Having now worked with Bobbi Gibb for the past year in earnest, I can honestly say that she has given me a new perspective on art. Bobbi is only recently become more broadly known for her works of art. But she has created them her entire life. Her sculpture is better known than her paintings and murals, but they all hold tremendous meaning and to own any of her works is effectively to share a part of her. It’s possible that this is not unique to Bobbi, but read on, because I don’t say this lightly.
Let’s start with the Sculpture. She has created mostly 12-15 inch figurines. They are all part of a plan. Her goal – to create several hundred that could be made into life size statues long after her lifetime. I only learned this when I uncovered her dream to create the life size statue of a female runner on the Boston Marathon course. Why hadn’t she ever competed for a commission to do life-size pieces of public art? Why had she not had a representative to market her talents? She felt it was more important to make many small ones than to spend time worried about a few large one – it would be a stronger legacy and cover more ground to have Mother Theresa, Einstein, and Jimmy Carter co-exist in her studio and carry on their collective legacies and hers into future generations.
Then there are paintings. She has never sold an original painting. Why? For one, they are literally part of her and priceless in that regard. She would love, however, to sells her best pieces as limited edition giclee prints that are affordable to many more people and do some mixed media work on them selectively. In this regard, again, she can make art accessible to the wide range of “followers” she has accumulated from her historic run, work in the sciences, and writing. Her art follows her philosophy which she so passionately would like to share with the world.
And finally, there are murals – 18-25 feet long. These amazing murals are her creative “outlet” – giving her complete freedom to go outside the boundaries of any artistic or scientific training. They are a deep dive into her inner vision and curiosity and wildly imaginative – sometimes done outside and even with others pitching in. Here’s a description of one mural (The Kiss: Sea Monsters in Love) that provides some insight:
When I was little, my Nana would hold me on her lap and we’d look out the window at Sandy Bay and she’s tell me of mythical sea serpents and we’d pretend the dark places in the waves were sea serpents swimming. Later when I’d sail and kayak around Cape Ann as a child, I’d look down into the water and imagine what sorts of things might be swimming and lurking there in the cool darkness. Norman’s Woe and Avery’s Ledge were particularly evocative places for such musings. Indeed old Avery, I am told was one of my remote ancestors. At night I would have dreams that Sandy Bay had dried up and there were all sorts of fantastic, brightly colored monsters there on the bottom. To my surprise my Dad said he had the same dreams. So these friendly monsters are in love, male and female being the expressions of that same creative force of the universe, bring new meaning to the kiss, and letting us know that even sea monsters need love…..
A curious Boston Globe writer noted on the back of Bobbi’s murals a complete description of who she was – as she never anticipated showing them in her lifetime.
So this puts me in an interesting place as her art marketing advisor and required some probing and adjustments in our work together. What I can say for sure is that each piece is in fact part of her legacy in any form. For anyone that relates to Bobbi and her philosophy and would like to share in her generous spirit, I can honestly say that every penny she makes selling her art work will be poured back into making the world a better place through her writing, her neuroscientific research, her dedication to the environment and her gift of breaking the barrier to personal growth imposed on her generation. Her legacy has begun during her lifetime, so in that regard we can all be part of it in ours. This is my discovery, simple but poignant, enlightened.