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Del Mar woman portrays ‘Humanity’ through sculpture

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Maidy Morhous and her “Humanity” sculpture at J Street Park in Encinitas
Brittany Woolsey

A Del Mar sculptor and filmmaker have joined together to bring some “Humanity” to an Encinitas park.

Maidy Morhous’ cylindiner bronze sculpture, titled “Humanity,” was installed at J Street Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, late last year. She created the piece in 2013 after being commissioned by local filmmaker Sue Vicory of Heartland Films, Inc.

Morhous first met Vicory after being interviewed for her Telly award-winning documentary film, “One,” which explores the human experience and how people can be connected.

Morhous recently spoke about “Humanity,” which was inspired by the film. She expects the City of Encinitas to host a dedication for the piece in the coming months.

This Q&A has been shortened for length. For more information, visit www.maidymorhous.com or www.suevicory.com.

Q: What is the story behind this piece?

A: I personally did not come up with it. Sue Vicory is the director of Heartland Films, and she did a film called “One.” She interviewed, probably, 50 people and asked them what their concept of “one” meant to them. It all came back to man striving for the same thing in life. She had this feeling [in 2012] that she had to have a sculpture that went with it. She contacted me and said she wanted to do a sculpture out of bronze that would culminate her ideas on what humanity is. When I was talking to her, I told her I thought it should be the circle of life, so it should be a cylinder. Certain things popped up, like the ideas of the tree of life, the pathway of life and, of course, the different figures of the mother, child, the young hand, the old hand and people reaching toward a heavenly-type deal. ... She originally was taking it back to Kansas, and it did go to Kansas to go in a park. It just never came together. She decided to bring it here because this is her other home.

Q: Was this challenging?

A: Sue had a very precise vision for this piece; most commissions do. They have a vision and they want you to relate to that vision, which is difficult as an artist. If you see my artwork on my website, I’ve pretty much gotten into pop art. I don’t really do human figures too much, but that was back in 2012. In about 2013, I went to Japan and ended up experiencing the tsunami and that great earthquake they had over there. I did three sculptures that were figurative for the Japanese people, and they were donated to the City of Sendai in 2015. So, I was doing figurative kind of off and on. If it applies to my art, if it makes a point or statement, I’ll still use a hand or face but I just do not do the typical figure sitting. I feel that art should push it a little further than that. There has to be a statement, and I think you have to kind of tweak it a little.

Q: What made Encinitas and J Street Park the perfect place for this sculpture?

A: You’ll laugh because [Sue’s] husband’s name is Jay. She said it was just the cherry on top. Sue and her husband love Encinitas. They either rent here or just along the coast in North County. ... She went around and specifically chose this park, where she wanted it and how it was facing.

Q: What was the process like making this piece and how long did it take?

A: What’s funny about that is Sue always says it took us as long as it does to make a child. It took nine months. She had a budget that would allow a certain size. When we decided on the round shape, I went and got Styrofoam and had it cut down the center so I could lay it flat and work both sides then put it together to mesh the lines so you couldn’t see where it transposed from one half to the other. They cast it hollow, but it still weighs a ton. It’s about 100 pounds. It was about May of 2013 when it was done.

Q: When people view ‘Humanity,’ what kind of message are you hoping to convey?

A: You hope it always conveys a message. I think a piece of art is a point of reflection, and I think this whole area is a very calming, tranquil place. Everybody pulls a different part of their life from art. A part of it will impress them with trigger points within their own experiences in life. That’s all you can hope for in art. I always have people asking what I was thinking or meaning when I was working on a piece. I say you shouldn’t ask an artist that because I can tell you what I’m aiming to express, but it’s really how it impacts you. If it doesn’t impact you, then move on. Every artist hopes to impact the viewer in some way.

Q: What is your history with art?

A: I got my degree in the arts, and I thought I would teach. When I was a kid, you became a teacher. That was just the sort of standard thing. I had a mother that was a water-colorist and an oil painter. In college, I decided to get into the arts but I wanted to teach college level. I got my masters of fine arts in sculpture and printmaking at the same time. I have a show in Naples, Italy this year and a couple up in Los Angeles. I just had one at the Oceanside Museum of Art. I have a couple of galleries throughout the United States and have work in Sweden, Japan, Europe and Canada. I’m in it 24/7 now, and I’m loving it.