I wound up going to law school, and things have worked out pretty well for me. If I had gone in another direction after college, perhaps I’d be crafting sculptures instead of divorce settlements today. Here’s a glimpse into my short-lived career as an award-winning sculptor.
By James Korman, Family Lawyer
My mother was an artist. She got her degree from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. I apparently inherited some of her artistic talent. When I got to college, it dawned on me that my mother had never given me or signed me up for any art lessons, although she obviously had seen some of my amateurish artistic efforts.
I asked her about it.
I don’t want to insult anybody, but what she replied was that with an art degree you could either teach art or be an artist. She was of the opinion that neither would be very remunerative.
Oh sure, I was the cartoonist for my high school newspaper and yearbook, but that was a long way from fine art.
I Was Interested in Sculpture – and Tri-Delts
In college I majored in history (which I loved). But you know how in your senior year you are just taking, shall we say, less than the maximum in challenging courses, because your grade-point average is well established? I observed that a number of Tri-Delts were taking sculpture class. This was a major attraction. I had dated several of them, and I was interested in the possibility of improving those relationships. (In the end I married a Tri-Delt. What can I say?) So I signed up for sculpture class in my senior year.
The professor himself was a well-known sculptor. Under his tutelage I learned how to sculpt and how to weld. Most people say that I am most attractive when I am wearing a mask that covers my entire face.
Anyway, we were taught to first make a clay model of what we intended to sculpt, and then cast or weld the final work of art. My first sculpture, titled “Prejudice”, was of a man with his hands bound. The professor thought it was okay but told me I should make something bigger. So, I did.
Creating a Sculpture of My Sports Idol, Bill Russell
Once again, I started with a clay model, but this time I welded together my metal sculpture piece, covered it with something called “Keenes cement” (a hard plaster formulation that is primarily used for ornamental work), then lacquered it.
What was it? Well, my sports idol was Bill Russell, Hall of Fame center for the Boston Celtics. I had an action picture of Russell shooting a hook shot. I would look at that photo before each sculpture class, and then do what I could to duplicate it with my sculpture. I didn’t know that it was not plagiarism to use a photo to create a sculpture, so I left the photo in my dorm room and worked from memory.
I knew – everyone knew – that Russell was left-handed. That is what I depicted in my sculpture. It was getting a little confusing for me to look at that photo, try to remember every detail, and then duplicate it in sculpture class. As it turned out at least some of my confusion was because in the particular Russell action photo I had he was shooting right-handed! Oh well. I got it done anyway. Left-handed.
I was in college during the era of protests and societal upheaval. But not on my campus. We had two hippies. Two. In the whole school. Their hippiness was evident from the fact that one recited poetry to trees and bushes, and both dressed in what looked like pajamas with headbands and beads. To my surprise, the two hippies were apparently artistic and were among the judges in the student art show.
How “Hook Shot” Became an Award-Winning Sculpture
I didn’t submit my Bill Russell sculpture, titled “Hook Shot” (I had toyed with other more obtuse titles, like” Ballet of the Titans”, or “Six-foot Nine and a Half”), but my sculpture professor did. Much to my surprise, I won first place in the student art show!
And I won the $50 first prize. In those days, $50 in your wallet made you the wealthiest student on campus.
Anyway, my sculpture went on display in a real grown-up art gallery and was photographed for the year-end Senior Class publication.
But in the end, maybe my Mom was right. I wound up going to law school, and things have worked out pretty well for me. If I had gone in another direction, maybe I could wear pajamas and beads every day. Who knows?
James Korman is a shareholder of Bean, Kinney & Korman. He has more than 40 years of experience in domestic relations and personal injury matters. Jim counsels and represents clients in all aspects of family law with particular focus on complex divorces involving the division of marital assets – including stock options, pension plans, investment, and business interests for high net worth individuals. Aside from art, his other “irrelevant” hobby is collecting political campaign buttons; his collection stands at over 1,000 and counting. www.beankinney.com
The editors at Family Lawyer Magazine want to know what hobbies/interests/causes have you pursued with the same energy you put into your law practice. What keeps you mentally and emotionally happy and healthy in a world that seems to become more stressful by the minute. Tell us about how you became involved with this hobby/interest/cause, what it means to you, and a proudest moment associated with it. If you have pictures to share, we’d love to see them. Please read our Guidelines, then submit your article (and images, if any) to Editors@FamilyLawyerMagazine.com.Published on: