For over 40 years I have been the guy who works in the foundry behind the scenes but making sure the job gets done right.
I have mostly worked on monuments old school style for most of my life.
I’d like to be able to boast a long repertoire of schools and credentials, but that would be just plain boring. I have none of those, my works are my credentials!
Until recently schools did not offer an in-depth curricula in classical sculpture. I was ridiculed by my local university art dean when he reprimanded me mockingly, that my desire to classically carve sculptures was naive. My path has been filled with resistance, I believe that make me much stronger than the average artist. I have had to teach myself for the most part along the way.
I was born to art. My dad an artist and art professor was taking my drawings to compare with college students, when I was just ten years of age. My mother was an interim museum director at the Springville Museum of Art.
I won best in show in 1970 at the Utah state fair for my painting of the Tetons, painted on location with my father the artist Paul P. Forster. I painted the painting when I was 13 years of age. At fourteen I worked for Niel Hadlock in his foundry in Vineyard Utah. That year I was offered five scholarships to universities but was too young to accept. The same thing happened to another artist, Avard Fairbanks from my hometown of Springville Utah in 1912. He trained and worked in Italy for decades. I was supposed to go with him to Pietra Santa for two years, but my community coerced me to go on a Mormon Mission to New Zealand instead.
I roamed around for a few years taking odd jobs but mostly working in foundries. My first job after my mission was peeling logs for vigas and latillas in Santa Fe, I did this in the middle of winter wearing a three piece suit and tennis shoes. I Worked for Dell Weston in Santa Fe. I drove to the Oregon coast and worked on the Docks in Astoria. For two weeks until my first check, I ate mussels from the ocean, oatmeal and ketchup. I came back to Santa Fe and worked for Albert Niblack an Inventor. I moved back to Utah and worked for Richard Young Foundries. This was the last monument that I worked with Dr. Fairbanks with.
I drifted to San Francisco, worked for a gallery "Brand Gallery at 415 Sutter Street. I went to the Academy of Art, and took figure drawing three times a day. Worked on work study, and odd jobs to survive. I was on the masters swim team at the Golden Gate YMCA. I survived mostly on Maltomeal cereal. I drove out to Texas and worked for Santa Fe Drilling in Odessa Texas for six
or eight months, until they started stacking the rigs. I drifted down to Columbus New Mexico, and worked on the 250,000 acre POL Ranch. I made spring roundup, then headed back out to San Francisco.
I got into San Francisco with $5.00 in my pocket. I found myself on Hayes and Octavia Streets near the lower Haight & Ashbury area. I met the famous Gospel Singer Emmet Powell and he gave me a job as a Bar Back at a Billy Holiday Bar. This was a bar filled with needles, and junkies. I always felt very safe, if the customers didn't know who I was, they probably thought I was police. I was never messed with! In those days I mostly slept in my car out by the beach.
I quit Emmet's gig and went to work for Rolf Kierken at his Nordhammer Foundry in Oakland. I was able to get a bed upstairs, it was on east 14th Street in Oakland, in between the Hell's Angels and the Black Panthers. I did all the foundry chores including enlarging. There I worked for Stirling Calder's granddaughter who was then 83. I did an enlargement of the Star Girl or Maiden.
I later got a job working at a famous gay bar, called the Stud. There I was a doorman, and had all the rich experiences of 1980's San Francisco Punk Culture. I secured an evening job as a parking attendant, next to the academy of art. It was Christmas of 1982 I met my wife, an Academy of Art teacher.
We lived together for several years, and I began working at Piero Mucci's Artwerks Foundry in Berkeley. I did all the tasks at the foundry, including foundry maintenance, and Enlargements. I had the opportunity to work for several famous artist, and got to know Jacques Schneer, Arnoldo Pomadero, Steven Destabler, and Richard MacDonald.
In 1988 we moved to Utah, where I was able to assist other sculptors. I also worked as a ski lift Mechanic at Park West Ski Resort for two seasons. By 1994 I was starting to teach myself to paint. I went up to the University of Utah Ballet and started to draw Ballerina's, and developed a close relationship with Attila Frizzar. Ballet West soon found out and I was approached by Fritz Reid and Susanne Burrell to put on a show. I had only painted one painting, and I agreed to have 50 in three months. The next day I had principle dancers showing up at my door. Two thirds of the show were pre-sold. The show was held at Tom Seige's home, owner of the New Yorker club. The show was a huge success, and was repeated twice more earning the guild a half million dollars per show. During the early 90's I also taught part time at the Waterford Prep School as a teaching fellow.
The following years I did numerous portrait commissions for institutions and private individuals. I even built my own frame shop where I hand milled the moldings, and gilded my own frames. I was approached by Ray Olpin Dean of the College of arts, to teach anatomy at the University of Utah. I did not have a degree, but that didn't seem to be a problem. He would put me in the masters program, then I would work on the Bachelors degree.
He asked me to bring in several figure works. As they were displayed in the deans office the various professors giggled, snickered and Jabbed each others with their elbows. They then in their academic tone asked me how I wold solve this visual problem? The work displayed was at least 6 feet tall, and made of ceramic. It looked no more tantalizing than that of a clay blob. My response was to tell them, " I would pick it up with a forklift, and dump it in a large dumpster."
I continued with my portraits, and painted several notable persons. The Ambassador Frank Forceberg and his wife Anne, Bishop George H. Niederauer, Sally Eccles to name just a few.
We moved to Orlando in may of 2001. I kept on with my painting portraits, I painted the conductor of the Orlando Ballet Christopher Wilkins, Buster Bradshaw, Joe Guernsey and Charley Rex. I started back again in sculpture, and did a portrait of Romano Salvitori. And did several commissions for American Bronze, including the Florida Gators and a 911 monument.
I started the Embry Riddle sculpture in 2009, and completed in 2012, with 11,700 hours of work. There was no CAD, it was drawn out with pencil and paper, and is 26 feet wide, 25 feet tall. Since then I have been focusing mostly on marble carving and anatomy studies.
I have completed two Marble Busts of Anthony Musolino, and one of Chris Wilkins, and several examples of direct carved Sculptures. I regularly go to Sylacauga Alabama to pick up my very hard Alabama marble, and regularly attend the marble festival.