Dan Corbin’s memoir “Kiss of the Art Gods” has been reviewed by the Chico Enterprise Record, calling the book an “intriguing and passionate story” and a “heartfelt mediation on the Art Gods reclaiming a wayward son”.

Chico Enterprise Record: Book review by Dan Barnett, Book Columnist

Cover

Water and fire have marked the life journey of figurative sculptor Dan Corbin. He worked out of a studio in Chico in the ’90s where he began to establish himself as a living artist who could actually make a living from his art. Represented in galleries across the country, Corbin has specialized in creating life-sized sculptures of the female form.

His work is at once industrial and sensual. “An art analogy of my new sculpture style goes as follows: Rodin meets an Australian aboriginal conceptualist, and they began having kids”.

There is no straight line from growing up in the ’50s on a peach orchard in the Yuba City area to becoming a successful studio artist. The intriguing and passionate story is told in “Kiss Of The Art Gods: Memoir Of A Sculptor” ($15.95 in paperback from Barnes & Noble also for Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/1619846594. Corbin’s website (kissoftheartgods.com) features a gallery of his work.

The great flood came in 1955, inundating the ranch, drawing a line between an idyllic family life and the unraveling of that family in the years to come. After the flood, 10-year-old Dan discovered an encyclopedia article on sculpture.

“Looking back now, fifty years later,” he writes, “I believe something mystical happened to me on that day.” “Art,” he adds, “is the nearest thing we have for getting it right and keeping it real”.

That leads to the Art Gods. “I believe these gods reside in our bodies, in our minds, or in our DNA as agents of cultural progress, social bonding, and peaceful change”.

The Art Gods give short shrift to the dilettante, to the puffed-up person who dismisses his mentors. From Reno to Hawaii, San Francisco to Chico, the lesson took a long time to learn. There were brawls, booze, babes; and typhoid fever.

At long last he listened. He saw that firing clay sculptures produced incredibly fragile work, that his art demanded a different medium. The Art Gods smiled: “When the Art Gods think you can carry the torch of social change, only then do they give you their cherished blessing”.

It’s a heartfelt meditation on the Art Gods reclaiming a wayward son.

Biblio File

Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. Send review requests to dbarnett99@me.com. Columns archived at http://dielbee.blogspot.com.

Amazon Description for the Memoir “Kiss of the Art Gods” by Dan Corbin. Release Date May 2nd.

Contemporary figurative sculptors rarely support themselves, but in steps Dan Corbin, breaking all the rules on his way to becoming a successful studio artist. Corbin takes two decades to realize his art dream. He makes the usual sacrifices, travels the world, seeks out art education, finds and loses love. So why is the outcome of his narrative so different? Corbin’s enigmas are revealed in this humor-leveled portrait of a man full of energy, propelled by a distressed childhood, seeking a higher calling, and intent on full redemption. Raised in California, Corbin reinvents himself in a life filled with risk and adventure. An army stint in Germany began his thirst for travel, living in Spain, Santa Barbara, Hawaii, and Berkeley. This enables Corbin to learn more about himself and others, as he cobbles together an eclectic belief system based on mysticism, faith and science, and then attempts to develop an art style capable of expressing his new sense of self. Corbin’s long journey is sometimes hilarious and grueling. He searches inside and out and in every direction for the lost answers but ultimately finds the resolution in plain sight.

Photo of artist Dan Corbin’s sculpture used as a book cover

Photo of artist Dan Corbin’s sculpture used as a book cover

Kiss of the Art Gods is a memoir by the sculptor / author Dan Corbin. The memoir journals a twenty-year struggle to find his way as a figurative sculptor. Michele French reviewed the rich memoir stating “it is a tribute to the buoyancy of the human spirit”. The review is posted on the author’s website kissoftheartgods.net. The book is scheduled to be launched early 2017, more details regarding the launch will be posted on the author’s website. Included is a photo of  the book’s cover.

Please find a pre-release book review by Caroline Grayson of Dan Corbin’s memoir titled “Kiss of the Art Gods”. The memoir journals a 20-year struggle to make it as a figurative sculptor. “The book is an interesting read… and ultimately, simply beautiful”.

 

KISS OF THE ART GODS

A Memoir by Dan Corbin

Book Review by Caroline Grayson, November 2016

Background

A life-changing flood. A failing farm. A controversial war. A struggle for identity. Kiss of the Art Gods is a memoir authored by successful figurative sculptor Dan Corbin. His story is set against the backdrop of the industrial 50’s, followed by the turbulent 60’s and 70’s. Corbin’s book explores his journey from the experiences of childhood up through his success as an artist.

 

Critique

Corbin’s writing reflects his journey. His boyhood was filled with tactile exploration. In his idyllic young days growing up on a farm with two brothers, he had ample opportunity experience with abandon everything from mud pits to peach orchards; and from mechanics to an early fascination with fire. As he grows up and the harsh realities of life invade, his story periodically follows rabbit trails; seemingly unrelated paths and bursts of memory, which later in his story make sense.

Corbin’s youthful stint as a wino was an exercise that served him well later as he learned to contemplate those around him and adjust his behaviors according to what he saw. At times this came across as detachment. Was he an observer of living history or an active participant? This quiet conflict played out when, after serving in the military, he later became a passive participant in war demonstrations.

As he discovered and developed his artistic talents, the circuitous nature of his experiences comes together. The intense observation and tactile exploration of his life became the key to his success.

Before I read Kiss of the Art Gods, I was a fan of this artist. Afterward, I realized I had fallen in love with Danny, the boy. It is clear he is still inside the man.

Conclusion

This book was an interesting read and an inadvertent commentary on a conflicted time in American’s history. Our lives are shaped by our families, our experiences, and the choices we make along the way. Corbin’s story is much like his art; experiential, meandering, at time esoteric and ultimately, simply beautiful.

 

Update: My memoir, Kiss of the Art Gods, is due to be released in May, 2017. I will make an announcement on this webpage and on Facebook prior to the book’s release giving out details.

cover-photo
Dan Corbin Kiss of the Art Gods cover photo