Hubert Barichievy’s Pop Busts

INTERVIEWED BY Lindi Brownell Meiring

After spotting Cape Town-based artist Hubert Barichievy’s little pop bust sculptures at his recent exhibition at 91 Loop Street in Cape Town, we got in touch to find out more about these colourful creations.

When did you start making pop busts?

I started sculpting the first of the pop busts around August 2013.

How do you choose which icons to create?

The choice of icons or heroes was not an easy task. I started with Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí – as an artist I thought the best way for me would be to start with artists. There were a few that had to be in the series as popular culture figures, drawing from Andy Warhol’s famous silkscreen portraits. Some were learned through conversation and some of them were added to give an edge to the series. Most of all, the icons where chosen for their personal attributes, their certain traits, their stories, their individualism. If I look at Bruce Lee, I see dedication and practice, Bill Murray reminds me not to take life so seriously, and if I see Gandhi, I think, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. All the busts have a certain attribute that I can use in my toolbox of life.

What are the busts made of and how long do they take to make from start to finish?

The busts start as a lump of Plasticine. I hand sculpt the busts then create a mould and cast the bust with a polyurethane-based product. I generally work on two or three busts at a time. The reason for this is when I get stuck or battle with a bust I move over to a different one and sometimes solve the problem.

The time spent on a bust is hard to tell, as I do other work and other sculptures during the day and work on the busts when I have the time. I think my quickest one was around 75 hours, the longest one, I shudder to think. I spent enough time on one to build a small house from scratch, including planting the grass and painting the walls.

Which one of your busts is your favourite, and why?

That is a tricky question. My favourite changes, as it depends what I’m personally focusing on. My favourite currently would be Sir David Attenborough. I am trying to find a way where I can further my skills as a sculptor, yet give something back to communities. In the spirit of Attenborough, I feel I need to be more involved in protecting or creating awareness of our beautiful world, specifically South Africa.

Sir David Attenborough

What’s next for you?

I have been blessed with the pop busts and will definitely revisit the series in future, but I feel I need to build on my skills as a sculptor. I have two projects that I am currently working on. I am building up a body of work for my first solo exhibition – these works will be completely different from the bust series, but will be drawing on the skills and lessons I learned. I am also working on a community-based project that is still in its early stages of conception.

To view more of Hubert’s work, visit his website or keep up to date via Facebook.