You may not know the name Linda Klarfeld, but you probably soon will. This prominent Australian sculptor has recently exchanged the bustle of Sydney for the more chilled-out pace of the Gold Coast. Naturally, so naturally we were keen to learn as much as possible about the newest addition to our blooming cultural sculpt-space.
“When I came up to the Gold Coast to visit my parents, I found that people were friendly,” Linda recalls.
“At first, I thought it was strange that people stopped to talk to me or smile at me and I would be impatient. I came in winter and was worried about taking my shoes off in the morning walk on the beach because I thought my feet would freeze on the cold sand. It wasn’t cold!” She smiles.
“This was the Australia I remembered. I decided to move up to the Gold Coast. I prefer to live somewhere where there is cooperation and connection.”
Born in communist-ruled Czechoslovakia, Linda’s artistic bent was discovered at a very early age.
“When I was three years old my painting was exhibited in a national art exhibition of gifted children’s art in Prague Castle,” she recalls.
“Shortly after we escaped communism, and once in Sydney, my parents – despite being penniless immigrants – paid for my art classes.”
Linda felt a particular connection with sculpture.
“I liked sculpture because it was in your space, a part of your reality much more than looking at a painting on the wall,” she explains.
“I liked the permanence of bronze. I was a teenager and like many teenagers I struggled with the idea that we must die. I wanted our individual lives to have meaning… To me, you could live forever in bronze. The people I loved would be remembered 2000 years after they died. For me that was a consolation at the time.”
Linda’s parents continued to support her passion throughout her schooling, until after high school, when Linda decided she wanted to go back to Prague.
“I became an apprentice to well-known sculptors and studied at a stone sculptor’s high school. Then I went to New York and learned the rest from a lady who was a technician on the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.”
Since returning to Australia, Linda has created over 30 public monuments around the country, including a bust of Tony Abbott, whom she described as “almost too attractive.” I can’t quite let that one slide.
“Well yes,” she laughs. “From a sculptor’s perspective, definitely! I look at things from a different angle.”
Moving right along. I wonder which are the favourites of the real life figures she has sculpted, so far.
“Pope John Paul II,” she states without hesitation.
“He had a great energy about him. Kindly face and expression and copious amounts of flowing drapery of his cassock. The statue was 2.2.m tall so it was a challenge. But I have met and sculpted many great people. John Singleton was the most fun because he is very witty, so I spent most of the time sculpting and laughing.
For the uninitiated, the process of creating a bronze can seem unbearably long and arduous, with several months of effort going into the making of even a small piece. Linda avoids fatigue by keeping herself occupied with multiple projects at once.
“I work on more than one piece because it is a very intense process,” she says.
“It feels like I disappear into the work and become blinded by it. By working on something else at the same time, I can put the technical problems and intense emotions aside. Then I come back to the piece with fresh eyes.”
Linda adores sculpting both real people and imaginative pieces, and hopes that her new life on the Gold Coast provides ample opportunity for her to continue with both facets of her work. Ultimately, she seeks to provide with her work the very thing which drove her here in the first place: connection.
“I want people to feel something, be inspired. If my work can connect people and communicate what is basic to human nature, then I am satisfied. If I can bring joy, hope and beauty into the world through my art, even better.”
IMAGE (c) Lamp Photography