NY Spaces Q&A March 2016

Q&A with Sculptor Joe Gitterman
Sculpture artist Joe Gitterman went from a 50-year career in Wall Street to a full-time professional artist.
March 14, 2016
Link to New York Spaces

"Poised 17" by Joe Gitterman.
Joe Gitterman in his studio.
NYS: How did you go from a 50-year career in Wall Street to full-time professional artist? What was the moment you knew you could turn this into a career?

Joe Gitterman: It was a fluke really. Sculpture was my hobby for very many years. My "Aha" moment came in 2011 when I was part of a group exhibit at the Washington Art Assoc. in Connecticut. A local gallery saw one of my pieces and to my great surprise, offered me a show with the talented painter Susan Monserud. I sold a few pieces and the gallery owner recommended I put up a website. I uploaded my work to several art exhibit sites, secured another gallery and two agent representations. Thus I was off and running when my hobby turned into a second career—all in less than 6 months.

NYS: What was the transition like?

JG: Exciting is an understatement. It has changed my life, completely consuming, challenging and rewarding. I never dreamed this would happen

NYS: Did you already have a background in art? What exactly drove you to try sculpture in particular?
"Yin & Yang" by Joe Gitterman is on view in Bushnell Plaza Hartford, CT.
JG: I started being interested in art in the 6th grade. It really came together many years ago while my wife was working nights in the theater. I decided to use my free time to take some night classes to further my interest in art and to discover what I could do. I have always liked working with my hands and I love the idea of translating something from an image in my mind, to an actual tangible piece. I have worked in stone, plaster and wood in the past but metal felt right to me. When we moved to Connecticut full time, we built a studio so I could have a place of my own to sculpt.

NYS: It is very unusual for someone's hobby to turn into an all-consuming new career! What has the experience been like?

JG: Exciting, happily surprising and extremely satisfying. Everyday is different and I like that. I have met some very interesting and supportive people and look forward to meeting many more. The art and design world is very different than the financial world. As far as my work is concerned each commission has presented it's own set of challenges and new experiences depending on a private residential client, hospitality or a public work. Some commissions may allow for more artistic freedom than others, there may be size restrictions, etc. but it all gets worked out in the end. As with any new ventures there is a constant learning curve.
"Healing Knot 1" by Joe Gitterman. On view at New Milford Hospital, CT.
NYS: What is your primary medium? What draws you to working with it?

JG: For many years now my primary medium has been stainless-steel and bronze. I love the challenges of working with a medium that presents itself as sturdy and durable. Mirrored and patinated surfaces intrigue me because of their endless possibilities.

NYS: Who are some of your clients now?

JG: I just installed a wall sculpture for a luxury residential building in Washington DC designed by architecture icon Robert A.M. Stern. I am really thrilled to have one of my pieces be part of a building designed by Mr. Stern. It is my first wall installation and I am proud to say it is the only sculpture in the building. I prefer not to give the names of individuals because of their desire for privacy however I have done commissions for Soho Myriad Art Consulting, JSO Art Associates, Corman Arts, and Cynthia Byrnes Contemporary Art.
"Half Hitch" by Joe Gitterman for Norwegian Cruise Lines.
NYS: Do you ever find there to be any similarities between your work in Wall Street and sculpture?

JG: Well they are completely different worlds and atmospheres but some of the similarities are the adrenaline high I get when something I am working on really clicks and I know it's going to be amazing. In both careers I have been fortunate to meet wonderful people I can call my friends.

NYS: What are you working on now?

JG: I am working on my second wall commission and this one is for a corner office in NYC.

NYS: Where can people see or find your work?

JG: Online people can see my work on my website JoeGittterman.com as well as on ArtandInteriors.net, CormanArts.com, SaatchiArt.com and many more art sites. The complete list is on my website. On social media I can be seen on Instagram and Facebook.

Permanent exhibits open to the public include a sculpture on the grounds of The Governors Mansion in Connecticut, sculptures on the grounds at New Milford and Norwalk Hospitals in Connecticut, seven pieces in The Royal Sonesta Hotel in Houston, TX and if your taking a vacation with Norwegian Cruise Lines Escape ships, you will see two recent large polished bronze sculptures installed in the entrance to the theater.