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Self taught marble carver going to Italy to study & fulfill her dream of carving a female figure at same scale as Michelangelo's David.
Self taught marble carver going to Italy to study & fulfill her dream of carving a female figure at same scale as Michelangelo's David.
47 backers pledged $5,766 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$5,766

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My Story

I'm a multi-media artist and a phone call in 2014 from an old friend and fellow artist from New Orleans changed my life trajectory. He remembered my desire to carve stone and offered me some blocks of Italian marble; all I needed to do was pick them up from Georgia and build him a website. Thousands of miles in a truck driven by my supportive parents, a fork lift and over 800 pounds of marble later, I finally found a material that resonated with me. As soon as I touched the stone blocks, everything coalesced.

I had for years dreamt that I wanted to carve a female figure at the same scale of Michelangelo’s David. That dream had seemed impossible. But now working with chisels that I had also bought in New Orleans before the hurricane, I began carving the marble. The learning curve, not to mention the physical exhaustion that ensued, often caused me to question my sanity. But I persevered and a documentary of my story is currently in progress. 

Watch the beginning of my documentary at motionfilmworks.com

My first series of marble sculptures can now be seen at Hilton Asmus Contemporary - hilton-asmus.com This series is of fragmented figurative sculptures that intend to reveal how countless civilizations have risen and fallen to be only reduced to ruins. This endless cycle casts immortality and beauty as transient forms of illusion.

Desire for the Divine - hand carved carrara marble and chinese ink, H 21 x W 18 x D 7.5 inches
Desire for the Divine - hand carved carrara marble and chinese ink, H 21 x W 18 x D 7.5 inches
Feeling the Earth - hand carved statuario carrara marble and chinese ink, H 5.25 x W 14.5 x D 6.5 inches
Feeling the Earth - hand carved statuario carrara marble and chinese ink, H 5.25 x W 14.5 x D 6.5 inches

Why I need your support?

I have accomplished a great deal with no formal training, but this summer I am traveling to Italy for the month of July to work and study at the marble quarries in Carrara and Pietrasanta. These quarries are the very same quarries where Michelangelo found his blocks for the David. They are filled with stone carvers with incredible amounts of knowledge that will help complete my education in stone carving. After I complete my training, my dream is to someday carve a marble female figure at the same scale (over 15 feet tall) of Michelangelo's David. To achieve this goal, I will be studying this summer with masters experienced at carving larger scale sculptures.

What will funding provide?

I am asking for funding for room and board, workshop and studio fees and new chisels. If I have any extra funding, I will use it to buy some blocks of marble to ship back to Chicago, IL. Additionally, any extra funding will fund the filming of my work in Italy for a documentary on my journey as a sculptor that is currently being filmed by Motion Filmworks. Watch the beginning of the documentary at motionfilmworks.com 

Jyl Bonaguro at work on Desire for the Divine - photography courtesy of Simon Rubinstein
Jyl Bonaguro at work on Desire for the Divine - photography courtesy of Simon Rubinstein
View of the marble quarries of Carrara Italy
View of the marble quarries of Carrara Italy

More Snapshots

Here are samples of my drawings, sculptures and photos of me at work in my Chicago studio to give you a better idea of the start to finish process of carving a marble sculpture.

Passage of Time - hand carved carrara marble and chinese ink, H 10.75 x W 26 x D 8 inches
Passage of Time - hand carved carrara marble and chinese ink, H 10.75 x W 26 x D 8 inches
Enduring Passion - Final + Sketch + Uncarved Block - hand carved Georgia White marble and chinese ink, H 21 x W 8 x D 7.5 inches
Enduring Passion - Final + Sketch + Uncarved Block - hand carved Georgia White marble and chinese ink, H 21 x W 8 x D 7.5 inches
Feeling the Earth - Final + Sketch + Uncarved Block - hand carved statuario carrara marble and chinese ink, H 5.25 x W 14.5 x D 6.5 inches
Feeling the Earth - Final + Sketch + Uncarved Block - hand carved statuario carrara marble and chinese ink, H 5.25 x W 14.5 x D 6.5 inches
Jyl Bonaguro at work in the Studio - photography courtesy of Simon Rubinstein
Jyl Bonaguro at work in the Studio - photography courtesy of Simon Rubinstein

Risks and challenges

For me there is no risk to pursuing your dream. The only risk is to not pursue it. Living the dream is the reward. I'm living my dream.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A personal email from me expressing my heartfelt thanks containing 5 digital images of Italy :)

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    5 x 7" print of the marble quarries of Carrara or Italian countryside signed by Jyl Bonaguro

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    8 x 10" print of original drawing or sculpture signed by Jyl Bonaguro + Link to see the Video Documentary Making Of + Pictures of behind the scene

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Choice of three 8 x 10" prints of original drawings or sculptures or Italian countryside signed by Jyl Bonaguro + Link to see the Video Documentary Making Of + Pictures of behind the scene

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Acrylic 16x24" print of Italy. Doner choose from 10 pictures. + Link to see the Video Documentary Making Of + Pictures of behind the scene

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Original charcoal figure drawing up to 18x24 inches signed by Jyl Bonaguro + Personal studio visit + Paperweight size piece of Carrara Marble from Italy + Link to see the Video Making Of + Pictures of behind the scene

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Funding period

- (30 days)