I made my first—and, as I recall, my last—attempts at sculpting when I was in elementary school. Those “works of art” consisted of an ashtray—why, I don’t know; neither of my parents smoked—and an elephant with several holes on its back, strategically placed to hold pencils. I quickly learned that art was not my calling and turned to other endeavors.
Fortunately for us, the five artists we feature here did not give up so easily. Of course, they had the talent—and the fortitude—to pursue their dreams of becoming artists and, in the process, have brought immeasurable joy to countless art lovers.
Working in three dimensions requires a broad range of skills and includes many challenges.
On the Banks of Sugar Creek
“I have been sculpting the human figure for more than 35 years. I seek to capture moments that reveal truths about the human condition that, when stripped down to their essence, are understood intrinsically. As a figurative sculptor I communicate the emotional experience through lyrical compositions that I hope will move the viewer. My sculptures stop life in mid-sentence—somewhere between inhaling and exhaling—and gives it form. I tell a story through my sculptures with the simple moments that imprint our lives and define us.
“My first bronzes came out of the foundry in 2012, and all three pieces sold within two months. Since then it’s been art full-time, including drawing and painting, although clay seems to be the addiction of the moment. A friend, and great artist in her own right, saw my work at the foundry back then and said, ‘Hang on; it’s going to be a whirlwind.’ She wasn’t kidding; it has been.
Four of a Kind
“I have been sculpting for 35 years. Through sculpture, you can make the most profound, exciting statements that take the viewer on a continual adventure. It is virtually limitless what stories you can tell through sculpture. Those stories are impactful in ways no other medium provides. The ability to see the statement from every angle, the freshness that results from seeing in the round, not to mention the tactile nature of sculpture, elevates the statements made in it tremendously. Sculpture deserves ideas, stories, and statements worthy of such a noble medium and, while I do draw and paint, it is ultimately so my sculpture will continue to grow and improve. The different elements of art feed one another, and drawing is the basis of it all.
“Although I’ve had no formal art training, an ability with art seems to run through my family. I had a few years of limited experience in painting prior to my first sculpture: a commission for Ducks Unlimited in 1978. I was already familiar with metal casting and the lost-wax procedure because of my dental career and had made a lot of jewelry for family and friends. Through trial and error, with mistakes being the greatest teacher, I learned the process of armatures and mold making. There is something about working with clay that resonated with me. “In the early part of my art career, I was trying to balance it with being a dentist full-time and trying to raise a young family.
Father of the Trail
“Due to my family ties in sculpture, I was captivated, as a young boy, by the entire process. My father’s studio was a favorite hangout. I would spend hours looking at Russell and Remington books, as well as reading historical biographies on old-time cowboys, mountain men, and Indians. There was a short time after college that I focused on painting, taking a few workshops with prominent artists at the time, but sculpting always felt more natural to me, probably because it was what I had always been around as a boy. “My father has been my greatest influence. It’s safe to say I would never have made it this far without his love and support.