Thomas Alex Osika
The sculptures of Thomas Osika are in private collections that include: Unilever Inc. Lever House NYC, Yale University Art Gallery, Apple Inc. Private Collection, Bridgeport Hospital and the Charles B. Benenson Sculpture Garden.
I apprenticed to international sculptor Frederick Shrady for many years, which gave me an invaluable knowledge of the process of sculpture but also the spirit behind creating a great work of art. I am also forever grateful to Charles Benenson who believed in me and commissioned several large bronze sculptures for his private collection when I was still far from being an established artist. I vividly recall showing him pictures of my work under the gaze of his three late Picasso paintings.
Much of my sculpture is carved in wood when exploring the initial idea. These carvings are then used as a basis for enlargement into either bronze or stone. The actual process of creating a work is often a struggle, not only with the materials but often the intense internal pressure in trying to to create an ideal relationship of shape balance and form. Many pieces are never realized or I destroy them in this quest. Yet that is also part of the process and journey to get to the point where I consider a sculpture successful. Somebody asked me recently to describe in just one sentence; What is my goal in creating a work of art? What immediately came to mind and maybe the best way for me to express it is: “To provide a tangible object to allow us to dream.”
My first memory of sculpting was when I was about 5 years old and used my dad’s wood chisel and a little hammer to carve scenes on bricks. I sat on the curb trying to sell them for 5 cents each and quickly found that lemonade was more a popular commodity! I also grew up splitting wood and that’s probably why it is one of my favorite sculptural mediums. My dad wasn’t an artist but we constantly cut and split wood to heat our home. It was all done with hammers, axes and wedges and I enjoyed all of it; The unique smell of each type of wood, the grain and the challenge of the process. I sculpted much of my first works in clay and thought a lot about the whole additive vs subtraction methods of sculpting and eventually found carving was a better method for me. When I could eventually afford to cast one of my pieces in bronze, I found it to be the perfect medium to enlarge my small wood carvings into towering figures enriched with their own sense of presence. Bronze has a rich warm surface and there is a primal creative force involved in the process of pouring the molten metal. Stone is also a beautiful material and I find some sculptures may simply just look better in stone than bronze.