Following the sudden death of her father, Rob, in 2006, Bellefonte artist Talley Fisher took over the suspended sculpting business he had started. With a background in zoology and landscape architecture, she has continued her father’s legacy, creating more than 40 pieces for major clients all around the world and finding her love for innovative sculptures.
“I decided to take on the five outstanding projects that he had not completed when he passed away,” she says. “I set out to complete his sculptures, but as time went on, we kept getting more calls for new artworks and kept getting clients, so I started to create my own sculptures.”
The medium in which Fisher works is the same as her father’s, but her suspended sculpting technique could be considered more fluid and unique. Her biggest challenge is coming up with new and inventive ideas that bring her to a concept she has never previously seen.
Her non-artistic background, including landscape architecture, has actually served her well in designing her unique sculptures.
“Having that design foundation and the skills in being able to speak to an architect and an engineer and being able to read plans, this is all a really big part of the design process,” she says.
The process for creating a suspended sculpture can be extensive. First, Fisher speaks with a client to understand what they want, and she will create a few concepts for them to review. Once she and a client decide on a concept, she will construct a more detailed design. She then works closely with architects and engineers to make sure that the ceiling where the piece will be hung can support the suspended artwork, and from there, she will take the design and create shapes.
Next, she suspends the sculpture in her studio and sends pictures to the client to get their opinions. After review and corrections, the sculpture is anodized, or power-coated. Then it’s time for the sculpture to be installed by a professional rigging company, and Fisher is always on-site for the installation.
Out of the entire process, she loves working with clients and seeing other people’s reactions to her work the most.
“A lot of my clients are hospitals and medical centers, which is a huge benefit to the patients and the people who work there. They find suspended sculptures very uplifting, and I find that really rewarding,” she says. “I also love the excitement of putting [the sculpture] into its new home and watching people interact with it and hearing how people are interpreting it.”
Some of Fisher’s work can be seen in Centre County, including at the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County and Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College.
A current project she is working on is a piece for the MTR Hong Kong Railway Station. She enjoys experimenting with two-dimensional sculpture and using digital programs in the third dimension so she is able to have a 360-degree view of her work. For example, the piece is in two dimensions, but Fisher and MTR Hong Kong are using three-dimensional fly-through digital animations on a computer to properly visualize the suspended work.
When she is not working with her many clients, Fisher likes to create pieces on her own time.
“Most of my inspiration comes from the natural world and from my experiences, wandering around the woods, being outdoors, and traveling,” she says. “Also, looking at architecture from other places around the world and integrating those concepts into my pieces.”
She also continues to be inspired by the memories she carries of her father.
“My father played a significant role in my life, teaching me how to view the world from an artist’s perspective,” she says. “He was extremely fascinated with the natural world, architecture, design, art, and many other things. He had a robust love of life and a way of talking to anyone and everyone that made you feel at east. And he had the best — or, perhaps, — puns!”
Talley Fisher will be displaying two pieces at the State College Framing Company and Gallery on South Atherton Street in June. For more information about Fisher and her work, visit talleyfisher.com.