When you think of podcasts about ghosts, you may not think of art immediately. But if a portrait or a sculpture of a person is so perfect, and so complete, can it actually capture a person’s soul? And can a piece of art allow a ghost to interact with the living?
When we stumbled upon a YouTube video of Bridgette Mongeon happily riding her bicycle through a cemetery, we thought “this is a woman we have to get to know.” It turns out she has a special talent for channeling the deceased, especially children, while giving them new life with her unique bronze memorial sculptures.
About Bridgette Mongeon
Multi-talented sculptor, author, and speaker Bridgette of Houston, TX, is a sweet soul with a passionate drive to create, educate, and empower through her works. She is the creator of the fascinating, multi-layered Move One Place On, an Alice in Wonderland-inspired sculpture in Evelyn’s park in Houston, as well as beloved local school mascots such as the Prairie View Panther and the Grambling Tiger. To see her creative process in action, go check out her YouTube channel. There’s more to Bridgette than we could ever fit here, so please visit her website for more info and photos of her work. Bridgette also put together a post on her blog which elaborates on many of the things she shared in this interview.
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Above: Process video of acrylic painting created to illustrate this episode.
Episode Show Notes
How do mirror neurons partially explain Bridgette’s connection with the deceased?
Mirror neurons allow us to:
- understand the behavior of others
- interpret their intentions (and thereby facilitate empathy)
- allow us to imitate others in order to learn
They prove that empathy isn’t just a psychological phenomenon, it’s neurologically hardwired into the frontal cortex and every sensory input region of the brain from the age of three. These neurons facilitate the process of learning a new language through immersion. They have even been used to rehabilitate stroke patients by watching others perform the movements that were lost due to the stroke. When Bridgette sculpts a monument for a lost loved one, the photos, belongings, and family memories of that person fire up her mirror neurons. This process allows her to craft an image of not just their physical form, but also their essence and personality.
What is the Facial Action Coding System?
There’s actually a field of study devoted to the interpretation of every discernible facial movement, which animators use to portray emotions. Investigators also use the facial action coding system to perceive deception by scanning for micro expressions during interviews. Fascinating!
The lost wax method of sculpting
Bridgette creates her work by melding art, technology, math, science, and engineering. And yet, despite having literally written the book on computer-assisted 3D sculpting, she also practices the ancient art of lost wax casting, which dates back to the third millennium B.C.
The bronze statue in Paris that is losing its mojo
Bridgette mentions the memorial of Victor Noir, interred in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Noir’s statue is polished by the hands of multiple visitors in two particular places: his lips and his “protuberance” in his pants. Apparently, if you rub (or kiss) these particular areas of Noir’s statue, you will gain fertility.
Podcasts about ghosts and art
We have a lot of episodes that have dealt with ghosts and art. In particular, our episode, The Haunted Portrait, deals with a particularly accurate portrait whose subject liked to rearrange furniture at night. And our episode Everyone’s a Critic, Even the Dead, discusses Becky’s experiences running a haunted art gallery.
We hope you enjoy all of our podcasts about ghosts and art. Until next time, have a spooky day!