Public Art in Brighton
Kim Shaklee, a successful wildlife and marine sculptor, distinguishes herself from other artists by her ability to transform static metal intofluid motion to capture the essence of an animal. Kim is a native ofDenver, Colorado. She spent summers and holidays during her youthat her family's summer home in Estes Park, Colorado. The rugged beauty and grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park served as herbackyard. It was there Kim developed a deep appreciation for the natural world, and an intense love for wildlife. Kim was able to study an abundance of wildlife first hand, giving her a strong foundation for her future as a sculptor. Combining her life experiences, knowledge, strong artistic abilities and love for creatures of land and sea, Kim has become a skilled wildlife and marine artist.
Shaklee's works have been shown in many national and international exhibitions and are included in collections around the world, including the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., the Oklahoma City Zoological Gardens; Oklahoma City, OK and Benson Park Sculpture Garden in Loveland, CO. Kim has received numerous awards including the Gold Medal of Honor from Allied Artists of America, the Paul Manship Memorial Award and the Anna Hyatt Huntington Bronze Medal. She has garnered several Best of Shows and People's Choice awards from art competitions throughout the country. Her sculptures have been the subject of several editorial features in well-known publications, including Southwest Art, Art of the West, Wildlife Art, Sporting Classics, American Artist and InformArt. Shaklee's work is included in a newly released book; "Sculptors of the Rockies", which features the works of 97 Sculptors from the Rocky Mountain region. "I have spent the majority of my life studying animals in their natural habitat. I place a great deal of emphasis on presenting a definitive personality for each species. My desire is not to merely replicate the animal, but make its essence the central focal point of my sculpture. Using beautiful curves and smooth surfaces in my work serves as a natural invitation to entice people to touch. I described my work as a cross between realism with a contemporary flair and a hint of abstraction. I find that, for me, this makes a good balance."
“A Prosperous Past, a Bright Future” features two sculptural elements. The first element speaks to Brighton’s rich history and sense of family. The piece depicts a father, mother and young daughter. The father’s occupation is vague so that the viewer could see him as a farmer, a miner or any profession that made Brighton what it is today. On the ground next to the mother’s foot is a basket of vegetables, a nod to Brighton’s agricultural past and future. The second element connects to the city’s current boom and its continued success in the future. This sculpture depicts a young boy, playing with a train and a toy airplane. The train is symbolic of Brighton’s past. The airplane is symbolic of Brighton’s steady economic growth as a result of its proximity to DIA. Gary states that “The challenge of sculpture is depicting the movement and energy of a single moment.” Placing a great deal of focus on movement and grace, Gary’s sculptures pass on the freedom, joy and curiosity that children display on a daily basis.
Bronze Sculpture and Painting
I grew up just outside of Denver, Colorado, and first became interested in art as a career in junior high school. I pictured myself as a oil painter in a beautiful studio painting grand landscapes. Fast forward a couple of decades - after attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, first as a biology major and then as an art major. I met a cute red headed girl at that time and she ended up becoming my wife in fairly short order. Yea! Charlie Brown does win sometimes! After our senior year (I left a few classes short of graduating) we moved to Loveland, Colorado, where my family was living. I worked for a few years casting plaster sculptures that were sold in gift stores throughout the country. My interest was piqued and I got to know some of the prominent sculptors that were getting the Loveland sculpture phenomenon rolling. With their encouragement I started sculpting the human figure - mostly children. By that time I was supporting my family as a interior trim carpenter during the day and working on my sculptures in the evening. I was blessed to get into some great galleries, and in pretty short order I was able to support my wife and four children, as a bronze sculptor. (Somewhere in there I did end up earning my bachelor of fine art degree - my mother and grandmother were pleased to no end. Never mind that I was already fortunate enough to be making a living as an artist.) By that time my work branched out to include depictions of all walks and ages of people. The figure in motion was my favorite theme, but I started getting commissions for a wide variety of placements, both public and private, many of them life size or larger. And more and more I was working with people who lost loved ones. Often these memorials were challenging because of the circumstances surrounding the losses. But I always felt honored to be chosen to help in the healing process. Others were dedicated to past heroes that made substantial contributions to their communities and our country.
The central theme of my work has always been to celebrate the gift of life. My goal is create work that stands on it's own artistic merit regardless of subject matter. Combining a client's vision and needs with my own interpretation usually starts out as a challenge but is particularly satisfying. Those projects are team efforts where we all can win. But what about those dogs and cars? As a diversion from some of the weightier memorials I've worked on in that past, I started doing something more whimsical. Is there any creature that enjoys being alive more than a dog riding with it's head out of a car window? I get a smile, and often a laugh, every time I see that. But I bet they would enjoy it even more if they could drive the car - and classic ones at that! Well, maybe they don't care what kind of cars they are, but it's been great fun depicting classic cars with reckless canine drivers and passengers. I plan on continuing with my more traditional depictions of the human figure but also hope to create more in the reckless dog series.
In the past year I've also been working on getting in as much painting practice time as possible. I'm mostly painting in smaller formats: 5 x 7, 6 x 6 and 6 x 8 typically. The smaller size allows me to try out more ideas in a shorter amount of time that larger paintings would. My main interest in in the landscapes around us, but I am also having fun capturing images of automobiles while they are on the road. Working them into compositions that are about fine art first - that just happen to have cars in them is the challenge. That is especially true for cars on paved roads: how does one make pavement look interesting? Value changes along with color variations and dynamic lines - those yellow and white lines can be pretty effective in drawing the eye into the picture - and interesting shadows seem to be working. But no, I haven't painted any cars driven by dogs yet. That would be ridiculous! (wouldn't it?)
Pricing will be coming soon on the paintings. Most of them posted so far are nearly finished, but I want to make some minor adjustments on most of them. (Especially on the ones with those paved roads.) But I wanted to post them now as a generous, encouraging friend is displaying some of them along with one of his classic cars in the Cruise Nite Kearney car show in Nebraska. Send me a message if you want more information on anything you see here or if you are interested in commissioning a sculpture or a painting.
This sculpture depicts a traditional bike race that occurred in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s between Denver and Brighton along a rock-riddled roadway. The path roughly follows Old Brighton Road and the Union Pacific right of way. There are three elements of this public art piece - they include a young man riding a penny farthing bicycle, a cheering little girl and a boy carrying a jug of buttermilk.
Kathy is a figurative sculptor who has been creating sculpture and teaching three-dimensional design for four decades. She loves to work with individuals who have a vision for their community or business or private collection and are searching for an artist who can bring their dream to reality. Kathy has a Masters in Visual Arts and has studied with internationally claimed artists. In addition to her bronze “Sandpaper Track” located in front of the Armory Performing Arts Center, Kathy’s work is part of the public art in Thornton and Frederick. Kathy’s vision is “to create public sculptures that capture a moment in time and remind the viewer of the significance of that moment in the collective memory of the community." Kathy is co-owner of a gallery in Lafayette.
This sculpture of four children playing on and around a large tree stump was created in 1997. It was conceived to meet the need of a sculpture with children that had enough o fa presence to be placed in a large park and not seem dwarfed by the surroundings. The artist effectively solved this problem by using a large tree stump as a prop. This prop gives the sculpture enough mass to hold its own in the great outdoors. The children on the stump represent a number of emotions that all children have. The girl with hands raised to the sky exudes the exhilaration of the moment. One of the children on the log shows the tentativeness of being on top of the stump. A little boy at the base of the stump is in his own world looking at a bug. In all, the work carries the theme of the circle of life and the many experiences that go with it: from the fallen tree to the children’s exploration of life. The monument is 8’9”H 5’W and5’D. It has been placed at ground level so that children may easily relate to it. Decorative grasses will surround it giving it a naturalized appearance that is appealing year-round.
I was born in Marengo, Iowa on August 30, 1961. I knew from an early age that I was going to be an artist. My mother tells the story of how she would let me draw on my bedroom wall and just paint me a new blank canvas when required and of how I won the Deep River District Art Contest before I could write my name. After moving to Loveland Colorado I continued my art studies at Thompson Valley High School. I studied weaving, textiles and figurative drawing at the University of Northern Colorado from 1979 until 1982. Growing up in Loveland I became friends with two of Bob Zimmerman'c children. It was Bob Zimmerman who started the first foundry in Loveland where he developed and perfected the bronze casting process and I was a young artistic girl in the middle of it all - he would call me Clarissa P DeDecker. After college I briefly studied weaving in France before returning to Loveland and the emerging sculpting scene and sculpture industry. I found a summer job (that lasted 8 years) with George Lundeen where I fell in love with the whole process of creating a bronze sculpture. I became a Member of the National Sculpture Society in New York City in 1998 and a Fellow in 2007. I currently have the honor of having over 175 public sculptures placed in 33 states. I feel deeply that have I have been greatly influenced by this city and after thirty years of sculpting have influenced and hopefully inspired others. I am fortunate to work with my siblings and raise our family in this creative environment I call home.
This sandstone was created 70 million years ago. Dakota Sandstone occasionally appears on the plains in jutting outcroppings and bluffs. Plain’s Native Americans used it for structural purposes in religious dwellings. The design team of Haskew and Kinkade has stacked 20 tons of this stone to create the suggestion of such an outcropping. The vertical stone holds a bronze plaque of explanation and commemoration. This one and a quarter life-size image was introduced in May of 1993 and won the Western Regional Show, Cheyenne, WY, the People’s Choice Award at Hillside Sculpture Invitational, and the Sculpture Award at the Red Earth Invitational Art Show. The City of Brighton received the last available numbered piece in the edition of seven. In the creation of this work, Denny drew upon historical research after being told stories about the Society of the Sacred Arrow. This Society existed among many of the Plains Indian tribes. Among other tribes, the Crow, the Arapaho and the Cheyenne were known to perform the Sacred Arrow Ceremony. The night prior to a raiding party, war party or some equally important event, the tribe would gather around the pow wow circle with much chanting and singing. The members of the Society of the Sacred Arrow would rush out into the center of the ring and collectively shoot arrows straight into the sky. Then with a show of bravery and courage, they would stand still as the falling shafts came back to earth. Each member was unafraid because of his strong belief in his spiritual protection. Their courage and conviction showed that their cause was right and that God was with them. This was a great morale boost to the tribe members in attaining success on the next day’s venture. This display of courage by the members of the Sacred Arrow Society often placed them in the role as leaders of other warriors.It is placed upon Dakota Sandstone taken from the foothills.
“I begin with the human figure. Initially, I have no intention of creating an ‘Indian image’, but sometimes the statement comes out stronger that way. Sometimes the opposite is true. Recently, I started to sculpt a Native figure, but it became something else. We’re all human beings inside. We’re all a mixture and will continue to mix until it no longer matters what type of figure is used as long as it makes the strongest statement possible.”
Denny Haskew is one of Loveland's best known artists with his sculptures installed throughout the United States including Alaska, California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, South Dakota, New York, Michigan, Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois and Kentucky. For many years, Haskew maintained a Loveland home-base studio and has recently moved to Artworks. This has infused him with renewed creativity, and as a result, he was inspired to sculpt and paint. Haskew says that contact with other artists has made him feel like he is a member of a family.
Haskew was born in Aurora and went to junior high and high school in Salt Lake City, Utah. He completed a bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Utah. Haskew spent much of his early career as a ski instructor at Park City, Utah and was involved in developing ski touring trails in Idaho. He was also a white water river guide in the Grand Canyon. He did carpentry work and made furniture on the side.The talent and desire to become an artist goes back to Haskew's childhood when he carved decoys out of firewood for his father. He then tried his hand at carving shore birds.
His parents moved to Loveland, and Haskew became interested in meeting one of the local artists. His introduction to Fritz White changed his life, and he knew he wanted a career as an artist. He asked White how to get started, and White said, "The old fashion way -- as an apprentice." Haskew quickly asked if he could become White's apprenticeand to that, White responded, "I was afraid you would say that." White was a taskmaster often tearing apart what Haskew had started. However despite critical setbacks, Haskew sold his first piece while working for White.After a year, Haskew set up his own studio. With four pieces, he was accepted into "Sculpture in the Park" held annually in the Benson Park Sculpture Garden.
BRIGHTON RECREATION CENTER • SCULPTURE GARDEN (2006)
By Jane DeDecker
Located at Brighton Recreation Center
555 N. 11th Avenue
Jane states that “My work is a cumulative process made of my life experiences and my desire to sculpt the human form. Each piece tells a story of how it was created - every stroke supporting the narrative.” Part of Jane’s artistic genius is her ability to select a moment to which all of us can relate on a personal level. These moments span all generations, depicting a universally recognized scene. This scene may speak of the love between parent and child, the freedom of a child’s imagination or the simple dignity of everyday tasks. Each is a timeless expression of the human experience, causing us to reflect and evaluate the importance of love, relationships and achievement.
LEAVES OF GRASS
By Jane DeDecker
Located at Brighton Recreation Center,
555 N. 11th Avenue (2006)
Dedicated October 27
This is one of Jane’s newest sculptures. The clump of grass holds all kinds of secrets. There is a garter snake, a butterfly, worm, caterpillar, bug and more!
EARS OF JOY
By Jane DeDecker
Located at Brighton Recreation Center, 555 N. 11th Avenue (2006)
Dedicated October 27, 2006
Ears of Joy was named after a story about thisboy and his dog. The story won a Pulitzer Prize.
LORDS OF THE FORREST
By Jane DeDecker
Located at Brighton Recreation Center, 555 N. 11th Avenue (2006)
Dedicated October 27, 2006
As in many of Jane DeDecker’s pieces with children, a prop is used. In this case, it is a log! This sculpture speaks to activity and good health.
By Jane DeDecker
Located at Brighton Recreation Center, 555 N. 11th Avenue (2006)
Dedicated October 27, 2006
Galileo stares up into the sky...Wonder what he’sthinking.
By Gary Alsum
National Sculptures’ Guild
Located at Benedict Park
1750 Skeel Street
Dedicated in Memory of Jeff Graham
The memorial garden was created at the junction of two paths in Benedict Park. Our attempt was to form an intimate courtyard. While the green open spaces of this large park are filled with large activities; the memorial garden is a small public square. The pavement of the courtyard is made of square-cut buff flagstone. Two Dakota sandstone benches are at the edge of the courtyard. Placed roughly in the middle of the courtyard is a Dakota sandstone column on which is placed the bronze sculpture, Interception, by Gary Alsum.
The sculpture is dedicated to Jeff Graham. Jeff Graham was born in Great Bend, Kansas on October 22, 1960. He grew up in Hudson, Colorado. Jeff graduated from Weld Central High School and earned his business degree from the University of Northern Colorado. After college, he went to work for Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company in California. In the 1990’s, he returned to Colorado and to the mountains that he loved. Jeff died in a car accident on May 29, 2001 in Montrose, Colorado. Jeff was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend. He was fun loving, sweet and had a generous spirit. His death left a huge void in the lives of all that knew and loved him. We know that he would love this beautiful piece of art dedicated to his memory. This sculpture was selected by Nancy and Diana Graham not only because of its appropriate subject matter to the park but also because Jeff Graham loved dogs and the outdoors. The sculpture provides a focal point for the square. It adds a pulse to the square that draws people in towards the center. Without the sculpture, the courtyard would feel empty and without meaning. All of this was created because two very caring and loving people wished to convey their love of their son and brother by sharing it with others. This act of kindness celebrates that which is best about the human spirit and our bonds with each other. The creation of this small open room in this massive park has made it hallowed ground. It is an ongoing reminder of how important we are to each other, to our families, our neighborhoods, and our community.It is what makes Brighton a very special place.
By Jerry Jaramillo
Located at 1750 Skeel Street
Aquarius is the water bearer, also the mother figure of the sundial. Aquarius is pouring water from a pot that is creating the zodiac; it ultimately turns into Halley’s Comet. The Sun and Moon are represented along with the Big Dipper. The Sundial is a mixed media of gnome (stainless steel) and cast cement with a faux finish. The Colorado Garden Show provided a grant for the xeriscape garden that surrounds the sculpture. The garden was designed by the City of Brighton Parks Staff and planted by Southeast Elementary and Brighton Charter School Students.
Artist's Statement - click to learn more
"The materials I choose to work with inspire me to shapes where sensual, flowing lines create a definite organic feeling in the finished work. These are natural illusions which are particularly apparent in works of stone, yet are evident in all the media I choose for each project.
Although some have said my sculptures create an ambience of natural erosion by wind and water, I prefer to aspire toward a sense of the future while subtly appearing to the senses that the source of all inspiration comes from the Earth.
There is an evolutionary process to thought and creation, and I believe those who experience my work should be allowed the absolute freedom to make their own interpretations in any way they may find meaningful to them. Such is the real freedom in discovery, and I like to encourage it. "
University of Colorado-Boulder, 1970-1974. Art Students League of Denver, 1989
Twenty-five years of proven experience and ability in'mixed media with hundreds of custom projects for private and public interests in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Washington, and Mexico.
- Sculpture in marble, alabaster, wood, fiberglass, polyester resin, stainless steel.
- Three dimensional combination painting and sculpture.
- Jewelry Designer.
- Completed works for businesses, private collectors and public organizations.
- Completed murals in oils and acrylics, both separately and in combination.
- Eloy's Waterfall, Mixed Media Mural, 12'x12'x 8' using moss rock, acrylic mural background, and cement mason techniques.
- Adventure Golf, Colorado's largest Putt Putt Golf Course, cement sculpture, restoration of sculptures, faux finishing, and fiberglass work.
- Created largest indoor mural in Colorado, La Familia Cosmica, 17'X75'.
- Conducted mural workshop in 1994 sponsored by the Denver Art Museum and Denver Parks and Recreation, Denver, Colorado.
- Artist in Residence for United Mexican American Students, University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado.
- Visiting Artist at Washington State University. Guest Artist at Denver School of the Arts, Denver Public Schools.
- Class monitor for Ramon Kelley at Art Students League of Denver, teaching oils and pastels.
- Sculpted nine reindeer life-size in wire and lights for the City of Brighton, Colorado, Festival of Lights Annual Christmas Parade, 1996-99. In 1998 the float was the Santa Clause entry in the Denver Parade of Lights.
- 2000 City of Brighton Sculptural Sundial Mixed Media 9'x9'x12', Benedict Park.
- Mural: 1998 Adams County Assessor's Office, Administration Building, Brighton, CO., entitled "Four Seasons", 4'x24'.
- U.S. West purchased large alabaster sculpture of stylized eagle for their foyer.
- United Steelworkers Union, Pittsburgh, PA purchased large oil painting entitled "The Lost Hunter".
- Sheet Metal Workers #9 Union, Denver, CO. purchased large oil painting entitled "Generations", 6 feet x 9 feet.
- University of Colorado, Boulder, CO. United Memorial Center Student Center, 6 feet x 8 feet, oils on canvas.
EXCLUSIVE GALLERY FOR STONE SCULPTURE:
- Casa de Artistas of Scottsdale, 7058 East Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
- Accomplished singer, two-time State champion horseshoe player.
By Gene Goff
Dedicated May 19, 2016
Located at Eagle View Adult Center
In, Gene had the idea to create a sculpture for the Eagle View Adult Center. He wanted to honor his parents, Sam and Pam Goff, by creating a lasting tribute at the Center where his parents enjoy spending time.Gene sculpted the pieces from cold roll steel. All the work was done by hand. Over 90 yucca leavesgive blossom to 106 flowers on the two sculpture pieces. Looking closely you see whimsical birds and caterpillars formed from unique antique pieces.Gene spent thousands of hours creating these incredible, one of a kind sculptures. Special thanks to Gerry Hernbloom with Alfred Industries for donating the use of his paint booth and the clear coat for the sculpture.
Between 3 we carry a cumulative 85 years of metal and welding experience. Sam and Pam were in the business of sheet metal fabrication and welding for 20 years in Colorado. Gene made railings on 50' towers, and art along with many other structural pieces on the western slope of Colorado. The Goff's have been doing art shows for the last 15 years. Our flowers are created from found metals such as flatware and stainless and some cold roll sheet steel. All of our flowers, birds and branches are cut and hand formed. We all have our own calling in creating these beautiful pieces of nature.
In late 2015, one indoor sculpture and two outdoor pieces were acquired through the program for placement. The two outdoor sculptures will be the two pieces dedicated.
Artwork pieces to be dedicated include: steel sculpture by Thomas Tice, “How does your Garden Grow?” and bronze sculpture by Christopher Romero, “The Guide Version II” of Red Tail Hawk. The sculptures will be placed in locations that will create visual impact and promote our forthcoming Sculpture on Loan program that will begin in 2017.The Sculpture on Loan program will provide prominent placement of sculptures along the walking path and projected flower gardens at Carmichael Park and the Brighton City Hall perimeter. Awards, potential sales and possible acquisition by the City would become possible for artists through this program
“How does your Garden Grow”
By Thomas “Roo” Tice
The colorful steel adaptation of this garden sculpture created by Tice is a beautiful and whimsical illusion of garden floral captured in a spiral motion of Steel.
Born on the eastern seaboard, and raised in the south, Tice has lived in Canada, Australia, the US and travels extensively but re-sides in Northglenn, Colorado.
This artist is an ironworker, a minister, a cowboy, and a jackaroo; as well as a lecturer in philosophy and sociology at the University of South Australia.
Nearing 40 years of marriage, he and wife Lisa have three children who all also create artwork, and 5 grandchildren. He is currently the Shop Foreman for D&E Steel, and serves as the Chap-lain of the Westminster Fire Department. His nickname is, “Roo.” from his days in Australia.
By Christopher Romero
The beauty of the Red Tail Hawk is created by Romero, who captures the details of this feathered beauty in hunting/landing pose, with expanded wings and extended talons prepared for landing or the extraction of its prey.A fourth generation native Coloradoan, Romero was born and raised in North Denver, and currently resides in Commerce City.
A sculptor since childhood, his first work was a small Black Bear that he did when he was 6 years old. It was made of clay and covered in black shoe polish. Years later his Mom would give it back to him after he had begun sculpting in bronze.
A self-created artist, Romero followed his passion for realistic beauty through his art. During his career he has created art not only as a sculptor but as a musician, photographer and goldsmith.
With a love and respect for wildlife the sculptures Romero creates are detailed and beautiful. He truly has a spiritual connection with his works and finds a healing attribute to his artwork
The theme of the piece is representative of the beginnings of the local heritage and its development over time, with changes brought about by migrations and various modes of transportation. From the earliest times, people were drawn to the area because of the abundance of water and game and because of the ease of access. To keep the subject timeless, “modes of transportation “was chosen as the main theme of the mural. Starting from the mid 1800’s with wagons, then trains, then roads. Representative of the future, it includes jet trails in the distant skies. In the background City Hall, the 1886 Church, Dietrich Farm and Hughes Station are depicted. These images symbolize what people brought to Brighton in terms of commerce and development of the local heritage. To sculpt this piece, over one ton of clay was used. The stoneware was created from clay and straw. It was cut into workable pieces and then hollowed out from the back. It was fired in an outdoor kiln. After the initial bisque firing, color was added through the use of porcelain texture paints and glazes. It was reassembled and backed with plywood for hanging purposes. The entire process took five months to complete. The technique and puzzle like quality of the stonework relief is unique to the works of Bruce Howdle. Funding for this project came from a grant from the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and local businesses in the area.
Howdle Studios & Gallery features ceramic art in the form of small cups, humorous cups, and platters with drawings of animals or abstract designs, vases from 3 inches to 4 feet with animal or abstract decoration, planters with animal drawings, small ceramic relief wall sculptures in sizes from 2 to 5 feet. Very large (up to 50 feet) installations are available by commission only. Texture and motion are the unifying themes in all Bruce's work.Two-dimensional watercolor, colored pencil, graphite and ink drawings primarily of fruits, vegetables and flowers by Janice Johnson are on view as well as prints and cards of the same images.
Bruce is usually present in the gallery or studio and loves to show visitors how his work is made. When he is not present Jan is.Commissioned murals usually start with preliminary drawings followed by a final rendering with a model showing relief texture and color. After the size and method of installation are worked out clay is ordered and the easel readied.
The 60’ x 11’ easel is adjusted to fit the dimensions of each commission. The easel is covered with burlap and woodstrips screwed horizontally every 16 to 20 inches and is sprayed with water so when the clay is applied it will stick to the surface. For larger projects Paoli Clay Co. makes the proper clay formula and delivers it shrink wrapped on flat bed pallets. Quantities up to 9 tons are fork lifted off the truck and dollied to the location in the room where with the help of assistants is applied to the easel which is tilted to a six degree slant. First the clay surface is groomed and readied for sculpting. Bruce can sculpt a ton of clay in around one to five days depending on the extent of detail. A ton generally covers around an 8’ x 10’ area depending on depth. When fired a 8’ x 10’ mural will shrink by 13.6% to 6’9” x 8’9”. When sculpting; the scale of the subject has to be sized up to accommodate this shrinkage.
The client is asked to approve the work at this point. Ideally Bruce likes approval in person but will photograph and e-mail an image for approval.
After approval the assistants come back and help cut the mural into fireable size pieces following the contour lines of the image. Each piece is numbered on right side edge and noted on an inventory photo. After cutting down each piece is hollowed out and re-sculpted. Depending on size it can be 200 to 2000 pieces. When finished the mural lies flat and uncovered to dry, which can take up to two months. When dry the outer edges of each piece is sanded and the pieces sprayed with opaque porcelain before coloring (some murals are left the natural clay color and stained to accent detail.) Then ready for the kiln, each piece is numbered again on the top edge, inventoried on a photo, and fired.
After firing the pieces are brought back to the studio and are prepared for installation. Methods of installation vary depending on the installation site. For a Menasha, WI mural over 2000 pieces were glued and jointed onto twelve 8’ x 10’ concrete panels, lifted with a crane and bolted onto the outside wall of a brick building. At the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, OK a mural was laid up with mortar. Bruce and his crew camped at the refuge for a week to do the installation. At Sportsman Park in Cicero, IL Chicago masons under Bruce’s supervision laid up a mural that wrapped around the corner of the building. Peru State College’s mural was glued up vertically and held in place with wood strips one foot at a time until the glue set, then jointed. A Brighton, CO mural of 745 pieces were mounted in the studio on 21 wood panels and then delivered. After preparing the wall, each panel was hung on a French cleat to lock it into place. Each location presents a unique set of circumstances that requires a site specific installation method.