who have written about him, but until now, I have not interviewed Jon. It was fun to be in my normal journalist mode for this piece, and to learn more about my client and friend.
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Image at top: Jon Moro, Robin Hood.