We sat down with Kansas City local sculptor, Jacob Burmood, at the installation of his sculpture Plumb Twisted in Liberty, Mo. This installation is the first of a new, annual revolving sculpture program that is funded through the City’s Transient Guest Tax and awarded by the Liberty Arts Commission. Burmood was the first recipient of a $1,000 honorarium for his work, which will be on display for one year. There will be two more installations in 2017, which will be on display through July 2018 when six new sculptures will be installed, all around Liberty’s downtown area.
Tell us more about this piece – what inspired you to create Plumb Twisted?
JB: When I started sculpting Plumb Twisted I was trying to set up the conflict between organic growth, shown in the thorns, and gravity. It’s made of steel, fiberglass, resin and red iron oxide and was first completed in 2015, but any time a sculpture is in my possession I tinker with it. Making changes and additions.
How durable is it?
JB: Incredibly strong – you could stand on it. It’s built to be an outdoor, public art piece.
What is your favorite medium to use?
JB: Bronze. Its workability is amazing and it’s very strong. Lately, I’ve also been using cold cast aluminum for most of my works.
How many sculptures have you made?
JB: Since I completed undergrad – nearly 200. Really I’ve been sculpting since childhood. My fascination started with carving wood I found outside in the yard.
Do you notice your style changing as you grow as an artist?
JB: Yes – Graduate School at the University of Kansas was a big catalyst for change in my work. This piece, Plumb Twisted, expressing conflict between two forces, is unusual for me.
What is your creative process like?
JB: I try to create an interesting composition with surprises. For me, sculpting is like taking individual instruments and creating a symphony. All of the elements and ideas that you have for a piece come together and work together to create something bigger, the complete sculpture.
Do you experience creative blocks?
JB: Yes, of course. The best way to solve them is to give attention to a lagging project. As long as I’m in the studio every day, I find a way to break through the creative blocks by always working.
What is your favorite thing about sculpting?
Sculpting is an active form of meditation. It draws you into the immediate moment.
What is your advice for beginners?
JB: Take a class at a local community college. I’m an adjunct professor at the Johnson County Community College teaching sculpting. These classes are made for everyone, not just those wanting to major in art or sculpture, including those coming in with zero experience.
What do you wish you had known about sculpting before you got started professionally?
JB: Art is more of committing to a lifestyle than starting a career.
What’s the hardest part?
JB: Naming it once the sculpture is complete.
Various works of Burmood’s art can be seen at the Leopold Gallery in Kansas City and Plumb Twisted will be on display in Liberty through June 2018. Artists interested in applying for the remaining 2017 Public Art Sculpture Program honorariums can learn more on the City of Liberty website at www.libertymissouri.gov/ArtGrants.