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With the eyes and hands of a sculptor, Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Art Anthony Fru­dakis calls art “a reflection of the divine in us.”

“To be inspired you have to have a recep­tivity. And to have a recep­tivity, you have to have humility. You enter into it, saying, ‘I am open.’ ” Fru­dakis said, explaining how to begin a piece of sculpture.

To Fru­dakis, Hillsdale’s sculpture pro­fessor of twenty-two years, sculpting is a per­sonal and intrinsic expe­rience. Learning to sculpt at a young age with his father, a sculpture teacher in Philadelphia, Fru­dakis accom­panied his father to his classes and sculpted miniature cats and fish. During summers, his father gave him a small block of stone so he could sculpt alongside him.

As years passed and Fru­dakis attended high school, he grew pre­oc­cupied by sports and aca­d­emics. He redis­covered his love for sculpting in college at Duke Uni­versity while taking a sculpture class on a whim.

“Without con­sid­ering things in a purely rational manner,” said Fru­dakis, “I decided to pursue sculpting in earnest.”

He left college after one year and returned home to study sculpting with his father.

After a few years of gaining expe­rience and com­piling a port­folio, he attended the Penn­syl­vania Academy of Fine Arts and later earned his masters degree at the Uni­versity of Penn­syl­vania.

Fru­dakis attributes his teaching career to his father’s sys­tematic approach to sculpting and teaching. After learning how to sculpt according to a pro­cedure, he found it simple to teach as well. After just two years of sculpting, Fru­dakis began instructing stu­dents of his own.

His friend, Michael Poli­akoff, taught classics here at Hillsdale and called Fru­dakis when a sculpture pro­fessor position appeared.

“The oppor­tunity came at just the right time,” said Fru­dakis.

Fru­dakis said he enjoys observing his stu­dents and their innate styles.

“I am sharing infor­mation that they can use to give an enhanced expression to their voice,” he said.

Fru­dakis’ stu­dents appre­ciate his unique teaching style.

“He gets to know you and your method of art. He uses a lot of demon­stration,” said junior Eliz­abeth Brady.

Junior Alexandria Mac­Gowen, who is double-majoring in chem­istry and biology, values the balance Fru­dakis’ sculpting class has added to her workload. “I think working in the art department has helped me become a better sci­entist. A lot of time in class is spent looking at just a small part of the model’s face, like the curve of the nose or the angles of the eye socket, and then attempting to copy that onto the piece of work. Science is all about obser­vation,” Mac­Gowen said.

The tactile nature of sculpting has long cap­ti­vated Fru­dakis. Attributing his love for sculpting to his Greek her­itage, he has sought to incor­porate the Greeks’ sense of aes­thetics and under­standing of geometry into more con­tem­porary con­cepts.

Finding “art an actu­al­ization of knowledge,” sophomore Forester McClatchey said. He went on to describe what he has learned from Fru­dakis’ sculpture class.

“You have to have an eye for both archi­tec­tural and human aspects to see the shapes and see the life,” he said.

To Fru­dakis, sculpting is a spir­itual expe­rience.

“Artists are on a spir­itual path. Soon that becomes the most important thing in their lives. Art becomes the vehicle to express the expe­rience you’re having on the spir­itual journey,” Fru­dakis said.

Grate­fully acknowl­edging Pres­ident Larry Arnn for the priv­ilege of sculpting the various his­torical figures dis­played on campus (George Wash­ington, Thomas Jef­ferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan), Fru­dakis noted that although not all com­mis­sions translate to his per­sonal journey, he finds inspi­ration in the lives of the men he sculpts.

“I think truth, goodness and beauty, are reflec­tions of the divine and as I see it in nature, I am inspired to bring that into my work,” said Fru­dakis. “Works can be reminders of the divine. And that is my hope, that people can look at a piece and find a moment of stillness — that the busy mind will find a moment of peace and pause.”

 

                                   

                                                                 mmeyer@hillsdale.edu