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Interview with Sculptor, Guy Bellaver

After his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Mr. Bellaver earned a B.A. in Economics from Saint Vincent College. He has worked as a sculptor full time since 1975. He has pursued graduate studies in art at the master’s level at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and Northern Illinois University, as well as The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He is a current member of Chicago Sculpture International and the International Sculpture Center, and a past member of Chicago Artist’s Coalition, DuPage Art League, Fox Valley Arts Council, Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Texas Society of Sculptors and South Hills Art League.

Mr. Bellaver is one of the Founders of the St Charles Arts Council, a member of the St. Charles Park District’s Sculpture in the Park Committee, and a member of the St. Charles Rotary Club’s Board. He has served as a Commission Member (by appointment) to the City of St. Charles’ Visitors and Cultural Commission, past President of the St. Charles Rotary Club and Foundation, past Chairman of the Downtown St. Charles Partnership’s Public Art Committee and a past member of the Community Unit School District 303 School Board. Mr. Bellaver is an inductee into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame.

Sculpture/Guy J. Bellaver is a Verified Veteran Owned Small Business.

“After I graduated from college, while working as a sales rep for Xerox, I explored my interest in art by pursuing classes in oil painting and sculpture. I found that I wasn’t able to achieve what I wanted with paints, and I really liked sculpting, as I’m a very physical person. So, sculpture immediately became my medium – and I found particular satisfaction in working with stone. The first few “chunks” of limestone and marble that I used to execute those early sculptures were limited by their volume, and I found myself pulling geometrical shapes out of that volume. I worked to combine the organic nature of the stone with the positive and negative spaces created when you cut away stone to reveal the geometry within it.

In the 40 years that I have been a professional sculptor, I have worked in many media – from stone to wood to metal. My work over four decades is eclectic, but shares a theme or style that is both organic and technical. Today, it is a bit less about shapes and more about energy. An evolving interest in alternative materials has led to my most recent work in stainless steel, aluminum, and mixed media (including metal and glass, and painted fiberglass and steel rod). I’ve also begun to explore those media through kinetic work and light.

My sculptures range from “tabletop” to monumental pieces over 18 feet tall. I have always been fascinated by the relationship of positive to negative space – the energy of their interaction, and my art. In fact, the relationship of art to the STEM disciplines has informed my artwork since those very first, extremely geometric stone sculptures.”

CV/Exhibition History

Mr. Bellaver’s work spans many media, including metal, stone, and wood, and mixed media, including metals and glass and fiberglass and steel. His newest work explores these media through kinetics and light. He works in both abstract and representational formats. Below is a listing of selected commissions, shows, and exhibitions. In addition to over 30 pieces of public art, his work is in private collections around the country and in Europe. His entire portfolio may be seen at BellaverStudios.com.

Fox Valley Magazine: How many years were you in the Army?

Guy Bellaver:  Two years

Fox Valley Magazine: When did you first become interested in art?

Guy Bellaver:  When I was young.  I was in 7th grade when I got rheumatic fever and was confined to home.  I entertained myself with paint by numbers and pastels.

Fox Valley Magazine: Why do you think you chose sculpture as your favorite media versus painting?

Guy Bellaver:  After I graduated from college, while working as a sales rep for Xerox, I explored my interest in art by pursuing classes in oil painting and sculpture. I found that I wasn’t able to achieve what I wanted with paints, and I really liked sculpting, as I’m a very physical person. So, sculpture immediately became my medium – and I found particular satisfaction in working with stone.

Fox Valley Magazine: How did your college and graduate studies help shape you as an artist?

Guy Bellaver:  I was an econ major in college, so I didn’t really study art at that time.  I got more experience in the Army (on base at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma) where I was an arts and crafts instructor. After I left Xerox to become an artist and started taking classes at Carnegie Mellon and Pitt, that experience was more directly related to my interest in the arts.

Fox Valley Magazine: When did you receive your first commission?

Guy Bellaver: My first commission was in 1979 for a limestone piece.  After I bought the stone, the commission was cancelled, which taught me a useful lesson about down payments.

Fox Valley Magazine: Who long from concept to finish does it take you to complete a sculpture like “Reflections” or “Ekwabet”?

Guy Bellaver:  I took me six months to sculpt Ēkwabet.  From concept to finish the project took two years.  The entire project is pretty well outlined on the website – Ēkwabet.com.

reflections took much longer because the design was extremely difficult to fabricate (made from stainless steel that was to be highly polished and was full of complex curves) and the process to find a fabricator who could meet our needs took quite a bit of time and research.

Fox Valley Magazine: What are you currently working on?

Guy Bellaver:  We’re talking with some folks in the Pittsburgh area who are starting a public art initiative.

 

Recent Juried and Invitational Competitions/Exhibitions/Shows:
Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, Chicago, IL
Sculpture Walk Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, SD Peoria Sculpture Walk, Peoria, IL
CSI Sculpture Invasion 2015 Exhibition, Koehnline Museum of Art, DesPlaines, IL
Lincoln Park Zoo Sculpture Show – Nature in Motion, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL
Art Gathering: Sculptors Connect Exhibition, Governor’s State University, University Park, IL
Monona Terrace Sculpture Exhibition, Monona Terrace, Madison, WI
Oak Park Sculpture Walk, Oak Park, IL
Shirley & George Wiemer Sculpture Competition/Exhibition, University of Mt. Union, Alliance, OH
Art on the River, Port of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA
Sculptures on the Promenade, Edina Promenade, Edina, MN
Sculpture Tour Salina, Salina, KS
“Avenue of Sculpture Exhibit”/Art Chicago, Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL
SculptureWalk/Orpheum Theater Sculpture Garden, Sioux Falls, SD
Sculpture in the Park, Benson Sculpture Garden, Loveland, CO
Turchin Center for the Arts Rosen Sculpture Competition (Appalachian State U.), Boone, NC
Previous Exhibitions include: 
 Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science, Sioux Falls, SD
Ann Arbor Street Arts Festival, Ann Arbor, MI
Museum of Art/Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Butler Institute of Art, Youngstown, OH,
Lambert Sculpture Fair, Dallas, TX
Westmoreland County Museum of Art, Greensburg, PA
Guest Demonstrator:
Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA.

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