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Meet Bridgette Mongeon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bridgette Mongeon.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Bridgette. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
From the earliest age, I wanted to be an artist, in fact, my first commission was the hall bulletin board in kindergarten. As a teenager, the written word was another love. Some creative people are gifted in multiple ways or have love for more than one thing. At first, this was a struggle for me as a youth and young adult. You feel compelled to choose and sacrifice one for the other, but instead embracing both muses became my goal. Though they vie for my attention, I learned to work them one against the other with great success and an incredible amount of enjoyment. Seeing this duality in myself makes it essential for me to encourage others to embrace their entire creative potential.

Writing and sculpting are my loves. However, the entire world brings out my curious nature. Learning that not everyone was not inherently curious or compelled to teach themselves, shocked me. I am self-taught in many disciplines, and when something gets ahold of me, I will study and research it until tantalizing revelation and fulfilled exhaustion. My favorite studies are on creativity, the brain, business, and marketing. I’m a grandmother, so I’m finding my old passions reemerged from when my daughter was little. These desires are the emotional health of children, learning styles, encouraging investigation, and imagination, meditation, and play. At this time in my life, especially with my new book that I am writing titled “The Zen of Business and Carving a Creative Life,” I guess I can say that right now I’m my most concentrated study.

A few years ago, I found a school that honored the self-motivated, creative thinking mind and used the resources at Goddard College in Vermont to complete a graduate degree. A graduate degree is not necessary for what I do, but it enabled me to design a study and a degree program in a subject that, up to that point, had never been created. It was a dual degree. One was in creative writing, and another was in fine art and 3D technology.

In 2015, that college research, combined with new research and a goal to find the best of the best artists around the world turned into a book “3D Technology In Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D Printing, Scanning, Sculpting and Milling.” It was a number one new release on Amazon, and is used in academia, and maker spaces and is now a permanent part of the Albright Knox Art Gallery Library and the Hirsch Library in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

I have had a foot in both technology and fine art for a while. The two, for a long time, were not accepted, but I have proven, with the book and the examples of the incredible art, that it is a good marriage.

Many doors have been opened to me because of this book. Receiving the accolade of 19 of 30 most influential women in 3D printing a few years back was unexpected. I’m honored to be the keynote speaker at the Texas Art Educators Association (TAEA) conference at Moody Gardens this November. My topic of conversation at (TAEA) will be about STEAM. STEAM is based on the educational initiative focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) but adds an essential Art component that helps to create a dialogue, explore, and present, while encouraging critical thinking. I have been introducing adults and children to the features of STEAM for years through such places as Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Math put on by American Association of University Women, 3DCAMP Houston, 3D Printing World Expo, University presentations, workshops and more.

I use a combination of digital and traditional sculpture in my own Houston art studio. In the creating of ‘Move One Place On,’ a monumental sculpture of Alice In Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea party, we used this art and technology combination in spades, or should we say ‘hearts.’ You could say that Alice and her friends grew big and small in my studio, not with elixirs and mushrooms, but with technology. ‘Move One Place On’ is at the foundry, and the 10-foot table and very large characters will be installed in Evelyn’s Park in Bellaire, Texas in early 2018. Come by; you may just find me having lunch at the most fanciful dining experience in Texas. A new book is in the works on the art and technology used in the creation of this sculpture.

Hiding 150 elements in the bronze in honor of the 150th anniversary of the engaging story of Alice in Wonderland, was great fun. The thing I love best about this work of art is the educational element, both with STEAM education and the literature. It would be great to receive more of these types of commissions in the future. There is a Wonderland Detective Series and free downloadable detective books where people can document their findings. The intrigue of finding the elements is not just for children but is enjoyed by adults and families as well. I’ll be working on a series of YouTube videos that will help individuals learn about the hidden items as well as the literature and the elements of STEAM. I’m also creating a curriculum that parents and traditional education and homeschools can use.

The future technology with the Alice project is also fascinating. Smart Geometrics digitally scanned each of the clay pieces in my studio. Scanning art was an intriguing opportunity for Smart Geometrics who usually creates 3D scans of such things as oil refineries. I’ll be reducing these scans, working on them on the computer, and collaborating with 3DSYSTEMS to recreate the sculptures in 3D printed miniatures—exact replicas of the monumental sculpture, but as a small limited-edition bronze.

The interaction of education and fine art really delights me. I’m a perpetual documenter and will document my process online for most of my commissions for many to see. It is kind of like being in the studio watching over the artist’s shoulder. This documentation also allows me to share the history or research involved in sculpture.

Self-evaluation has taught me that I get a rush out of helping others achieve their dreams. Helping other people with their passion and desire motivates me. Knowing they can reach great heights and giving them the proper tools and helping them to get past their negative thinking to achieve their heart’s desire, is a great reward.

I help as many as I can by offering internships in the studio, providing workshop and recently with a mentorship and creative coaching done in person or online.

As a commissioned sculptor, I get paid before I even begin creating the art. It is unusual as many artists are studio artists, creating what their heart desires and then selling it through shows and galleries. Though many know me for the big pieces like the Prairie View Panther or the Grambling State University Tiger, my favorite subject to sculpt is children. One area of my fine art that has been dear to me is posthumous sculpture. I create likenesses of deceased loved ones for prayer gardens and cemeteries. In doing this, families share the lives of their loved one. Many times, I’m helping them to grieve, in the end, we are using the art to celebrate life. I’m truly blessed to do this for a living.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The saying, “You must pay your dues.” came up quite often at the beginning of my career. Being an artist and writer who made a living creating art and a single mom was a huge challenge. My daughter and I discussed this a few years back. I wanted to be the “Kool-aid” mom where everyone came and played. But that was limited to what funds were available. “extras” were out. But my daughter has told me it taught her a lot. I exposed her to so many creative things, and it taught her that you could reach your dreams if you focus and work at it.

She also learned how to barter, and be resourceful. We expected miracles and they always showed up. A lot of this I’m writing about in “The Zen and Business and Carving a Creative Life,” so it is quite fresh for me. It is important to remember that obstacles often are often the best opportunities Even though it was, at times “interesting,” it was an incredible adventure, and now my daughter works for herself and does not remember those experiences as a negative. It has become a part her strength and belief in herself.

Many things were learned on this journey even though it was, at times, a difficult one. It made me stronger. Each new thing in life brings challenges. That is why there is a desire in me now to mentor and coach others. There is so much to share. Sometimes you just need someone who understands what you desire, is in your corner and can hold you accountable.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As a sculptor, I’m known for being able to capture more than a likeness but the essence of an individual. I think people see me as sensitive. As an artist, I’m the creative one that is a tech nerd, embracing fine art. As a writer, speaker and mentor I hope my books and experiences encourage others to be like Alice. To be curious, explore and permit themselves to be a bit silly while asking lots of questions. Even if they feel like the Red Queen is shouting “Off with her head” one can find the Zen in the experience. I like to think that my mentoring helps people get through that.

I’m delighted how over the years my work and my many different passions have all come together to make a career and an incredible life. Sometimes you don’t get to see that until you back away. It is kind of like looking at a tapestry up close. You can see all the threads and their exciting color, but until you back up, you can’t take in the entire picture.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think it is essential to have tenacity. It is important to help as many people as you can on your journey. I believe being able to stay focused and have a passion while being sensitive and allowing space for outside influences is also necessary. And as I am writing about the Zen of business, I would say it is essential to love and be content where you are, and be ready and expect to receive more. Art and success are great, but it is also important to know balance.

Pricing:

  • Creative Mentoring and Coaching—$75 – $100 an hour- Skype or phone

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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