Local sculptor's work on display

Unick's art at Segale Studios in White Deer Plaza

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  • Lawrence Unick's artwork on display at the George Segale Studios Photos by George Segale

  • The sculptor Lawrence Unick

By Amy Shewchuk

— Sculptor Lawrence Unick’s artwork will be on display this Friday, March 16 at 6 pm at George Segale Studios in White Deer Plaza.

Unick, a Sparta resident, met Segale the old-fashioned way, by walking into his studio.

Segale, a photographer and videographer, and also a Sparta local, opened the studio/gallery in November of last year.

“It originally started as a space for people to meet me and see some of my work for family portraits, wedding photography and the like," Segale said. "When I realized how much space I had, I decided to utilize the extra area as a gallery to help local artists showcase their work. We used to have the Drew Christ Gallery here in the Plaza and it was a great asset to the town and community as well as the artists. I’m excited to be able to have the space to do this.”

“I was walking by and noticed a chalkboard sign outside advertising a painter’s work on display," Unick said. "I didn’t know he had artwork in there, I thought it was just a photography studio.” Unick said. “I went in, George and I got to talking and next thing I knew he was at my house and hand-picked 24 sculptures to feature in his gallery.”

“I thought this was great because I used to be able to show my art at the Drew Christ Gallery and also donated lots of sculptures over the past 20 years for the Hilltop School Annual Art Show,” Unick said. “Galleries help promote artists and get them down the road. When I was much younger I used to drag my pieces into New York City where I would sell them at street fairs. I miss and enjoyed doing that, but now that I am older and recently retired it is amazing to be able to fully devote myself to my art and not only showcase it online but also to be able to show it live in a physical gallery again-especially in such a beautiful space.”

Unick started sculpting with metal at the age of 12.

“My uncle was an electrician and he used to save me all the scrap wire pieces," he said. "I would strip off the plastic insulation and mold them into jewelry and figures and give them away to my family and friends. Over the years I accumulated all the equipment necessary for creating bigger and more elaborate sculptures.“

Unick utilizes tools such as Oxyacetylene Torches (gas torches to bend metal and form it), Tig Welders (to join metal pieces together) and Plasma Cutters (machines that can cut steel at a high rate) to create his pieces.

“My pieces are sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious. They reflect anything from nature to the abstract. I get a lot of inspiration from the Cosmos and the Universe, which I’ve always found fascinating and intriguing.”

Unick sai he has over 150 pieces of artwork in his home and on his lawn. He laughed. "You can’t miss my house. One day, a lady on her way to a garage sale saw my sculptures outside. She came up to my door, I invited her in and next thing I knew she ended up buying over $5000 of my artwork.”

Unick retired 4 months ago from his career of 49 years as a manager at a Crystal Semiconductor Growth facility and is now happily sculpting 7 days a week. He is a member of Ridgewood Manor Art Association and the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council. He recently sold 3 pieces to John Seward Johnson of Johnson & Johnson who himself is a prolific sculptor in his own right. Unick has also as won an online abstract art competition where his piece “Wink and a Smile” won an award out of 952 artists from around the world. “Wink and a Smile” will be on display at George Segale Studios starting this Friday along with his other works.

“I absolutely have a passion for this form of art and have so much fun with it. I enjoy meeting a lot of people and also teaching students or other budding artists certain techniques and how to use the tools. If it weren’t for my wife I would starve," he said with a smile. “I just get into my own world when I’m in my workshop.”

“I’m so glad George is bringing back showcasing art to the community,” Unick said. "He’s also just an all-around nice guy.”

Segale plans on featuring an artist every month with the showcase event being the first Friday of the month, but anyone can also view the artwork by stopping by anytime during normal business hours — that is, weekdays 3-8pm and weekends 12-5pm. All of the artwork on display is available for purchase. Four sculptures have already sold this past week.

George Segale Studios is located at 10 White Deer Plaza next to The Lake House Cafe.

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