Unless you're very familiar with the casting process a sculpture undergoes to become bronze, this image sent from the foundry won't make much sense. If you look at pictures of the elk and compare them, you'll notice the back legs in this picture are the ones highest, up in the air. This step of the bronze casting process is usually referred to as "shell". A wax duplicate created from the mold is dipped in a green "slurry" over and over to create this shell. The wax will be burned out (thus lost wax) and bronze will be poured into the empty shell. The shell is broken and removed. My new elk sculpture should be cast tomorrow and then I should get it next week. I'm anxious to see it. So is the client who commissioned the piece.
As mentioned in past posts, I've been working on a joint project with a friend and fellow artist. We found a theme and then an image we both were inspired by and began work on it. She's obviously faster and doesn't have to go through the arduous lost wax casting process. Her original painting as already sold, but she will produce limited edition prints that will coincide with my sculpture. The edition numbers of my bronze ravens will be offered with the corresponding print edition of her painting. This has been an organic process, something that just happened and we'll see where it leads.
Nothing to do with art
This post has nothing to do with sculpture, bronze, art shows, living statue or any of the other various projects I've been working on as of late, but it's worth sharing. A friend called and offered two tickets to the Rockies baseball game on Saturday, but the tickets weren't just ordinary tickets, they were for the Press Box. If you're not familiar, the press box is "the" place, where you're treated royally, get fed very well and they might arguably be the best seats located behind home plate. In this panoramic picture you can see a little of what we enjoyed. Although it rained and our team lost, we stayed dried and it was a good time. We enjoyed the living high life for a few hours.
The next generation of sculptors?
In a previous post I showed pictures of my children's "sculptures". Being around it this much, how could they not give it a try. They mess around with clay, but mostly when with us at the studio they find other age-appropriate things to do (i-pods and Wii). Today was a little different. I was in a back part of the studio and my son began to ask serious questions about how a bronze sculpture is made. He genuinely wanted to know. So that started a tour of the studio where we have the capability to do almost everything except actually pour bronze. We try to let the kids find their own likes and interests. We don't force feed them. If art, bronze sculpture, actually becoming a sculptor / artist in any medium is the path my son pursues, great. If not, I'm fine with that too. But the fact that he came with real intent and wanted to know more made me feel a sense of satisfaction. Maybe a little of what my dad has felt of the years as he's watched my talents develop.
Summer is usually the busy season for artists. Summer time equals art show time. The weather is better, people travel and are outdoors. Most who live in northern Colorado have heard of and probably have been to the "sculpture shows" in Loveland. There are actually two significant but different sculpture shows across the street from each other which happen on the same weekend. The Sculpture in the Park is in Benson Park, a significant art spot in town. I'd call this show a little more contemporary and each artists displays 7-8 sculptures. The other show is pay-per-booth and doesn't have limits on how many sculptures each artist brings or how they display them. This is the show my father (Mark Hopkins) and I exhibit in. Both are amazing, have many talented sculptors of various mediums. Bronze, wood, stone, and so forth can all be seen. Because we have 3 booths at the show, it takes some preparation and it's the focus of my mind for the next couple weeks. It's a great experience and in my humble opinion an under-appreciated American event. If you live in the area, go, if you don't, try to go. You'll not be disappointed.
An art show and other thoughts.
This weekend I was in Boulder, Colorado at the Open Arts Fest. A great event. Thousands of people pass by the artists on Pearl street. If you've never been, given the chance, you should. Pearl street is filled with shops and lots of characters. I saw several "performers" including a guy who jammed out to old rock songs from the 50-60's while balancing on his bass. They all had my best wishes as I kinda appreciate what they do. While there I met some great people who enjoyed our work and I also had the chance to work on my raven sculpture, which is being refined slowly but surely. Although enjoyable, I'm glad it's over. Now back to it...
An eagle sculpture and Navy SEALs
Many times in my life the military was an option, in my youth I considered the Marines, and even as recent as 2008 my wife reluctantly let me have Army recruiters into our home. I now know that the warrior life is not the path my life was supposed to take. So instead I'm a frustrated patriot with the knowledge that many are sacrificing and giving their lives in defense of our freedom. This thought constantly haunts me. It compels a passion from the deepest part of my being to go and be with them, to help them, bleed with them, fight with them and if needed, die with them. It's just part of who I am. It's in me to defend brothers-in-arms, our country, our constitution and freedoms to any degree. Yet this isn't how I am supposed to serve and give. The least I can do is offer my talents, a bronze sculpture, to help a good cause. The Navy SEAL Foundation is a wonderful cause and I'm currently working with them to donate my new eagle sculpture, "Defending Liberty", mounted on a marble base. They will auction it during their upcoming fundraising event in September in Denver and hopefully it will raise some funds to help the families of the men who gave everything in battle. To them, I give honor and will do my best to never take their sacrifice for granted.
A friend of mine was visiting Las Vegas and sent me a text with a picture showing two living statues seen here. That's a place you can find many performers and where I first saw them which inspired my current preoccupation with being one. Once I saw the picture, I began to get a little haughty and thought how good my outfit and performance is comparatively. Now I should dismiss these feelings and not get cocky. However I can and will pat myself on the back for my quality of work. I've been told a couple of world travelers that have seen many such performers that I was the "best" they have ever seen. I will do my best not to let any of this go to my head. Being my own worst critic, I need to give myself a few compliments. There, that's over... so now how else can I improve my art, my living statue performing, and so on?
Spending the weekend sculpting
So on Friday I started a sculpture, a new clay raven. Then that night I worked on the sculpture outside of a local gallery as the owner (a friend of mine) worked on a painting, also of a raven. My sculpture and her painting will be a "set" that she'll have as an exclusive. I was impressed with how much progress I made. It was being in the "mode". It's that place artists go and "feel" the piece thy are working on. Luckily I found it and made some good progress. The next day, Saturday, I performed as a living statue just up the street from where I'd been sculpting. Now I look forward to the Boulder, Colorado show this coming weekend.
The start of a raven sculpture
A friend and painter owns a local gallery. She and I are teaming up to create a bronze sculpture / painting set of a raven. It's a theme we both want to do, there seems to be a market for and what we agreed upon. The night I'm posting this I'm taking what I have so far (seen here in clay) and will work on it outside her gallery while she paints. This collaborative effort is new to both of us but we both look forward to it and find an element of excitement and adventure in the idea. She'll get the sculpture exclusively for a while and we'll see how it goes.
These updates are written by Eli Hopkins.