October 15, 2018

Sculpting Through Life

Brian Zimmerman’s gift of drawing was first noticed in the second grade. He drew pictures of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington based on pictures in the dictionary. He said he could lose himself in art.

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Brian Zimmerman, Photo by Sam Masterson

“It wasn’t like other subjects,” Zimmerman said. “I was able to spend enormous amounts of time on it and really dig into it.”

Zimmerman is a new assistant professor in the art department at Webster University. He is teaching sculpture art.

Zimmerman and his wife moved to St. Louis from Las Vegas three weeks ago. Though art is Zimmerman’s passion, he said he didn’t originally know what he wanted to pursue.

“I was always told that art could be a hobby but that I would need to find something else to pay the bills,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he wasn’t satisfied with that answer. He thought about what he wanted to do and realized art was the only thing that kept his attention.

He attended the University of North Texas for one semester but didn’t like the large size of the school. Zimmerman then attended Brookhaven College, a community college in Dallas County, for two years.

“I was really skeptical about the quality of a community college, but the instructors there were amazing,” Zimmerman said.

After finishing school at the Kansas City Art Institute, he slowly drifted away from painting and focused more on sculpting. He obtained his master of fine arts in sculpture at the University of California, San Diego.

Zimmerman said he pulls from the experiences of his wife who is studying clinical nutrition. Her work influenced his latest creation, “Greasing the Skids,” which is being shown at the Clark County Government Center, a gallery in Las Vegas. The creation is made up of 60 chairs, standing 16 ft .tall.

“It’s based on research my wife is doing on how our bodies have changed due to the food we eat,” Zimmerman said. “It also references a mushroom-cloud-like atomic bomb. So, it’s synonymous with Vegas.”

After the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, Las Vegas grew into a popular destination for tourists wanting to see the large mushroom clouds at the nearby testing site.

Zimmerman said he hopes to encourage his students to create art that is relatable to others and not only themselves.

“I just want my students to push communication through their work,” Zimmerman said.

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