One of the best parts of my job is knowing that my art brings joy and connection to communities around the US. Check out this article about the dedication of one of my favorite pieces, “The Golden Years” in Wyoming.
Arguably the most well-known and celebrated sculptors of all time, Michelangelo once said “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”
Being a sculpture artist for over ten years professionally, I can’t count the number of hours I’ve worked to hone my skill, to perfect my line work, to bring my subject to life. This profession is truly always changing and with each new sculpture, I learn more, and continue to work towards my “mastery.”
Looking at a bronze or marble sculpture, I hope that the viewer immediately revels in the beauty of the subject matter; appreciates the delicate features of a face, or the true-to-life elements of the wearer’s cloth. I strive to make viewing one of my sculptures an experience, immersed in realism and a high level of detail. But if one looks beyond that, what do they see? What do they know about the process? What price tag would they place on a work of art?
Sculpture is a multi-faceted art medium that involves many skilled professionals to reach completion. A sketch of a sculpture may start with me in my studio, but on the road to a free standing, life-size bronze sculpture, over thirty people may touch the art to ensure its reached perfection.
Starting with sketching, I take up to 5 hours to put my thoughts onto paper—continually moving and letting the sculpture come to life organically. This is the first step to creating a memorable piece. The sketch is a rough idea of what I will be putting into clay, and something I can show clients.
Once the sketch is complete, I move on to a moquette. This is a small version of the life-size sculpture, made entirely from clay. The lines are rough, there isn’t much detail, but it gives me and the client an idea of what the end product will look like. Depending on the subject matter, this can take up to 100 hours.
After the rough clay sketch, the large sculpture is then sculpted. This process takes anywhere from 100 hours to over 3,000 hours depending on the scale of the project.
From there, I have a mold maker that comes to the studio, cuts the sculpture into sections and he/ she makes a mold of the clay. After the mold has reached completion, we then move to wax pouring, and a ceramic shell. These three steps are incredibly skill orientated and take many people to master. This is what will give the sculpture the detail and the size it needs.
The ceramic shell is next, where each mold is dipped into a slurry of silica sand. It is important for these pieces to have a thick mold to withstand the bronze pouring.
A sculpture is more than bronze. It’s more than clay. It’s the dedication, mastery , and artistry of every individual, during every step of the process. From conception to the final product, a life-size sculpture uses the skills of over thirty people, and can take up to 3,000 hours. A bronze sculpture is a piece that will last a life time, and touch generations to come. It’s an investment in a memory or an individual, and the artists behind a bronze sculpture pour their hearts into each piece to show their respect for the subject matter.
Are you interested more in each step of the process? Please visit my website at AustinWeishel.com/process for more information!
Juan Diego has reached his final patina. It has been a pleasure getting to work on the counterpart to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and he is equally as remarkable in his stature.
Juan Diego, if standing, would reach 7.5 feet tall—an impressive 1.25 over life size. In his hands, he clutches a bouquet of roses, found in the dead of winter, to present to a bishop after being instructed by Guadalupe to do so. The roses are a candy coated, deep, rich red that starkly contrasts against the torn, frayed, and tattered cloak of Juan Diego. From his garb to his sandals, Juan Diego’s clothing is sculpted to look as realistic as possible for the time frame as well as the conditions of his time.
Juan Diego experienced his first vision of Guadalupe 1531 on December 9th. On December 12th, he had a vision of Guadalupe again, and her image was imprinted on the inside of his cloak. He is depicted kneeling, clutching the winter roses. This sculpture, like Guadalupe, was done to replicate the painting to the closest degree.
For your own limited edition Juan Diego, please contact me!
Flashback to meeting this Hollywood Icon, Betty White!! This photo was taken in 2014 at the Hero Dog Awards. One of the best parts of my job is having the opportunity to meet amazing and influential people from all over the country.
I’m chipping away at the historic Dallas project! The building that this project is being completed for is connected to the association of President Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. This building was housing Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot.
Last week, I finished the lower half of the bronze wall that is being rebuilt, and completed the install. The next step in this project will be adding the glass, grates, and pillars (which are all cast in bronze) to the wall. We will then complete the elevator doors, which are all being hand-built.
This project is exciting because of the architectural detail that is involved in replicating this building’s original construction from the 1900s. Once everything is sculpted by hand, it will be cast in bronze, welded, metal chased, and then sealed to match the original design.
I had one picture to replicate all of the bronze work from, so it is both challenging and rewarding being a part of preserving this historical building.