Archetypes: Harry Weber
A conversation with sculptor Harry Weber, a prolific artist whose body of work includes more than 300 pieces. After an artistic life spent producing tens of thousands of sketches, he created his first sculpture in 1977; it was of a dog, at the request of a friend. Since then, he has installed more than 100 public sculptures in 14 different states, the Bahamas and Africa. In 2011, Weber was named National Sports Sculptor of the Year by the United States Sports Academy. His dramatic, fluid and natural sculptures have won major awards at national juried competitions and are featured in private collections across the United States and abroad.
What is your current frame of mind?
When and where are you happiest?
When I’m at the very beginning or very end of a project.
What is your favorite smell?
Horses in a barn.
What is one word that describes you?
What did you eat for breakfast today?
Ezekiel cereal with three kinds of fruit and almond milk.
Which phrase do you most overuse?
What is your most marked characteristic?
A sense of humorÛÓI hope.
What is your greatest weakness?
Good food. And that I can’t spell.
What trait do you most admire in others?
Honesty and a sense of humor.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Impulsiveness of speech.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To be able to do what I do for a livingÛÓ and that’s just a combination of achievement and blind luck.
Which living person do you most admire?
Mary Oliver, the poet.
With which historical figure do you most identify?
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would it would be?
It would have to be a dog. They imbue what should be our perfect natures. They’re not intellectual by any means, and they’re not free of vices, but they have a real ability to live life with all its variety.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t think I have a treasured possession. I have treasured memories, but not possessions.
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is your greatest fear?
Being afraid. So far, I’m not.
On what occasion do you lie?
When it doesn’t count much, and it makes someone feel betterÛÓor it at least doesn’t make them feel any worse.
Who are your favorite writers?
Larry McMurtry, Robertson Davies and Patrick O’Brian.
Which artists do you admire most?
Velazquez, John Singer Sargeant, Bellows and Howard BrodieÛÓI learned more from him than anybody.
What is your favorite hobby?
Where would you like to live?
I like living where I am right now, but I would like to experience living in places like British Columbia and the South of England.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Brian Barry, who was my father-in-law and the closest thing to a dog as anyone could getÛÓhe knew how to live life.
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Depending on my mood, John Cleese or George Bilgere.
What’s something interesting that you just learned?
That the 750,000 casualties of the Civil War would have been equivalent to 7.5 million in today’s world.
What are you most looking forward to?
My next project.
What is one thing you wish would happen?
I wish that willful ignorance and the organizations that promote it would disappear.
What is something you still want to learn?
I want to learn to play the piano better.
What is one thing you want to do before you die?
Go back to the South Seas.
If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?
Write down what you’re feeling right now, because in a few decades, you’ll find it extraordinarily interesting and extremely valuable.
‘Archetypes’ are off-the-cuff interviews with St. Louis’ most inspiring, well-known personalities based on the 19th century Parisian parlor game known as the Proust Questionnaire.
Photo credit: Wesley Law