We had the good fortune of connecting with Bridgette Mongeon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bridgette, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Those that know me know that I am a “seasoned” professional. I love being a sculptor and a writer, but though my work is creative, it is still work. Over the last few years, I have been focusing on balance. In fact, I’m thinking about it so much that it is turning into a new book and classes called “The Zen of Business and Carving A Creative and Happy Life.” We have all just come through a pandemic, which was pretty traumatizing, but my business and personal life have had some trials over the last few years. These trials prepared me for this pandemic, and it also forced me to look deep inside to see what made me happy, where my joy was, and how I could cultivate that joy. It has been a marvelous journey, and I’m delighted to put it into a format that others can follow and learn. Without balance, life is overwhelming and just not fun.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Those that know me know that I am a “seasoned” professional. I love being a sculptor and a writer, but though my work is creative, it is still “work.” Over the last few years, I have been focusing on balance. In fact, I’m thinking about it so much that it is turning into a new book and classes called “The Zen of Business and Carving A Creative and Happy Life.” We have all just coming through a pandemic, which was pretty traumatizing, but my business and personal life have had some trials over the last few years. These trials prepared me for this pandemic, and it also forced me to look deep inside to see what made me happy, where my joy was, and how I could cultivate that joy. It has been a marvelous journey, and I’m delighted to put it into a format that others can follow and learn. Without balance, life is overwhelming and just not fun. It is essential to find your life purpose. When I drill mine down to the fundamental elements, I can define it in the following ways. I like developing community. I love to develop community and do it wherever I go. I do it to help and support others. Whether it is the hiking group or those desiring to find the best them, they can be in business or life. I love to help others heal, discover, and find joy. Again, this “life purpose” is the driving force behind a lot of what I do. —I create posthumous sculptures to help families and individuals celebrate life and accomplishments. —The Alice in Wonderland sculpture fulfills so many of the things I love- encouraging literacy, curiosity, adventure, whimsy, and childhood wonder. —I write nonfiction that I pull from my own experiences. When I wrote “3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft: Exploring 3D printing, Scanning, Sculpting, and Milling,” I wrote it because, as a fine artist, I struggled to embrace the digital technology and finding all of the resources needed. I wanted to bridge the gap between fine art and tech. The book documents my findings. It is used in academics, maker spaces and collected in the Museum of Fine Arts- Houston library and the Albright Knox Art Gallery Library. I’m proud that I have bridged the gap. Now, as I finish up, “The Zen of Business and Carving a Creative and Happy Life,” it documents how to overcome struggles in business and your personal life and helps you to find your joy. I’m also working on another book about the Alice in Wonderland sculpture project. —I am having so much fun with the children’s books. I love watching my granddaughter grow and learn. She is learning not just book smarts but emotional intelligence. Finding ways to portray that to her, and with her, in creative stories for children – that is fun. It has moved my heart. Plus, the silliness is infectious. It is coming out in everything that I do. This past year I was commissioned to create a sculpture of director and actress Penny Marshall for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Another commission of a strong woman from which I pulled energy as I was going through a reflective time. To share in that experience with the women, the original players, Penny Marshall’s daughter, and my granddaughter and daughter at the Baseball Hall of Fame was incredible. My granddaughter collected the women’s baseball cards and had a bat signed by them. She learned about what these women did for other women in sports. You have got to love one your job brings these type of things into your life. My recent sculpture projects are Neil Armstrong for Space Center Houston and Russia. My client, Kindness without limits, is still trying to raise the remaining funds for this. Also, the sculpture of Booker T. Washington for Booker T, Washington High School in Houston is temporarliy on hold while they raise the rest of the funds. Covid has slowed some things up. But in the meantime, I’m having fund working on all the other things.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend were coming into town, I would take them to my backyard. It is magical. A fire pit and pond and stream, fairy houses, and more entice visitors. Clients and friends who enter can’t believe that it is in the heart of Houston. I’d also take them to the studio, which is directly behind my home. Many like to see the mess that I’m working on and the latest projects. Of course, then we would have to have a meal at my Alice in Wonderland sculpture “Move One Place On” in Evelyn’s Park. I would most likely pack a lunch as I eat mostly plant-based meals. It is the most coveted dining experience in Texas. I’d also take them to see the 14 foot Eve at Generation Park on the north part of the beltway. We would spend time taking pictures of the sayings of powerful women that are in the pavers. I’d also like to take them to see my Norma Zenteno sculpture, but alas, she is not placed yet because of COVID. If it were not dealing with COVID, I could think of other places I would take them, for example, to hear Harry Shepphard, my adopted dad, play at Rainbow Lodge. And of course, I would book a hiking trip in the back trails of memorial park with the Houston Women’s Hiking group.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people for which to give shout outs. — I’m a very spiritual person, and I recognize that in the term of God. So, I have to thank God for all that he/she is showing me in my life. I live the most incredible and exciting life. I’m so blessed and extremely thankful for that. —All the many viewers of my work who pass along comments. Thank you. I love to hear these, and they inspire me to keep going. — The readers who have purchased my books, and especially those who send comments and reviews. Thanks. You keep me writing. —My publisher at Focal Press, and the agents and publishers that I’m presently courting. Also, those that are about to enter my life affording me to have my new books published. Thanks- you rock. — I have had some incredible clients. Some you could say have been God sent. In particular, one has been very dear to my heart of late—Ryan McCord of McCord development. Our meeting was divinely inspired. The contract came signed the day I was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. The artwork of Eve’s monumental sculpture, in Generation park Houston, came when I was in a reflective space and trying to figure things out and recovering. Women sent powerful sayings from all over the world. Some of these we turned into pavers leading up to the sculpture at Generation Park. The client’s support and timing were answers to prayers; I didn’t even know I was praying. The job regenerated my spirit. I hope it does that for others. — Thank you to the Rubensteins for giving me the opportunity of creating a Wonderland in Houston, Texas. — My family. My granddaughter Issa is a great inspiration. I’m watching her grow up with my art. Now, she and I are working on a series of children’s books that help children understand balance, subconsciousness, and emotions. My daughter and son-in-law are supportive in so many ways. I can’t even begin to list them. My daughter, Christina Sizemore, is so creative I am honored to stand by and watch. Her strength as a woman has inspired me. As she and I are embarking on creating classes on marketing in the arts and small business together, I’m delighted to be co-creating with her. — The Houston Women’s Hiking group. I started it a few years ago to find like-minded women who want to hike safely. I love developing community, and this community is the most uplifting and supportive. Hiking grounds me. In all that they are doing, from hiking incredible places to creating recovery hikes for women trying to get back or find themselves again, these ladies have been so encouraging. — In the same light as the Houston Women’s Hiking group, there are women that I have met and known. (You know who you are.) You keep me grounded and on my path. You enlighten me on your journeys and make it fun.
Youtube: Bridgette Mongeon you tube- http://www.youtube.com/c/BridgetteMongeon. Women Stepping Outside – You Tube. https://youtube.com/channel/UCiUoCUisjhiFcoJJawIFe_A Alice Sculpture You Tube. https://youtube.com/c/AliceSculpture
Other: Classes- https://creativesculpture.com/classes_workshops/ Contributions and Information about: Neil Armstrong Sculpture – http://unitedinspace.com/ Booker T Washington sculpture – https://btwsculpture.wordpress.com/