“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” ~ Henri Bergson
Change is an essential part of life. For sculptors who work in bronze, change and mutation are intrinsic to their work, and themes related to change often shine through in their pieces.
Bronze sculpture artists Todd Paxton, Bryce Pettit, and Levi Selway share how this constant change appears in both the concrete processes and larger creative and philosophical leanings of their work.
Though each bronze sculpture artist will have their own methods for arriving at the finished product, these three artists follow a similar method that begins by sculpting the piece in castilene clay. From there, a mold is created over the clay, which is then filled with wax and covered in ceramic. The ceramic is fired, and the wax melts away. Finally, you have a ceramic mold that is ready to receive the molten-hot bronze –– heated to a balmy 2,000 degrees!
“It’s a series of negatives and positives to get you to a finished metal,” Bryce said.
Just as sculptures go through a number of form evolutions and changes on the path to becoming the beautiful finished pieces we see, the artist’s inspiration is also continuously evolving.
Levi’s work tells stories of triumph and achievement. He celebrates artists, sports figures, musicians, and others who morph from unknowns to iconic figures through hard work and constant personal growth.
“Having the good fortune to see so much beauty in my life, I try to celebrate that in my work,” he said. “I celebrate a life well-lived, as I see it.”
Bryce’s background in biology inspired him to focus on animal subjects as unconventional channels for human stories.
“I love animals, and for me, animals have become this language with which I tell any story I want to,” he said.
Passing human stories through the prism of animals and natural life helps viewers connect with Bryce’s work. And through that connection, the viewer is changed.
This desire to connect with and change spectators is also a driving force for Todd in his creative work.
“I do art because of the connection that happens,” he said. “I love bronze, specifically, because you get to tactilely interact with it.”
The bronze artists at the Celebration of Fine Art encourage viewers to touch the work—an opportunity viewers don’t typically get in museums. They believe it’s through that tactile experience you see the work in a new way.
These artists, and all sculptors who work in bronze, are patient and dedicated. Their commitment to seeing a piece through each iteration, from clay to final product, is a testament to the power of perseverance, hard work, and embracing the cyclical and changing nature of life.
Watch the full Art Discovery recap below.
J Todd Paxton