It seems like only yesterday that I bought a bronze from my uncle, Grant Speed. I took it home and looked at it for hours. In fact, that evening I took a sleeping bag out of the closet and lay by the piece to turn it in the moonlight. My love affair with bronze had begun. Six months later (in October of ’90) I came home from work, looked at that bronze and said, “I can do that”.
Having made the decision to sculpt, I became the consummate pupil. I find myself in a constant state of research. I sought and continue to seek counsel at the hands of master teachers (i.e. studied with Fritz White CA, Stanley Bleifeld, Herb Mignery CA, Mehl Lawson CA and Grant Speed CA).
My desire is to use art as a vehicle to inspire mankind to see the beauty of life. Artists’ are prone to leave emotional fingerprints all over their work; hence, what you’ll be seeing, in a way are self-portraits. I love how shape, line and form communicate. Every line has a spirit and speaks volumes. Put a lump of clay in my hands and a short while later you’ll know exactly how I feel and physically see my soul. I am finding that the key to life is to develop eyes to see what is really ‘there’. I love what I do. The feelings I portray about the ‘Old West’ I’ve had all my life. I remember fondly the hours spent as a youth reading of renegades, rebels, rogues, outlaws, wild men and horses, ferocity, passion, power, cunning, independence, honor, loneliness, fear, rage, courage and freedom. These words worked their way into my soul and now find expression through my fingers in clay. The ‘West’ was about men and women who had courage, who were part of something bigger than themselves. I find great pleasure in doing these people justice by creating a fair portrayal of their characters.
As you view my work, take the time to step back a 100 years and find the spirit of the old west. Get in touch with that spirit and you’ll find it exists today as much as it ever did.
When beginning a piece, the first thing I do is isolate an emotion I know intimately. An emotion that pulls at my heart, one that makes me hold my breath, an emotion so strong it becomes overwhelming and is physically draining to experience. If the emotion doesn’t command my rapt attention it is quickly dismissed. In creating “a moment” I do it in such a way that you (the viewer) have no choice but to play an active part and put yourself in the scene as the character depicted or as a firsthand witness.
I sculpt feelings and not reality. In fact, to me the words sculpture and feelings are synonymous. I love it when someone says, after viewing one of my pieces, “I can feel the bullet hitting him”, ” I feel like I’m on the back of the bucking horse” or “I can hear the roar of the stampede”. I know art uplifts the spirit, it makes one want to be better, to feel good about themselves and their fellow man, to reach out for that which is good in life. It’s my wish that you experience some of what I feel through my art.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents, Del and Vergie Rogers, for all of their support in assisting me to know I can do what I set out to accomplish. Thank you, Fritz White (my friend and mentor) for your passion and love. “Janette” … my love, my confidant, my partner in life, “I’m in.”.
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