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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 28, 2006

Artist-mom takes flight as creature of creativity

By Victoria Gail White
Special to The Advertiser


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Maui Arts & Cultural Center, 1 Cameron Way, Kahului

11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; through June 18

(808) 242-2787

www.mauiarts.org, www.jodiendicott.com

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Two sculptures stand in front of "Five Boars," a 4-by-23-foot mixed-media piece in Jodi Endicott's "Beasts to Birds" exhibit at Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Endicott says she uses animals in her sculptures, paintings and prints as metaphors for deeper issues such as power.

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"Four Birds plus One," mixed media, is in the "Beasts to Birds" show.

Tony Novak-Clifford

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When you're hot you're hot. And right now, Jodi Endicott is hot. The 13 years it's taken her to get to where she is today have included changing careers, becoming a mom, opening an art gallery in Kailua and listening very carefully to her creative muse. As an activist, she's involved in the arts and the art community. For example, she was instrumental in coordinating the First Friday Gallery Walks in downtown Honolulu and Second Sunday Gallery Walks in Kailua.

Her current show, "Beasts to Birds," in conjunction with an exhibition by Udo Noger, is on view at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center until June 18. But just because her new body of sculptures, paintings and prints are on display doesn't mean she's taking a rest.

Endicott has another exhibition scheduled for the end of July at Hawai'i Pacific University, she's finishing a commission for a large sculpture for Kaneohe Ranch, and she's about to celebrate the first anniversary of Kailua's Balcony Gallery, in which she is a partner with Linda Von Geldern and Libby Tomar.

Her work also was recently selected to be included in the next edition of Arthur Williams' "The Sculpture Reference Illustrated."

With a master's degree in fine arts from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, which she completed in 1996, Endicott is known for her humorous yet thought-provoking figurative concrete and bronze sculptures as well as her paintings.

Her work is in the collections of the State Foundation for Culture and the Arts and the City and County of Honolulu as well as private and corporate collections.

Q. What made you decide to leave your career as a marketing director to become an artist?

A. When we moved here in 1988, I worked for a rehabilitation hospital.

One day, with 10 minutes to spare before getting back to work, I decided to take in the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

I walked in there, and it was like an epiphany. I heard this voice saying, "You can do this," and "if you don't do this, you never will." I went back to work and quit my job. Then I went back to school to study sculpture.

Museums have always influenced my life in a huge way. The breakthrough I had in my painting this year came from the (2005) "Japan & Paris" exhibit at the (Honolulu Academy of Arts). I was inspired by Fujita Tsuguharu's work. You know, the day I graduated from college, I knew I made a mistake. I was sick at my graduation because I knew I should have studied art and didn't. But I wasn't secure enough as an artist, so I pursued physical-therapy courses.

Q. What about Tsuguharu's work inspired you?

A. Fujita separates the figure from the background with a fine line, not much. But for me, it was huge. I have been wrestling with my painting for many years now because I would build up the piece like I built a sculpture. But the mistakes are what are getting me to where I need to get to with the work. It's finding itself. The day it happened, everything in the world felt right. It wasn't a big "yippee!" feeling, it was a calm and very strong.

Q. There are so many animals in your paintings and sculptures bulls, boars, rabbits, birds, horses, cats and dogs. What's up with that?

A. In my work, animals are a metaphor. All of them are facing one direction, and there is usually one that is confronting. This is (pointing to a painting) a 23-foot-long painting of five boars that deals with the power of the group and the strength of the individual. What you see in these beasts is power. The horse was something that, as a child, I drew nonstop. I rode horses. The horse, to me, was very powerful and free.

Q. In a few of your larger animal diptych painting, only part of the animal, like the nose, is on the second canvas. Why not put the whole animal on one canvas?

A. If I try to put a subject in one set area, I become very tense and very limited. I feel very claustrophobic. But having other canvases that I can add to even if it's just the nose is wonderful ... it gives me the freedom to make it be what it is supposed to be. I'm not limited.

Q. What made you select concrete as a medium for your sculptures?

A. I was pregnant with my first son when I went back to school, and that forced me to find a medium concrete that I didn't have to be there for hours on end to cast or be around toxic molds. For the most part, it was immediate. If concrete doesn't work out, you take a hammer to it or a grinder and you cut off what you don't like and fix it. To me, that's perfect. I found a mason out of the phone book, and hired him to ... teach me how to mix concrete. I had the armature of a dog sculpture set up, and we built it together. I could see what the possibilities were. It fit my life. I could do a little bit at a time and come back to it. It was very freeing. ... It's like playing in the mud.

Q. You work so fluidly between so many different media. Is that ever distracting to you?

A. You question whether you are focused. Different artists can be identified by their work; I worried that I wouldn't be able to be identified by mine. Then I read about Picasso, and how he would do many different things on the same day a portrait, a cubist piece, ceramics. That is how my mind works; it is all over the place. Art is like my chocolate. It's so wonderful to be able to just play see where it goes, be open. You never know what's going to happen on the canvas or in the sculpture. You have an idea, but until you really get in there and start working, the whole thing can change.