In week 2 of the Grzegorz Gwiazda workshop at the Barcelona Academy of Art we explored the walking figure.

We took a fresh approach to a walking figure pose by applying the concepts of abstract dynamic composition that we explored in the previous week.

The “walking man” is an iconic pose used by artists through-out history that can be interpreted on many different levels. For example, it can be:

  • part of a narrative interacting with the base in a way to tell a larger story
  • representative of a psychological or symbolic state
  • simply an exploration of the form or pose

Historic Walking Figure Sculptures

Here are some examples of famous walking figures from through-out the history of art:

  • cast iron sculptures of headless or armless torsos with legs by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz

    Walking Figures, Magdalena Abakanowicz

  • bronze sculpture of walking man figure by sculptor Auguste Rodin

    The Walking Man (L'homme qui marche) by Auguste Rodin

  • sculptor giacometti walking in his studio with his walking man sculptures, 1961 by Henri Cartier-Bresson

    Alberto Giacometti in his Studio

My Process

First, I developed some sketches and made some paper collages to work out where I wanted to go with the walking figure concept. The class was fortunate to have three models at our disposable who were willing to assume the poses we wanted to work on. What a treat to have a live model playing the role of the walking figure!

I explored the idea of incorporating different shapes into the body as a literal comment on the way we burden ourselves with stuff – things we buy, things we hold onto, things we accumulate that serve us no purpose.

The face has a blithe expression as if unaware of the body’s consuming habits.

sculptural maquette in clay of walking figure with one arm out by Ellen Scobie

Walking figure sculpted in clay by Ellen Scobie

This form has so much to explore that I’m working on a series now to elaborate on this concept.

Watch for more updates on work in the studio or check out ellenscobie.com for more sculptures.