Artist Q&A – Celeste Roberge


Celeste Roberge



Q: How would you describe the art that you do?

A: I’ve done many different kinds of sculpting. The furniture pieces I make are called stacks. I embed antique furniture into stone walls, creating either a stack, room or space. The furniture piece is kind of like a fossil inside the wall. Prior to that I did something that I call figurative cairns. A cairn is a pile of rocks used as a marker, usually above tree lines in hiking trails. I make cairns into the form of figures. The work is about the intersection of geology and humanity. I sometimes call it geological time and human time. I started working with seaweed about three years ago. I’ve been experimenting with ways of casting algae. Since I was collecting the algae in Nova Scotia, it’s all ocean-based, I decided I would make it in a form of a boat. I’ve been working with kelp and sea lice, then photographing the castings.


Q: What inspires you?

A: The natural world. Right now it’s the algae. I’m fascinated by it, and I want to know everything about it. I like that fact that it’s delicate, and that I don’t know anyone else working with it. Prior to that it was the geological world — how with time passing everything returns to dust. The furniture is a metaphor for that. It will disappear over time, but the rock will stay. In the end, nature always wins.


Q: How would you say you contribute to the community of Gainesville?

A: I’m very committed to my teaching, and I think my students recognize that. I am very willing to share with them all of my professional knowledge and my secrets. There are all these little secrets you have as a sculptor that you wouldn’t share with other sculptors, but I am willing to share them with my students. I really help them with professional development and get them ready for what happens after they graduate. I really care about my students and their learning. Ultimately, that is my community.


Q: How do you feel when you’re engaging in your art? What is going through your head?

A: I feel great. I feel fantastic if I’ve had a good day in the studio. My focus in the studio is like meditation. When you’re actively making something, it’s the same experience of focus and concentration as in meditation, even though it’s active.

It is very fulfilling, calming and stimulating — it makes you want to do more.


Q: Advice to other aspiring/young artists/creative students out there?

A: Work. Go to the studio every day, even if you don’t feel like it. Just go. Even if you sweep the floor or read a book while you’re there. When you are ready to work, at least you’ll already be there. Or else, that moment of inspiration can pass you by. Be patient. It will come.