German sculptor inspired businessman to use his hands[Episcopal Life] Alex Hallmark was bored. Bored with a job that didn't stimulate him and forced to consider what else interested him.
About eight years ago, Hallmark, of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, left his real estate business and became a sculptor.
"I got bored with the yardstick of success, the measurement in real estate, which is basically money," he said.
He found inspiration in the work of Ernst Barlach, a German sculptor, whose anti-war work was destroyed by the Nazis in World War II. Barlach is said to have died from a broken heart after the loss of his art.
Hallmark realized he did not and could not feel the same way about his job in real estate and began to bring clay to the office to work with. Eventually the time came for him to make a decision between the two.
"If this is what I'm going do [sculpting] I might as well just try," Hallmark recalled feeling.
For his home church, St. Mary-of-the-Hills Episcopal Church, in the diocese of Western North Carolina, he created four pieces depicting different Stations of the Cross and also a large piece for the entrance titled, Annunciation.
The rector of St. Mary's, Richard Charles Lawler, described Hallmark's work as very evocative but not distracting. "They [the sculptures] are striking, but your focus is drawn to the sanctuary, the altar...where it should be," he said.
Lawler said he was most impressed by the way Hallmark was able to augment the humanity of Christ in the Stations of the Cross.
"You really see a man going through some really hard times," he said.
He said the response to Hallmark's work has been overwhelming especially during the summer months when St. Mary's receives an influx of visitors from all over the country.
On a more personal note, Lawler described Hallmark as an unconventional and deeply spiritual man. He went on to say Hallmark was one of the most interesting and kind people he has ever met, quickly adding that Hallmark would "guffaw" at the notion.
"If you ever come to Blowing Rock he's one of the people you want to meet."
Aside from Blowing Rock, Hallmark is known throughout the state for his work.
In Morgantown, he was commissioned, after creating the winning design, to sculpt a World War II memorial, it was so well received that he was asked to sculpt a life-size statue of the late U.S. Senator Sam Irvin, a Morgantown native.
Hallmark prefers to take a more private approach to his work and not be the main focus.
"It's the piece or the person who is observing it that is important," he said.
More on the sculptor is available here.» Respond to this article