common / Luxe Living

Drawing from the past, while looking forward

SCOTT SIMMONS


Norman Gitzen sports his witty centaur costume. 
COURTESY PHOTO Norman Gitzen sports his witty centaur costume. COURTESY PHOTO I love Norman Gitzen.

The sculptor always has a kind word and he always pushes the envelope designwise.

Following him on Facebook is one of life’s little pleasures, too, if only because of the posts he shares from Casa Capricorn, the idyllic castle he created for himself west of Lake Worth.

There, he retreats from the cares of the world and creates his sculptures of metal, stone and wood.

I remember a decade or so ago when he was at the center of controversy in Wellington over a monumental mermaid. The 10-foot-tall piece, called “The Siren,” depicted a busty sea lass who was a little too enthusiastic for the tastemakers of Wellington.

When I finally met him, Mr. Gitzen was sporting a necktie with a mermaid motif. Someone commented on it and he casually replied, “I like mermaids.”

That was an understatement, of course, and his work goes beyond mermaids.

He also has the wit to dress as a centaur for Halloween and other special events — he routinely wore the costume to events at Lighthouse ArtCenter in Tequesta and was witty enough to model the metal brassiere he had fashioned for the gallery and art school’s ArtyBras event for breast cancer awareness.

As you’ll see in Amy Woods’ story, Mr. Gitzen also creates architectural elements and decorative items for anyone’s castle. And he often draws on local themes, creating sculptures inspired by sea turtles, stingrays and other aquatic life.

Perhaps I’m drawn to his work because there’s something decidedly old-fashioned in the notion of hand-forged metal and hand-carved wood and stone.

We can’t stay mired in the past, but we can draw on it for inspiration.

If you read Florida Weekly regularly, you no doubt know I love vintage objects.

There’s something so satisfying in using something that has acquired the patina of time as part of a forward-looking design.

It’s even better when the purchase of those vintage objects helps others.

That’s the case with Tree of Life, which sells high-end consignments to support Tree of Life Center, which offers a six-month residential program that provides housing, food, clothing, education and employment for those addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Helping others and gaining knowledge from the past are themes upon which we all can draw, whether designing a castle or a cottage.

It’s up to us to find inspiration where we may. ¦

— Scott Simmons, Editor

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