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Unique Memorial Portraits from Alan Clement Sculptures Help Individuals Honor Loved Ones

By S. Mathur

Varied life experiences might be considered essential for an artist's resume and Alan Clement, Owner of the studio, has plenty to draw upon. He says: "I have a colorful background. After my creative group, I moved to NYC, became a corporate spokesman, studied acting and became a lifetime member of the Screen Actors Guild, mostly playing bit parts, part-time."

He was always interested in art, he says, and worked in his father's sign shop as a boy. He took art classes at school, and spent the obligatory years with struggling artists in New York City. This was back in the 1980s, when he was part-time helper to sculptors with studios in Chelsea warehouses. He also ran a creative group of writers and designers, and has won major awards in NY Art Directors competitions.

Clement is primarily a portrait sculptor. Two recent exhibits in Raleigh, The Disciples and Women Through the Ages, illustrate the range of his work. The Disciples is a group of portraits of members of Clement's congregation, inspire by a pastor who felt that each was a disciple, just like the original disciples. Models who volunteered were also asked to write about why they chose to be represented as Peter, Andrew or Mary Magdalene. The second exhibit, featured Eve in the Garden and nine other women through the ages up to 2000.

Clement also does memorial portrait sculptures, working from photographs: "Many of my commissions are memorials honoring a departed, many from out-of-town. I try hard to capture the expression of the individuals that best reflect their characters, the way they would want to be remembered. Families often exchange the piece (of Mother or Dad) at Christmas time, each keeping it their homes for one year."

Memorial sculptures can honor a parent or grandparent, teacher, coach, or philanthropist, and find a place of honor in homes, schools, places of worship, and boardrooms. The sculptures are life-size heads and busts that capture the essence of the person. The finishes range from pure white to faux-bronze.

As well as portraits and memorials, Clement sculptures can be spiritual or free form. Many of these can be purchased at the gallery and at boutique art stores along the East Coast. Clement shares his skill and knowledge through art classes at the Blue Ridge Mountains Art Association, helping students experience the the joy and peace of sculpting.

He is also active in a national caregiving group, that counsels men facing life crises. The common thread linking his two vocations might be listening. In his artist statement, Clement says of his ministry that "We are very much aware that our value as a listener is directly related to the mistakes we've made in our own lives. Or sins. Or happenings."

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