An interview with artist extraordinaire, Carl Fougerousse.
Carl, What led you to become an artist?
I have always been interested in drawing, sculpture and architecture. As I was finishing my undergraduate studies I thought I would attempt to peruse the interest in a more serious way. It was just an experiment that led to the discovery of a calling. I was attracted by the beauty of western art in particular Italian Renaissance painting and felt the best way I could serve the church is by attempting to recover something of what we have lost in the last century. Still trying…
Did you study aesthetics or philosophy? Are you familiar with Dietrich Von Hildebrand?
My undergraduate degree is in philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Among many other things I did study aesthetics and was exposed to the philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand.
Which artists and philosophers inspire you as an artist?
Too many to enumerate: Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Brunelleschi, Abbot Suger, Dante, St. Augustine, St. John the Apostle, John Paul II, John Crosby, C.S Lewis, Ernst Cassirer…
Were you taught in art school whether beauty was objective or subjective?
My graduate studies in art did not focus on this topic specifically. I would say that it was assumed that it was subjective.
Which medium do you prefer?
I work in sculpture, stained glass, painting, and mosaic. I like all of them equally. While I do a lot of decorative work, figurative art is of greatest interest to me and is at the core of my endeavor.
How did you get involved with the restoration of churches? Which organizations, artists, and architects are presently involved in restoring churches today?
Restoration is different from remodeling. I have restored individual artworks, attempting to repair and stabilize from further deterioration without adding anything of a new design. The larger projects I do for churches entail remodeling. In many cases so much has been destroyed or removed there is nothing left to restore.
I have always sought a complete integration of all the visual arts. The Catholic church building is a place of convergence for decorative arts, fine arts, and crafts as they relate to architecture. In some cases these things are indistinguishable one from the next. Since I work in several media, it was a natural step for me to provide an overarching plan to redesign a church interior instead of just one element. I don’t know of any particular organizations or artists renovating churches, but there are several architects including, James McCrery, William Heyer, and Duncan Stroik, who not only design new churches but also do renovations.