I am a bronze sculptor from Loveland, Colorado specializing in historical, sports and military subjects. My goal is to create living bronze for others to connect with, educate and find meaning.
About my art
I create sculptures of historical, sports and military themes because of my interest in “larger-than-life” heroes portrayed in historical art. Inspired by the art of Classical Greek, Renaissance and Baroque where these types of heroes were depicted, what I make is a modern version of a hero.
My passion for creating military sculptures to honor our veterans was initially born from my late father. A U.S. Marine during the Vietnam war, my dad worked tirelessly helping service members and their families in receiving veteran benefits. He was larger than life himself. When I first worked with him on creating my sculpture “Remembering”, a bond was formed that has been with me even after his passing. Because of my fathers passion and service to others, creating military themed sculptures has been a labor of love to keep his memory alive.
I have been sculpting and casting in bronze since the mid 1990’s. Following a thorough training in traditional arts at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and ten years as a lead sculpting assistant I have found a niche creating custom commissioned sculptures for outdoor, permanent installations. The monuments I create honor members of the military, historical figures, and athletes. My gallery and sculpture studios are located in the arts community of Loveland, Colorado.
Sutton began drawing when he was very little. In his early development years, he found inspiration from his artistic uncle who would draw caricatures of people. The artistic skills he nurtured while studying his uncle’s sketches and drawing people and animals helped to make the transition to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco natural.
At AAU, he studied figure painting, drawing, sculpture and human anatomy with some of the great art teachers in California. Barbara Bradley, Chuck Pyle and Craig Nelson were some of the teachers who made an impression on Sutton. In addition to his full time student status, Sutton attended daily three hour drawing workshops offered at the academy. During his third year his portfolio was evaluated by Disney Animation recruits whom the artist was trying to work for. After a thorough review by Disney animators in Los Angeles, California and Orlando, Florida he got the call that he didn’t make it.
Discouraged, Sutton left the Academy and found work creating video games in an animation studio in the Bay Area. His job was to take loose pencil sketches and do ink drawings that would be used as the final artwork. He created hundreds of “clean-up” drawings until computer animation began replacing traditional hand-drawn methods. This change, happening to all animation studios, forced Betti to rethink his direction as an artist.
Finding a passion for sculpture
Shortly after, Betti sculpted halloween masks for a well known mask making company and also created large-scale sculptures for Las Vegas casinos as a sculptors assistant to Mario Chiodo. He worked in the halloween mask making business when the industry was expanding, a stark contrast from previous attempts at traditional animation which was quickly becoming a rare art form. Masks of famous politicians as well as monsters and aliens were some of his sculptures. He learned techniques for creating wrinkles, hair and skin textures that carried over well throughout all of the mold making processes. It was as a sculptors assistant that the experience influenced him the most; to pursue his new found interest in large scale sculpture.
Passion for large scale sculpture
After a trip to Italy to study Michelangelo, Betti was further inspired in following in the path of monumental sculpture. For five years afterwards the artist lived in a detached one-car garage with no plumbing and focused his energies on technique and produced over 100 clay sculptures.
Sponsored by southern California artist Danielle Anjou to study stone carving in Pietrasanta, Italy in 2004 the artist carved Carrara marble and learned old stone carving techniques used by master Italian craftsmen. Some of the techniques learned were the last of their kind as many of the old stone carvers were retiring with no apprentices to carry on the traditions. The skills from the Italian Renaissance were fading out. For Betti, it was a time of growth and holds tremendous value to the artist.
For several years Betti sculpted realistic mannequins in Colorado and Germany. He worked closely with corporate clients such as Nike, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Athleta, Armani, Target as well as Disney. The experience of sculpting life-like athletic and fashion mannequins helped to create a thorough knowledge of the human body.
Continuing his work as a sculptors assistant, Sutton worked for the sculptor Dee Clements creating small sculptures and large memorials. Working for Dee, he learned studio management and the bronze casting business; from wax pouring and chasing to welding and patinas. Like finding a missing puzzle piece, Sutton felt that he was ready to start his own sculpture company.
In 2009, he permanently installed his first large scale public art sculpture honoring the workers of Hoover Dam in Boulder City, Nevada. The sculpture “Puddler’s Break” gave him the boost he needed to create large-scale bronze monuments on his own. Since this first installation, Sutton has permanently installed many outdoor bronze sculptures throughout the United States.
The artist maintains an active sculpture studio in the vibrant sculpture community of Loveland, Colorado.