Award-winning artist, sculptor, and engineer Jean-Jacques Porret is Swiss-born and self-taught. Art was in Porret’s blood from the day he was born in Switzerland to a family of art and antique collectors. Surrounded by beautiful antiquities, statues, and artwork every day, the seed of art was planted early, and he began carving wood when he was just 6 years old.
His specialty born to create magnificent works with the lost wax technique of casting bronze. Bronze primarily interested him “because it is the most demanding material which is responsive and sweet to the touch.” After acquiring his engineering degree, Porret came to New York, anxious to learn English and build a life on his terms.
There, his career was set into motion, which soon after led him to Chicago. Porret’s thirst for knowledge took him to museums all over the world, absorbing all he could and sharing philosophies with the most prominent artist of the time.
In the beginning, many artists imitate the art that inspired them as they begin to find their own voice. Creativity is at the heart of each person and how that creativity shows up maybe in art, music, and even business. For Porret, the drive to be unique became his challenge as he worked to find his own path in his creations without being influenced by the artists that he was not only inspired by but trained with.
“It is hard not to be influenced. I met many of the great sculptors of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and was influenced by them, but not anymore. I constantly need to be very careful and reject being influenced. I create my own style, my own path, I create out of my imagination.”
Porret’s sculptures of the human form seem to leap out at the viewer. This movement is described by Jean-Jacques as “rhythm in space.” Porret said of his artistic method and vision, “I work without any preconceived idea…(I) continue instinctively, with one shape leading to the next, until the figure is simply rhythm in space.”
Porret continues to evolve as an artist and his work has evolved changing his style casting significantly, creating an epoch in his eras of activity, from sharper to a softer expression of molten metal. All his bronze sculptures possess grace, balance, and fluidity.
Porret muses, “If my approach seems figurative, I do not aim for a reproduction of the human form: what interests me is to transmit an abstract feeling or an idea rather than an image of reality. I use recognizable forms to arouse emotion, to give birth to sensations. I consider myself, in fact, an impressionist.” This vision drives his work and each sculpture imbues depth and intensity.