On our most recent campaign shoot, we took an unforgettable trip to Joshua Tree, where we had the privilege of meeting a community of talented creators – the scuplturist Gubby Beck being one of them. Here, we talk to Gubby about her work with steel, the creative process and the women she admires.
After graduating and travelling around the US, what made you want to reside here in Joshua Tree?
My boyfriend took me on a trip out to Joshua Tree and I fell in love with the area! There are rockscapes that look like you’re standing on Mars and trees that look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss novel. I felt like the desert had so much inspiration in the landscape alone, and the space for me to create my larger sculpture installations again.
How do you source your inspiration behind the designs of your sculptures?
Often I’ll walk around my shop and tinker through my found rusty scraps until I find an object that has something to it – whether I see a hidden face within it or see use for a potential base. Other times I’ll start with a sketch or general idea of what I want to create. I have sketchbooks filled with various ideas that can also always evolve, which leaves endless possibilities for my creations.
Can you tell us a bit more about the process of creating your steel sculptures and the work that goes into them?
My work varies so each process is a bit different. I love creating in my own surreal world, building mazes that include recognisable objects but are warped into another dimension. Often, I create images from life, such as landscapes I’ve seen. I also build bodies of work in the abstract realm. These creations stem from experimenting with the found materials, bending and welding the steel into multiple pieces, and creating either flowing organic forms or triangular shapes.
What have been some of your favourite pieces to create?
My favourite pieces to create are either my miniature scenes, my scorpions or my eyes. These three collections are ongoing and ever-evolving, as well as my most recognisable works of art.
How do you prepare yourself to start creating something new?
If I have a commission or planned idea, I sketch out my design first in my sketchbook, then on my welding table. This helps me scale out my design and have me ready for bending steel. I am constantly starting new sculptures, even before finishing others. Sometimes when you step away from something and come back, you see what it really needs.
Who are the women who inspire you?
I’m grateful to have been surrounded by inspiring and powerful women my whole life. Starting with my mother, the real-life superwoman. She’s a strong career woman able to lead a team, while also being a loving mother to her kids at home. Being a first-generation American, I’ve seen how my parents were able to grow and build a life for our family – I strive to be able to do that for my future family. Other inspirations would be Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. I love superhero comic books and she is a strong, powerful hero saving people throughout galaxies, as well as being Brie Larson, an empowering female icon in the real world.
Follow Gubby on her Instagram @gubbybeck.
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