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Jesse Nusbaum, Artist

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You are on Jesse Nusbaum, Artist, Page 1





We received this email from Jesse in November of 2012, prompting us to put together an alligator tooth order for his project:

"I am a college student at Muhlenberg College and I major in art. My medium is clay sculpture and I am currently sculpting a large alligator head. I was wondering if you could help me...the head measures about 24 inches which in equivalence would be around a 15 footer if I did the math correctly.  Is there any way you could help put together a set of teeth that would accommodate a 15 foot alligator? i will pay any fair price for it. there is breathing room as my teacher probably doesn't know the exact measurements for the teeth. If you can help in any way please let me know asap. thank you for your time."

Here is the follow-up:  "I received an A and was asked to join a continuation of the class in which only two students at the university are selected. I was really happy.  Just thought I would pass along a couple pictures of my finished sculpture. I ended up spending the money and buying some teeth from you. Thank you very much for all your help and getting back to me so quickly. Hope you enjoy my half alligator/half crocodile creation!"

Partly completed Croc/gator head:

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Completed Gator head in gallery:

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In an email to us dated 3/13/13, Report from Jesse  " I'm currently working on a gorilla head and  I have a "fierce animal" theme that I will display at the end of this year in an art showing and the gator head will be my main piece.  

The gorilla head almost was ruined but 8 hours of careful doctoring brought him back to life (I will also attach pic of what it looked like right out of the kiln, almost had anxiety attack lol)

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Finished Gorilla head in gallery

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I finished the lion head piece last year (2012), here it is in the process of being completed:

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Finished lion head in gallery

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UPDATE 5/15/13

Hey Glenn,

Attached are the finished pieces, along with a few photos taken during the exhibition which was held last Monday, May 1, 2013 (see "finished" pieces above).   My pieces are on display until the 24th of May in the Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College. This was my senior thesis exhibition. The clay had to be fired in a kiln, which was a long process. We had to fluctuate the temperatures according to the size and dimensions of my pieces on a day to day basis. 
Each piece weighs around 200 pounds, however, the gorilla head weighed around 400.
After each piece was fired and cleaned, I primed them with black spray paint, then painted over with a special copper paint, which had actual copper in it.  I used a Patina Spray after the second coat of copper. Since the paint has real copper in it, the spray oxidizes, literally before your eyes, and you begin to see a slight color change to green in certain areas. This gave it that old aged, weathered copper look.  I was aiming for an archaic type feel, as if these sculptures had been rediscovered from ancient times.
I had to hire movers to come take measurements of the sculptures and are in the process of making custom crates to safely bring them all back home to Connecticut. So far, my plan is to display them in one of the rooms in my house, or display them in a local gallery, (still not sure what exactly i want to do with them)
I plan on studying for the LSAT'S this summer then taking them early in the fall and apply to law school accordingly.  My future plans are to become a lawyer, however, art will always be a BIG part of my life. I envision having a studio where I can continue my work for a long time to come.
Thank you so much again Glenn, you did not have to go out of your way to help me and encourage me with your kind words, I really appreciated that.


Jesse - 

Like I have said in the past, I have supported many of you as well as old folks that I met that had a talent, but no direction. What has always amazed me is that those that can teach, can't do much else, as the business world is too foreign to them, and therefore they have no insight to direct you other than say "someday, somebody will cross your path that will lead you in the right direction to what it is that you would like to do. Until then, remember this is art, and you really need to be in the top 2 1/2% that make it in the arts. This is fact and the reality of the talent world." Bullshit, I don't and have never bought that line  for a minute.
I am glad to see that your dad made the suggestion that he did, and to now see the end result of that decision. Now, parents always want the best for their children and will tell you as I am sure your dad has already, that "this is art and you are talented, but let's be practical, you can't make a living at it. So, stay in school and get a real job and play with your clay on the week ends."
I couldn't disagree more on this subject, as I have seen people that later in life they returned to their art when they were retired and were very successful, and regretted the loss of time from what they really wanted to do.  Such a waste of almost a lifetime.
Live your life without regrets, and do what will make you happy NOW. You will see that things will work out for you in the long run. You and you alone need to take control of your destiny, and not anyone else.
The main reason I am spending the energy on you at this point is that time here is at a critical junction in your life.  You have already spent the summer studying for a test to see if you would be able to attend law school, when you have to acknowledge that this is not your first choice. So, whose dream are your trying to fulfill ?  Think about that for awhile. Too many young people have made decisions based on what their parents want for them, instead of what they want to do.
If your family is your financial support for school, then why not suggest that they spend those same dollars for the 4-6 years it would take for you to pass the bar exam and get a job, on you to establishing a studio and possible teaching others your art. Make the investment in you rather than a school program that is not going to make you happy. This is just food for thought.  Seriously, take the time to talk this over with your folks, if this is where the money for schooling is coming from.
Don't let foolish pride get in the way of your future. If nothing else, then treat this as a loan from your family with an interest payback. There are a lot of options here for you to think about.
I do not consider this time I have taken to be a waste of my time, nor do I have anything else at the moment that is more important to me than to give you this world of experience that I have gained over the past 49 years since I graduated from high school.
While speaking with Nnamdi yesterday, we both agreed, that you will only be happy in life if you follow you God-given talents rather than some else's dreams.
I am sorry that your professors let you down, but many of them really wish that they had made other decisions in their life, but just didn't have what it took to work in the real world.
I have all the respect in the world for teachers. My first wife was a German teacher for 18 years before she died from MS. My second wife graduated from high school First in her class, but because of her family religion, was never able to attend college.  Such a terrible loss of talent, as she could have been whatever she wanted, as she had the skills required for true success. It just took her 26 years to really find a place where her talents made all the difference in the world. WHERE ON EARTH was her creation, and I give her full credit for the success that she has made with our business. All I gave her was the funds, a computer, several programs and freedom to move us forward. She is my best success story that I can share with you.  The web site is her total creation, now numbering some 230 pages and growing.
Her success story is an example of what can happen to a person that has talent and the necessary support from her family standing behind her all the way.
Some 24 years later we met, she helped take care of my wife, and we got married a year after my wife passed.  At that time my little business was worth about $600,000. Now 12 years later, we have grown to a net worth of between $7-10 million under her direction. I turned complete control of the company to her about 6 years ago, and have never looked back with any regrets, other than I should have done it 6 years before that.
Don't be at a loss for words, become a man of action.  If a total stranger has taken this much time to encourage you to follow your dreams ask yourself WHY? Then follow your dreams, not some one else's !
Good luck with the show this week end, and remember to get plenty of pictures of the show and you with you display.


P.S.  I contacted  Nnamdi Okonkwo about an hour ago as to how he did on his project of fund raising money on Kickstarter.  He told me he was only looking for some $17,000 and instead got $29,000.
He thinks that in about another year or two he will bring another project to them for funds.  People really liked his art work and they supported him with the advancement of his art.
I spoke to him about your talent and he invited you to call him directly on his cell number.  Please take him up on his offer.
Please don't let this opportunity slip away from you.  Having contacts in the real art world will be the best following that you can have. This guy is a real mover and shaker in the art world. He has done a lot of terrific work, and has sold stuff to the MONEY people that count. He could be a real door opener for you.



Glenn and Heidi,

I cannot thank you two enough for everything you have done for me. My heart jumped when I viewed your cool customer page, I haven't been this excited in a long time! Heidi did a really great job, she put the biggest smile on my face! You both have been so kind and encouraging. Words cannot express how grateful I am that you took time out of your busy schedules just to help me. I will send some more pictures after my exhibition this Sunday! 
Glenn, your advice and encouragement I keep very close to heart, and I agree with you 100% about my career choice. I have been studying all summer and trust me its been an uphill battle. I am so back and forth with my future, when all I really want to do is play with my clay!! I have never been a quitter so I decided I will take the test this fall, and make a more practical decision from there. Art is my passion, law is not. Its a big decision, but hopefully I obtain good enough feedback from my art exhibitions and your awesome website to make my career path choice a little easier. I really hope we can meet in the future so I can thank you in person. I would love to sit down and exchange stories and hang out! I think that would be great! I can't thank you and Heidi enough. All the best!!
Your friend, 

Show: September 15-29, 2013


I really can't believe you are doing all of this for me. You are an incredible person. In my four years at school I have never had a professor present a fraction of what you just did for me. I'm at a loss for words right now. 

My exhibition was at a place called the Carriage Barn at Waveny Park -  New Canaan, Connecticut. opening reception is September 15, at 3pm until 5. The exhibition will be open for viewing until the 29th of September. A good friend of my fathers suggested I enter a piece into the exhibition and they accepted my lion head.


I will contact Nnamdi as soon as I can, I am very excited to speak with him!! Thank you again so much, I would be so lost without your support. I can't express how much this means to me Glenn. 



UPDATE 12/2/13

Hey Glenn, 

Its been a while! I have been super busy with law school studies and applications. But fortunately I have managed some sort of a balance between that and my art. It is the only thing keeping me sane lol. I have been thinking about you a lot and I am still blown away how much you care in helping others. You truly are an amazing person. I hope all is well with you and the family and you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

On a side note, I have been in several juried art shows since we last spoke. They went extremely well and I had a blast. I felt like I was in my realm, it was such a great feeling. My lion head was selected for one, and my bull head was selected for another. I'm not sure if you have seen the bull yet so I will attach a picture.

jesse-1.jpeg (105441 bytes)

I am currently working on a massive bear head! I'm sure you will see that I spent my Hanukkah money on your website.  I was so pumped to see you had bear artifacts. I ordered I think 8 cave bear teeth fossils from you. I think this will add to its overall old-aged authenticity and be a really cool conversation piece as well. I am a little more than halfway done with this sculpture, I will also attach a picture of the unfinished bear so you can see my direction in this project. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist in my art, I feel compelled to assure you I haven't started the detail on it yet! haha so don't judge me quite yet ;)
I hope to hear from you soon! 
Your friend,


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Wow! Thank you both so much for your support. I can't tell you how much I appreciate everything you both have done for me. Everything looks great! I just want to send an updated picture of the bear so far. It's almost completed, all I need to do is find an art studio which will accommodate the size of the sculpture, which has been very difficult. I may have to find a University that would be willing to fire it for me. Once it is fired then I can apply the copper paint and insert all the cave bear teeth I purchased off your website. I will attach a few pictures. Thanks again Heidi! Have a great day!! 


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Comments from Glenn & Heidi - WHAT A FORMIDABLE BEAR! Can't wait to see it finished, hope you can find a studio/university department to help fire it.  Keep us in the loop.


I finally was able to locate somebody to fire my 600 lb bear head which was such a relief! I sent about 15 emails to universities/art companies/artists etc and only one person agreed to help. For a while I thought the bear would never get completed so I'm really happy. Also my website is almost finished, cannot wait to get that going as well!


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3/14/14   Hey Glenn and Heidi! Hope all is well! Thought I would pass along some pictures of my latest project. Both my father and brother went to UConn, and they asked me to sculpt a Husky so I gave it a shot.  My plan is to paint it with aged silver then purchase light blue sapphires for the eyes. Always trying to incorporate some sort of cool/interesting mixed media!



Response from Glenn:

What a wonderful tribute for you to pay your father and brother. This is just another example of the fantastic talent that you have.  The Husky looks like he could just come to life if you were to pet him.
Please remember to send us pictures of the final firing of the bear head. He is just magnificent .We can hardly wait to see his teeth once they are inserted into the head.  He will be fearsome to say the least.  It sure was good news to hear that you were able to connect with this guy.  What sort of equipment does he have that would meet your requirements for the firing?  It has to be rather large I would suspect.  Is he a fellow artist or a commercial service of sorts to artist?
 Bears are my MOJO, especially after viewing 7 plus for about 5 years while we lived in Conway, SC. Look at this link and you will see the bears on all 3 pages.  http://tellmewhereonearth.com/Web%20Pages/About%20Us/About_Us_Page_1.htm

Then there's the Buffalo, Walrus, and finally I have a real attachment to the Elephant.

I purchased an Elephant for a village while I was stationed in Thailand back in 1967.  He was already old, about 25 years old, but still had value as a worker, just not a top quality worker. If still alive he would be some 65 years plus by now.
So, if you are looking for your next project, here are some very challenging animals to consider, anyone of which would be an excellent choice, as they all represent a real challenge due to the unique characteristic of their particular species.
Keep in touch and let us know when your web site is published and we will put a link to it on your page here on our web site.
Please note the new email address, that are in the header. We have now moved to Spartanburg, SC . It took us 3 months to move the 50 tons plus of our business inventory and household treasures. There are so many stories about this trip that Heidi will be publishing on the web site along with a ton of pictures.
She is also working on completing last summers wonderful 15,500 mile trip to Homer , Alaska and back to South Carolina.  Now that was a lot of driving, as it took us 67 days to make the trip.  What a blast that was. More to come.
Take care my friend, and good luck with the next project. Heidi and I hope school is going well for you.
Kindest Regards,

Great words to live by, a list of 25 life lessons for the quarter-lifer (age 25):