Originally published in Issue 17 of Create! Magazine.
Betsy Enzensberger sculpts works that create a visceral longing and remembrance of the most nostalgic delights from childhood. The artist uses the familiarity of those sweet treats to help us remember the simplicity, value, and culture of desserts so often associated with positivity and joy.
Enzensberger was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Tulane University in 2001 and is now a Los Angeles-based artist with a studio in Mar Vista. She has shown with galleries domestically in Los Angeles, Miami and New York, and internationally in Hong Kong, London, Stockholm and Byron Bay, Australia. You can find her sculptures in multiple public and private art collections.
Betsy Enzensberger has become quite well known for her realistic, larger-than-life sculptures of dripping, frozen treats. Resin looks like candy. It appears delicious and sweet. The shiny exterior has a wet, melting quality. Her Melting series plays with the desires of everyone’s inner child. The lure of sweet, sticky popsicles artificially instills intense longing. The colorful confections practically beg to be rescued and consumed.
“Resin - I love it. It’s beautiful, sexy, mysterious. It’s also toxic, messy, and annoyingly exhausting to create. However, I enjoy the challenges that resin presents. There’s just something about it I can’t resist. If the process was easy, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
Were you creative as a child? What inspired you to pursue a career as an artist?
Oh yes! As a child, I couldn’t stop creating - it’s all I wanted to do. My mother was an art teacher, so she allowed me to create whatever I wanted and I had access to really cool art supplies. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had won several awards for my art and had been published in various books. This was all really good encouragement for my creative mind.
How did you start making popsicle sculptures? What was your early work like, and how has it evolved?
I didn’t start with popsicles. The first thing I made was melting Ice Cream Sculptures. It had nothing to do with my incessant sweet tooth; rather it was the material itself, the resin that encouraged the “Melting” series. Resin looks syrupy when you’re working with it and looks like candy when it’s set. A friend of mine begged me to make popsicles, since that was her favorite thing. Apparently a lot of other people like popsicles too, because that has been my most popular series thus far.
If you rewind to college, I actually studied abstract painting. Resin art is not something you learn in school. You need to be taught by a master, which is how I learned.
How do you commit to art-making and make sure you spend enough time in the studio?
Hmmm… it doesn’t feel like a commitment or a job. I can’t image not creating. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make shiny, pretty things… and I really love the challenge that resin brings versus the other mediums I’ve worked with over the years. There are so many artists out there that don’t make their own work. What’s the point of that? For me it’s the process that is the more enjoyable than the outcome.
Share a brief version of your daily routine.
Wake at 5:30-6:00am (naturally, of course). Coffee before anything else. Then, straight to the studio. The second I smell the resin, I’m ready to work. There are always different projects happening simultaneously, so I can choose to do whatever suits my current mood.
What has been the most exciting moment for you so far in your art career?
That’s a tough question, because every time I get a new opportunity or create a cool piece, I’m grateful to be able to do what I do. Traveling for art shows is THE BEST because it fulfills my want to travel with my need to create and show my work. So, if I have to pick one, my Solo Show in Hamburg, Germany is probably the most exciting moment thus far. It opened on September 5th and was completely sold out by 9pm that same day.
What do you hope your collectors experience when it comes to your artwork?
Pure and simple, I want them to experience JOY. I found that collectors in cities that have harsh winters tend to really appreciate my work because it reminds them of the joy if summer or the nostalgia of childhood.
What are you currently working on and what's coming up next for you?
What I’m working on is a secret… But I can tell you that I plan to be in Miami for the art fairs in December and Los Angeles for the LA Art Show in February. I will debut some brand new work at both shows. Stay tuned for more:)