Bren Sibilsky isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. “I make my living playing with mud,” Sibilsky says.
Sibilsky is a full-time sculptor. Born in Green Bay, Sibilsky went to school at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, where she fell in love with sculpture. After college, she ended up working in commercial art for many years, but eventually grew tired of it. “It was a constant trying to meet somebody else’s expectation,” Sibilsky says.
She decided to make a career change. “This is it. I’m going to go back to what my true passion was, what I wanted to do all along, so I went back to sculpture,” Sibilsky says.
She now runs her own art business out of her studio in Algoma. She sculpts with wood and bronze, but most of her work is done by hand with clay. “Clay would be my favorite material. It’s quick,” Sibilsky says. “It’s tactile, you can put it in right away, and it’s adjustable.”
Sibilsky specializes in realism, creating lifelike sculptures of people and animals. “I think the starting point, for me, is probably the same as most artists. It’s an idea. It’s a story,” Sibilsky says.
For instance, she’s working to create a bust of a Potawatomi tribe member in Hannahville, Michigan. It’s a job that requires a lot of research. “I got to speak with the spiritual leader of the tribe,” Sibilsky says. “He told me that it was important that it come from the heart, to use my heart when creating. That was just perfect because that’s where I like to create from.”
Sibilsky is quick to point out she’s just a messenger. “It really is their story. It’s not my story. In a way, I’m illustrating from my own heart how I felt reading this story,” Sibilsky says.
That’s a responsibility Sibilsky takes very seriously. “We’re all here for a short time really when you look at the big scope of things. I sometimes feel like I’m a recorder more than anything else. I’m just recording what I feel and see in this world.”