In November, we permanently installed a bronze sculpture that pays tribute to the esteemed Congressman Raymond Kogovsek at the southeastern corner of the historic Pueblo County Courthouse. The realistically created bronze sculpture stands at over six feet tall and captures the essence of Ray as he casually leans against a sandstone tablet with engraved inscriptions detailing his remarkable political achievements. Ray’s profound impact on the community is widely recognized in the community, as he tirelessly advocated for the betterment of Pueblo and the entire southern Colorado region.
I am currently putting the finishing touches on a number of sculptures, and one of them is a larger-than-life representation of the Purple Heart, which has recently been cast in bronze. The Purple Heart is bestowed upon individuals who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action, an international terrorist attack, or while serving as part of a peacekeeping mission.
To create this Purple Heart bronze sculpture, I meticulously measured an original Purple Heart as my reference. The sculpture stands at a height of three feet, making it approximately nine times larger than the original. Instead of using the Purple Heart’s portrait of George Washington, which I believe does not capture his likeness well, I looked to a renowned stone bust of Washington to ensure a more accurate depiction of his features. By scaling up the sculpture, our intention was to create a closer emotional connection. The sculpture is intended to be mounted on a wall as a tribute to Purple Heart recipients.
War is a devastating reality. Lives are lost, and families are torn apart. However, as citizens of this great nation, we must acknowledge that our cherished freedoms have been and will continue to be defended by the courageous men and women of our armed forces. It is important that we always express our gratitude for their sacrifice.
In memory of Dave Betti
This sculpture, along with all my military sculptures, is a tribute to my late father. Dave Betti, a Vietnam veteran, spent the last decade of his life dedicated to assisting fellow service members in obtaining veteran benefits. He tirelessly advocated for veteran rights in Ventura County, California, serving as the President of the Vietnam Veterans of Ventura County for numerous years. Surprisingly, this aspect of my father’s life was seldom discussed. During his funeral service, which included a flyover and military honors, I witnessed the immense scale of his efforts and profound passion for aiding our veterans. Many veterans shared personal anecdotes of how my father had positively impacted their lives. This revelation was a significant eye-opener for me. To my amazement, I later discovered that every veteran in the county had attended his service. I firmly believe that each military sculpture I create embodies a part of my father, as inspired by the stories I heard both at his service and throughout the years.
A brief history of the Purple Heart
Purple Heart Day, observed on August 7, is a time when the country collectively pauses to acknowledge and remember the courageous sacrifices made by the members of our military. The Purple Heart medal is given to service members who have been injured or killed as a result of enemy action while serving in the U.S. armed forces. It is a solemn honor that signifies a service member’s immense sacrifice or ultimate sacrifice while fulfilling their duty.
Since its establishment in 1782, over 1.8 million Purple Heart medals have been awarded to deserving individuals, thanks to Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. In 1932, MacArthur collaborated with the Washington Commission of Fine Arts and heraldry specialist Elizabeth Will to modernize and rename the medal, coinciding with the bicentennial celebration of George Washington’s birthday.
Originally, the revived Purple Heart medal depicted the likeness of George Washington and was primarily intended as a decoration for the Army or Army Air Corps in recognition of commendable action and those injured or killed in combat. During that period, it was not permissible to award the Purple Heart posthumously or to the recipient’s family. In 1942, President Roosevelt and the War Department further clarified the criteria for receiving the Purple Heart, specifying that it should be awarded to those wounded or killed in action. They also extended the eligibility of the medal to include all branches of the military and authorized the presentation of posthumous Purple Heart medals. Over the years, the eligibility requirements for the Purple Heart have undergone changes and continue to evolve even today.
Since late last year 2022 I’ve been working hard on these two golf legends Jack Burke, Jr and Jimmy Demaret. The sculpture will be installed at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas in October 2023 at the club they both founded.
Burke and Demaret are both legends in golf. Mr. Burke won 16 PGA tour events between 1950 and 1963 and he celebrated his 100th birthday earlier this year. Mr. Demaret won 31 PGA tour events in a long career spanning between 1935 and 1957. He was also the first three time winner of the Masters.
The two were very close friends and business partners. In 1957 they built Champions Golf Club which was the site of the 1967 Ryder Cup and the 1969 US Open.
Old Able Bald Eagle and Special Ops mini’s are two new sculptures I sculpted that were based off of their life size originals. They are approximately 12 inches in height and available for order in bronze.
Special Ops was a commissioned life size bronze sculpture that is part of a larger grouping of sculptures at Chippewa Valley Veterans Tribute Trail in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The sculpture will be located along the river walk next to the Eau Claire river.
Old Abe bald eagle was also commissioned by the same clients that purchased the Special Ops sculpture. Although this sculpture was created using an existing eagle I had sculpted a few years before called “Freedom Wings” and creating a rock for the eagle to launch from. It was a project I had wanted to do once I finished Freedom Wings since this particular eagle had to be cantilevered on a vertical side wall for installation. Old Abe (also known as “Taking Flight”) can be installed on a flat horizontal surface.
May 29, 2023 was the unveiling of my Special Ops bronze sculpture near the Eau Claire river in Altoona, Wisconsin. The 350 lb bronze statue is the first monument unveiled that will honor American wars from the Civil War through the modern War on Terror. The unveiling ceremony started off the Memorial Day celebrations in Eau Claire. A flyover with a Vietnam war Huey helicopter set the tone for the service with several speakers including Congressman Derrick Van Orden and former Senator David Zien. The Special Ops bronze sculpture will be permanently installed this summer along the Eau Claire River Veterans Tribute Trail. More details of this project that Sutton is involved in please visit Chippewa Valley Veterans
Special Operations soldier
The toughest of the tough are the Special Operations soldier. Their missions may range from direct combat and counterterrorism to rescue and humanitarian aid. They must pass a strenuous selection process and demonstrate exceptional mental and physical fortitude. Furthermore, they must demonstrate exceptional aptitude in areas such as science, math and language by obtaining an outstanding score on the ASVAB, the military’s aptitude test.
My sculpture honors the elite Special Operations soldier, depicting their intelligence, strength and commitment. I began the clay original in late 2022 as part of a larger setting honoring the Global War on Terror for a Veterans Park near Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Weighing 350 pounds and measuring 75 inches tall, the sculpture will be installed in summer 2023. Further details will be announced soon.
”A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Albert Einstein is one of the most famous scientists of all time. He is best known for his Theory of Relativity and his work on quantum mechanics. But there’s much more to this fascinating man than just his scientific achievements. Einstein was a philosopher, a humanitarian, and a lover of life.
Born in Ulm, Germany, on March 14, 1879 Einstein was a brilliant student, though he was often bored in school and was more interested in daydreaming and exploring his own interests. He eventually left school and pursued his own education, focusing on mathematics and physics. In 1905, he published four groundbreaking papers, which launched his career as one of the world’s leading physicists. Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work on the Photoelectric Effect.
In addition to his scientific achievements, Einstein was also a passionate humanitarian. He advocated for nuclear disarmament, civil rights, and international cooperation. Einstein also had a passion for life. He was an avid musician, playing the violin and the piano. When stuck on a particularly difficult problem, he’d play violin until the solution would simply come to him.
We can all learn from Albert Einstein’s life. His words of wisdom and his stellar life can inspire us to reach our own potential. May his legacy live on.
Albert Einstein portrait bust
I have sculpted a life–sized bust of Albert Einstein not out of my interest in physics or mathematics, but out of my admiration for those who think differently. Those who stand out from the crowd and work hard to develop their own ways of doing things. The misfits, the round pegs in the square holes and the hard workers. Through creating this sculpture, I have had the privilege of delving into Einstein‘s life and achievements and translating his intelligence, wit and wisdom into one work of art.
Jimmy Demaret won 31 PGA Tour events in his long career. Jack Burke Jr. won 16 PGA Tour events. A bronze monument honoring them both will be installed in Houston, Texas at the club they founded together in 1957.
Champions Golf Club
Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas is an iconic golf course with a rich history. Jack Burke Jr. and Jimmy Demaret opened Champions in 1957 a year after Demaret’s 1956 Masters victory in Augusta, Georgia.
Its world–class golf courses have made The Champions Golf Club renowned. It has a well earned reputation for hosting events such as the Ryder Cup, the US Open, the US Amateur, The Women’s Mid-Amateur, the TOUR Championship and the US Women’s Open.
Jack Burke Jr.
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Burke started playing golf at the age of seven. He graduated from St. Thomas High School in Houston in 1940 and attended Rice University in 1941. He qualified for the 1941 US Open, the first to be held in Texas, even though he was still an amateur. In 1942, the Marine Corps stationed him at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, CA, during his time of service. Here he taught combat skills to Marines headed overseas during World War II.
Burke resumed his interest in golf teaching upon the end of the war, taking a position at Hollywood Golf Club in New Jersey. His experience there eventually led him to become mentored by 1948 Masters Champion Claude Harmon.
Burke’s career as a pro golfer took off in the early 1950s and by 1963 he had 16 PGA Tour wins in the era of Ben Hogan.
On January 29, 2023 Jack Burke Jr. turned 100 years old and is the only major golf champion to see the centenary of his birth. Burke stated that he wished to be remembered “as someone who upheld the amateur game, since amateurs are the backbone of the sport. And someone who followed the rules.”
Born in Houston, Texas, Jimmy Demaret’s start in golf came at a young age. He was caddying at the age of eight and winning his first competitive tournament at age eleven. In his professional career he became the first golfer to win the Masters tournament three times; 1940, 1947, and 1950.
Mr. Demaret played on three Ryder Cup teams against British teams and was unbeaten in six matches. In 1983, they named him to the PGA Hall of Fame. He proudly donned an apricot sweater with white knickers, argyle socks, and orange and black golf shoes. One of Demaret’s finest seasons on the professional circuit was in 1940 when he won seven events, including the U.S. Masters and the Western Open.
Demaret’s bright-colored clothing, which he had specially made for tournaments, enhanced his flamboyant personality. His fan–favorite status earned him the nickname of “The Wardrobe”. He had a very good baritone voice and talent as a comedian; he frequently entertained at nightclubs at Tour stops. He is famously known for saying at a banquet in 1965 “Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at it”. Mr. Demaret passed away December 28, 1983 in Houston, Texas.
We will permanently install the life–sized bronze sculptures of Jack Burke Jr. and Jimmy Demaret in the Fall of 2023. Champions golf club commissioned the sculpture.
Teddy Roosevelt in the Dakota Territory
Teddy Roosevelt and Horse bronze sculpture honors the future President who arrived in the Dakota Territory in 1883. He came to hunt buffalo and to escape the grief of his wife‘s death. Roosevelt bought a ranch near Medora, North Dakota, and became a cowboy, rancher and a hunter. He also went on long expeditions into the Badlands and wrote about his adventures. Roosevelt made frequent trips to the city of Bismarck to negotiate with cattle barons and Native Americans. He was an advocate for conservation, and his visits to the area helped shape the preservation of its natural resources. In 1886, Roosevelt left the Dakota Territory and returned to New York. But he never forgot the beauty of the Badlands.
Roosevelt’s experience in the Dakota Territory had a lasting impact on him and the nation. His time there introduced him to conservation, something he carried with him for the rest of his life. He became an advocate for the protection of the American wilderness and the conservation of natural resources. As President, he established the United States Forest Service, created five national parks, and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, which enabled him to designate national monuments. Millions of acres of public land were preserved through his efforts. His time there also shaped his political beliefs in the importance of self–reliance and hard work.
In April 2010, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park was established in the Badlands of the Dakota Territory to commemorate Roosevelt’s time there and his contributions to American conservation. The park is home to the Little Missouri River, prairie grasslands, and wildlife that Roosevelt encountered.
In this one third scale sculpture, Teddy is standing next to his horse with his left hand on his pistol. A photo of the future President posing with his horse inspired the sculpture. However, with the changes I made, it is my hope that the sculpture conveys him staring off towards the horizon of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands and ready for any threat that might come his way. In the land that inspired him to be self reliant and instilled in him the value of hard work which shaped his Presidency.
Why we love our dogs
A dog lover is someone who loves and cares for dogs. They may own one or many dogs and treat them as members of the family. Dog lovers may also volunteer at animal shelters or rescue organizations, donate to dog-related charities, and attend dog-related events. Children may love dogs because they provide unconditional love, companionship, and acceptance. Dogs can also be a source of fun and entertainment, providing an outlet for a child’s energy and imagination. Finally, dogs can help teach children important lessons about responsibility, empathy, and caring for others.
Love at First Site-showing the bond between children and animals
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on this life size sculpture called Love at First Sight. It is the first of many garden sculptures of children and animals. In my sculpture a dog licks the face and neck of her human. The childs head is turned slightly and she is grinning at the special moment that she will remember her whole life. The dogs joy is also expressed through a lifted tail (implying wagging) and in her half shut eyes while licking the girls face.
This sculpture was meant to embody the emotions I experienced when I adopted my first dog, PJ, at 14 years old. He was a beautiful golden lab, and though he was already in his golden years, I was overjoyed to have him in my life. While I was happy to care for him, I was also faced with the difficult lesson of responsibility when he passed away a few years later. I remember the pouring rain and muddy boots as I dug his grave behind my grandma‘s pool, aching with sadness and love. That experience taught me how much love is involved in being a responsible adult. And this love only grew as I adopted more cats and dogs throughout my childhood and adulthood. Even today, I still remember each of my amazing pets and the lessons they taught me.
The pose for the sculpture was also inspired by my love for Illustrator Norman Rockwell. I was aware of Rockwells art from a young age as my grandmother had a book on his paintings. They were a joy to admire as a child and continue to be as an adult.
Mrs. Barbara Bradley, the late and renowned teacher and illustrator who had a history of lecturing and teaching at Walt Disney Feature Animation, was also the inspiration behind Love at First Sight. During my time as a student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of taking her class, “Children and Animals”. Mrs. Bradley’s class was considered a favorite among those who wanted to pursue animation, illustration, and the fine arts. We were taught the importance of drawing from real life situations. We often took field trips to elementary schools and the San Francisco zoo in order to sketch children and animals.
The life size sculpture of Love at First Sight will be cast in bronze and finished this Summer 2023. More details coming soon.