In late 2005 I made the decision to move from beautiful Santa Barbara, California to be in the well known arts community of Loveland, Colorado. I had visited Loveland a month before deciding to move here and I immediately fell in love with the Colorado outdoors, the smiling faces (something that is a rare sight in Southern California) and importantly the close knit and well known sculpture community that is Loveland. I continued doing work for a sculptor in California by creating clay sculptures in Loveland and delivering the originals to her home in Santa Barbara (yes, that was a long long drive). But this quickly got to be a difficult working relationship and so I had to say goodbye and I began to look for work in Colorado. My very first job was helping a sculptor finish a large scale monument that the artist had been working on for 14 years!! I then found work as a lead sculpting assistant in downtown Loveland for a well known sculptor. For the first time as an assistant I was responsible for just about every task in an artists studio; clay enlargement, mold making, wax pouring and chasing, welding, metal chasing, patinas, keeping the shop clean, meeting and greeting clients, mold storage count, making sure the swamp cooler worked properly for the upcoming hot season (which in Colorado is nothing compared to where I was from). Although the pay wasn’t very good, I took tremendous pride in my work and the opportunity to learn so many aspects of bronze sculpture. I was very happy.
Although I had been working as a sculptor’s assistant in California for different artists for about 9 years, I had not been trained in so many different aspects of the business until moving to Loveland. This was an experience that was fairly new to me and I fell in love with sculpture all over again. Within 2 years of working in Loveland I was handed an opportunity for a public art competition by my boss. The city of Boulder City, NV was looking for a life size bronze sculpture that could tell a visual story about Hoover dam. The sculpture would be a part of their collection of public art relating to Hoover dam. I took this opportunity to heart and researched my next sculpture. I posed for photos myself as I couldn’t afford a model and created a small maquette that I titled “Puddler’s Lunch Break”. The sculpture was designed to break the myth that workers were buried alive during the building of Hoover dam, which was only a myth. Two “puddler’s” are on a lunch break exchanging stories and the message that I hoped to get across was that although Hoover dam was built during the Great Depression, these two men were happy because they had work unlike most people during this time. The small sculpture landed me my first life size outdoor commission. Something I had been trying to do for the past 9 years but to no success.
Since my first commission in 2008 I have had many highs and lows of being in business as a sculptor, but I have ALWAYS been grateful for this community. The openness of artists and crafts people that are here has been an absolute treasure that makes this town unique. There are three foundries within 10 minutes of each other and a handful of “independents” that specialize in each step of the casting process. I know just about everyone of them and have given just about every one of them work. Everyone I have encountered and worked with has been tremendously supportive and helpful. It is a town that has art pulsating through it’s inner veins and it’s unique history as an arts destination makes it one of a kind throughout the world. A place like no other because of the people that are here. The artists, the foundries, the craftsmen and women, the lovers of art and the younglings who aspire to be an artist. It is this attitude and uniqueness that was shown to me when I first came here and I hope that Loveland, Colorado continues to be the unique arts community that most people know and love for many years to come.