Morgan Hallmark, senior art major from Garland, worked mostly in 2D mediums until she signed up for her first sculpture class because her boyfriend was in the class. One year later, she has fallen in love with working with the third dimension and is winning regional awards for her work.
The art department at the public high school Hallmark attended only offered courses in painting and drawing because there wasn’t funding for anything more. When she began to study sculpture she discovered a set of new opportunities in a medium she had never experienced.
She found a long list of materials and possibilities in the physical art.
“It is the third dimension – the form – that sets sculpture apart,” Hallmark said. “I’ve always been interested in form. I had a portrait business in high school. But adding that other dimension is really a challenge and opens up so many options.”
Hallmark wasn’t exposed to the artist life until the 5th grade when she attended a summer camp. With both of her parents working in the field of engineering, she said, she hadn’t been given the opportunity to make much art.
“I ended up getting burned by hot glue while I was there – I still have a tear-drop-shaped scar on my hand,” Hallmark said. “But I was so happy to be there that I just kept working on my project. I was like ‘I just love this so much I want to keep doing it.’ I’ve been doing it ever since then.”
Hallmark entered a piece in the Big Country Art Association show Nov. 5, a region wide show, where she won first place in her category.
“I also entered last year, and I think I got honorable mention, or something,” Hallmark said. “I decided that wasn’t good enough, so I did it again.”
Hallmark entered her piece An Unusual Allegory for Christ (Fossil and Swallows) to compete against students and professors from ACU, Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University. She wasn’t overly confident about her odds, but said she knew she had a chance at placing.
“I was honestly just hoping to get third place so I could get a little money to pay for the bronze,” Hallmark said.
The piece Hallmark entered this year is titled An Unusual Allegory for Christ (Fossil and Swallows). She began work on it this summer as a personal project then continued working on it in her sculpture class this fall. This project came to fruition just in time for the show. It was cast on Thursday, finished on Friday and turned in on Saturday.
“It takes a lot to finish a bronze piece even once it is cast. It took me six or seven hours to get all of the ceramic shell off, and another six or seven hours to grind down the gating,” Hallmark said. “Then it took another two or three hours to do the patina.”
“I chose an extinct animal to represent past life, and the swallows represent new life,” Hallmark said.
The two-foot-tall bronze mastodon molar with two swallows sitting on it weighs almost 50 pounds.
After many ruined shirts and scarred hands since she began her first sculpture project a year ago, Hallmark is hooked. She said the feel of the art and the interactivity of the medium guarantee her return.
“I still have a love of painting, but for me it’s not the main course,” Hallmark said. “Getting messy and working with my hands everyday is more satisfying. Painting is just illusion on a flat surface. That’s just not as much fun.”