NEW YORK -- A time of year with so much light and happiness feels a bit different this year.
“Oh I thought Christmas was canceled... Are you saying it’s still on?” New York sculptor Jim Rennert said.
Rennert says humor is what gets him through difficult times, like when he had a bike accident.
“I broke my collarbone, separated my shoulder, took me 45 minutes to get up," Rennert said. "I was chuckling on the ground about it; that’s how I deal with stress.”
He hopes to bring that humor to others this holiday season through his work.
“Bringing a little bit of light, a little bit of levity, having something that people can smile about, even if it’s for a moment as they’re walking down the street and they see one of my sculptures goes a long way right now,' Rennert said.
The weekend before Christmas, quite a few of Rennert’s sculptures were installed across New York City.
“You can’t go to museums, you can’t go to art galleries freely like you could before – they’re limited on their hours and their attendance – so why not put the work out and allow people to enjoy it on the street,” Rennert said.
Each sculpture resonates with people in the business world. He was part of that world as a stockbroker before he found his calling as an artist at the age of 34.
“I just went back to what I had been thinking about all those experiences in business that were challenging, and I found out there was an audience for that. I don’t know that anybody had ever done that before," Rennert said.
His audience has grown this year as the world has been struggling with a whole new set of challenges. He feels inspired to honor essential workers and connect with people through the mutual feeling of isolation.
“One is a guy in a bird cage called "Caged but not Conquered," so I got a figure as if he’s a bird in this cage just waiting to get out,” Rennert said.
Rennert says we have to hold onto hope and know that things will get better. He says art in a time of so much despair is one way to bring light to the darkness.
“It might make them forget about what’s going on which would be kind of nice for a minute, ya know?”Rennert said.