Chris Petrocci Hershberger
The roots of my family run deep, from the Mennonite farmers in central Kansas to my Italian family in the rolling hills of Southern Italy. Both sides are very proud of who they are and of where they came from. I am reminded of the journey that they took and am grateful of the choices that they made.
My choice, as an artist, was probably not a choice but a gift passed down from both families. There has always been an inward drive within me to create. As a child, I was drawn to and daydreamed about great art and artists. Creativity is an integral part of who I am and has informed the artist I have become. I find that creating in my studio centers me.
I was born in Allentown PA and lived among the row houses of Italian immigrants. We would soon move to Kansas to be closer to my mother’s family. I was very blest with a great high school art teacher, Martha Fitzwater. I went on to attend Bethel College and later after moving back to Pennsylvania I would attend Fleches School of Art in Philadelphia. I have since studied under Lincoln Fox and Eldon Telft, both great sculptors.
Each bronze sculpture starts from an inspiration or emotion that arises up from the inside of me wanting to find expression in an outward form. I can get lost in the magic of creation while I am working on a piece. As long as the original concept is still within, I will keep at it until I feel a sense of release that what was deep inside is now in front of me.
While I have worked with various media in my life, I now say that the oil based clay that I use in the initial sculpting phase of a bronze piece came looking for and found me. The clay sings to me whether as a sculpture from nature or an emerging expression of an emotion. Watching each piece go through its evolution from lump of clay to a finished bronze is so fulfilling. The awe I feel when I see a finished piece continually fills me with gratitude and joy, it reminds me just why I am an artist.