Logo: American Artist Chloe Dee Noble

CHINA 2003 International Sculpture Invitational

Art is for Everyone
and art is in everything
(the journey of creating a sculpture)
A paper written by California painter and sculptor
Chloe Dee Noble
Presented to
Sculptors and Essay Invitational
China Changchun International Sculpture
Conference 2003
as an accompaniment to bronze sculpture
"Beautiful Dreamer"
This paper translated from Braille and English into
Chinese, French and Russian
for the Selection Committee,
State Ministry of Culture,
Changchun Municipal People's Government,
China National Guiding Committee for Urban Sculpture Construction,
with the theme of "Friendship, Peace and Spring"
taking place September 6 thru 8, 2003
Changchun, China
Braille transcription provided by Shirley, Blind & Visually Impaired Center of Monterey County, California.
All rights reserved, copyright 2003

Image: Beautiful Dreamer, bronze sculpture

Art is for Everyone
and art is in everything
(the journey of creating a sculpture)

Chloe Dee Noble

All my life I had been a practicing artist - painter and sculptor, with studios in northern and southern California. I became blind in 1996 when a brown recluse spider bit me on the tip of my nose in the middle of the night as I lay sleeping in my bed. My life changed. It became dark and I became very sad.
Suddenly, I was pulled from the full, energetic life of a person who created art on a daily basis to a withdrawn, sad person who was in constant pain -- emotionally and physically -- every day. My coping skills were minimal.
As soon as I recovered somewhat from physical complications -- the spider's venom is designed to shut down your body's organs -- I started to explore my options for living.
Someone told me about the Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Pacific Grove. Several times I called to make an appointment -- but always cancelled. To actually GO would be admitting that I was really BLIND. Somehow, I felt if I didn't acknowledge it, I would wake up one morning fully recovered.
Eventually I went to the Uveitis Clinic at the Proctor Foundation, which is the Eye Research Center for University of California San Francisco. Patients with serious eye problems go there from all over the world. Proctor Foundation is an amazing place. I learned I was not the only person with a problem and compared to many my problems were few.
My spirit began to adjust to this new way of life and I was ready to visit the Blind Center in Pacific Grove.
The first day I met a volunteer named Victoria. Victoria is of Russian descent. That day she shared the experience of her most recent vacation -- riding across the Alaska tundra in a dog sled. I was amazed.
Later that evening, I began to visualize this beautiful dog sled making its way thru the icy cold as it cut a path over snow covered hills -- thru the tall pines. Soon I began to sculpt this vision in my mind and it became a sculpture I plan to cast in acrylic that is clear as ice.
In Braille class several weeks later I learned that Janet -- my instructor -- had lost all of her vision about ten years ago. She returned to school to get a masters degree and work with the blind. In the meantime, she pursued another longtime passion -- that of being a CLOWN. She attended Professional Clown School in Minnesota, graduated and became Monterey Peninsula's "Mop Top".
Janet helped me enroll in several classes at the Blind Center. We met with counselors in an effort to design a program specifically for my needs but my biggest heartbreak was my inability to paint. "Your creativity will find it's way back to you", Janet frequently encourged. She was right.
After attending Proctor Center, San Francisco for several months, special friendships with other patients developed. We got to visit each other in the reception room while waiting our turn to see the doctors. We talked about many things but mostly food and shared recipes.
One day at the clinic, I was anxious to see Tom, another patient I had met. We always had the same appointment date and he was bringing a special recipe. After a long wait I realized Tom was not there. Afraid he was missing his appointment I asked where he was.
"Chloe, he died", the receptionist said.
"Why?". I asked, "What happened to him?"
"He had AIDS. Tom died of AIDS last week. I'm sorry you lost your friend", was the gentle answer.
My heart broke, "I didn't know that."
"Yes", she said, "Many of these beautiful young men in the waiting room have AIDS -- that's why they lose their sight".
I was in total shock. I cried all the way home I din't mean to -- I just couldn't help it.
It was then that I began to wonder if this life journey was leading me to discover some special meaning. Perhaps I was to do something for people with AIDS. What would that be? What could I do?
My art studio had a lot of clay. My Muse led me to unwrap it and put it on the sculpture table. I was overcome with sadness of losing my friend and slowly the clay was transformed into the almost life-size bust of a sleeping man. He had the most beautiful, peaceful face and rested comfortably in a reclining position.
As I sat at the table a magnificent current of energy burned its way from my grieving heart directly thru my fingertips.
When the sculpture was finished, I took the clay to the Monterey Sculpture Center, a wonderful place where I had created sculptures in the past. They made a mold, then it was cast into bronze. The sculpture is 15" x 17" x 9" including the black polished granite base. "Beautiful Dreamer" comes in two finishes. One polished gold, the other brushed silver, both have purple dreadlocks and are mounted on polished black granite.
I designed it to wear a diamond stud earring. The matching earring comes on a Braille Romance Card for the recipient to wear, in memory of a loved one or simply as a prayer for healing. Thru auction, it has become an instrument to raise funds for AIDS research and to benefit the Blind. It will raise more than one million dollars for these two causes, and has touched the hearts of many.
Art is certainly for everyone! And art is in everythng. Many blind people have touched the sculpture to discover it's beauty. Parents who have lost their beautiful children have the sculpture and they wear the matching earring. It brings comfort and joy knowing their purchase dollars are helping others.
During 2001, the sculpture was nominated for the prestigious "Make A Difference Day" Award, an annual day celebrating an occurrence - an event - or a happening - that benefits others. Make A Difference Day is co-sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation, founded in 1990 by President George Bush, Mr. Paul Newman and USA Today Magazine.
Art is for eveyone and in everything because it is all around us, all the time. God is the most magnificient artist. A brief stroll thru a flower garden reveals this each time you smell the delicate fragrance, see the bright colors and sculpted free-form stems as they sway in gentle breeze. Look at the hillsides along the highway as you go for a drive in springtime and witness baby calves standing near their mothers or see lakes being visited by baby ducks.
Everything, everyone, every moment is magnificient unto itself. Life is full of miracles. Miracles are art. Life is art.
You may say, "Yes, but that is such a sad story."
True. But one filled with HOPE and FAITH and LONGING.
to find the answers.
FAITH to keep going.
LONGING to capture art in the spirit so it can nurture the soul.
There really is a reason for everything. There is a time and purpose for everything. When we are unable to see the reason, we have to trust ourselves and our higher power.
This life experience has taught me that the need for love, respect and human dignity never changes.
Whenever I create art, I totally lose myself and at the very same time -- I totally find myself.
ART in the form of personal expression brings each of us to the depths of our innermost selves where we are allowed to tap this energy and bring it forth. It may then be presented as a gift to the hearts and minds of others -- to bless their lives and our own.

- fini -

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