Figurative fine art sculpture in Bronze and Terracotta

Artist Statement

Every sculpture I create is based on something that caught my eye or boils up in my brain from everyday life. Just about anything, work themes, intimate moments, fanciful image, religious themes are all of interest to me and they present a plethora of material for my work.

I try to come up with a pose or activity interesting enough to an individual that it draws them toward the piece. My sculptures are created to touch people and well as be touched by people. Ideally, I want the composition of my works to be something of interest, dramatic or slightly comedic. Graceful poses are my favorite. People are about the most interesting subject in the world…For me.

In my studio I will have several different pieces in various stages of development. I usually chose different themes to keep myself fresh, and allow the ‘soil to go fallow’ as I move from piece to piece. My studio is filled with books on anatomy and a homemade scrap book where I deposit photos or story boards of different people with various expressions. I have sculpted from live models but mostly just use basic anatomy and study the way that musculature acts in a variety of poses. My imagery is from my memories of real life or a mental image of a character from a book or photo.

My favorite material to sculpt with is medium hard, oil-based clay, almost always supported by a wire armature. It takes lots of measurements and referral to anatomy to make the sculpture. Sculpture is work, involving a lot of standing, measuring, altering, hoisting, tearing down and replacing.  Most of the work is the brain coaching the hands to replicate the photo or model to satisfaction.  So far, my techniques have improved as I go. Whatever style I’ve developed over the years, I am always refining and improving.

Once complete, I take the piece to a mold maker I know in Loveland, CO and begin the centuries old “Lost wax” process.  They create the mold, which can be two or more pieces. The mold material coats the original work to get an exact reverse image of the sculpture. In the mold making process the original is usually ‘dinged up’ to put it mildly.

 When creating a bronze sculpture, molten wax is poured into the mold.  The hot wax is swished around in the mold and partially poured out.  Somewhat the same way a hollow chocolate Easter bunny is made.  Once set, the wax sculpture is removed from the mold, cleaned up by me, and then dipped in a concrete like mixture that is allowed to harden.  This secondary mold is the same material as the ceramic re-entry tiles of the space shuttle. It can withstand incredibly high temperature. The wax is melted out of this new mold (hence the name “lost wax”) and molten bronze is poured into the mold.  Once hardened, the secondary ceramic mold is removed by jack hammer and sand blasting, revealing the bronze sculpture. Metal chasers work reassembling the sometimes many pieces and smooth out any seams in the bronze. The sculpture receives a patina, where various chemicals are used to produce the desired ‘look’ or color. The patinas are durable, but can be worn away by time and touch. The wear from touching the sculpture over time gives the piece character. So, please touch my work.

I’ve always liked Rodin and Norman Rockwell.  They have a presence and authenticity that I like. I want people to see my work and say, ‘This looks like John Prout’s work’.