Honor Guard, presenting arms
Present Arms, Honor Guard was first designed to guard the entrance to a 1/4 acre veterans park in West Point, Nebraska. American Veterans Park is a tribute to all veterans from across the United States and recognizes the service and sacrifice of all U.S. servicemen and women. As a real Honor Guard guards National Monuments and provides military funeral honors, this life size bronze sculpture guards the entrance to a veterans park in a small town. In 2021, an additional bronze casting will be created and permanently installed in a large veterans park at another location. Details in the coming months.
In the beginning…
The sculpture first began in 2017 when I was asked to provide concept sketches for a United States Army and Marine Honor Guard presenting arms. Presenting Arms has been used since the 1700’s and is a common command in all branches of the military all over the world. The command is a show of respect and honor when presenting their weapons.
The initial sketch, although rough, represents an Honor Guard from the modern day War on Terror. The eight inch tall sketch was enough to get a green light to create the life size version. Since my clients were familiar with my work it wasn’t necessary to create a small maquette or more detailed 2D renderings. Generally, these are necessary before beginning a large sculpture in order to illustrate how the finished artwork would look.
Before I began the full size clay original I studied the “inspiration photo” for posture and general anatomy as well as how the uniform fit the soldier. The photo was also heavily referenced throughout the claying up process for accuracy and was initially provided to me by a member of the planning committee at AVP. Since there are always questions that arise during the process having this handy was essential.
I also received the jacket, trousers, gloves, shoes, cap as well as a replica firearm in the mail from the same committee member. A model was hired to pose in the uniform, photos were taken in-the-round and I began work. After five weeks and 200 hours of careful clay modeling the 5’ 10” tall sculpture was completed.
There are some artists who have told me that this sculpture is too technical. Or that it doesn’t leave enough room for interpretation. For me, I get satisfaction when there is less margin for error and perhaps even less room for expression in a sculpture. In my mind, if you can pull off a very strict pose and give the sculpture energy, life and maybe even make it identifiable to your past works then you have success.
For a more detailed description of the process from finished clay to bronze casting please visit my YouTube video. This video highlights the bronze casting process under five minutes using another of my sculptures.
Below are photos of the sculpture in various stages of completion.