Sculptor Scott Rogers enjoys creating works in front of a live audience
Utah-based visual artist Scott Rogers loves when people watch him create sculptures.
"I’ve done that since 1994, so this is my 21st year that I’ve been sculpting live in a gallery setting," Rogers told The Park Record. "I really enjoy it and it keeps me close to the people who collect my work."
Rogers likes the interaction with the audience.
"People tell me whether or not I’ve got a good one going," he said. "A lot of the time those who come in and see what I’m doing have no idea what to expect. So, when they see, for the lack of a better word, the guts of what I do, they appreciate it more."
Rogers will be at Lund’s Fine Art, 591 Main St., from Oct. 29 to Oct. 31 and is looking forward to creating new works.
"I sculpt with an oil-based clay that never dries out," he said. "I’ve got clay that’s 15 years old that I reuse over and over again. But once I sculpt a piece out of clay, the foundry takes over and cast the sculpture into bronze."
Rogers’ love of sculpture stems from his uncle, the late renowned Western Art sculptor Grant Speed.
"Uncle Grant was the sculptor of the Old West, kind of pre-1900 West of the Mississippi, and I’ll never forget going on a trip with Uncle Grant to one of his art shows in Kerrville, Texas," Rogers said. "I was able to drive him down and spend a few days with him.
At that time, Rogers was in his early 20s and didn’t draw, paint or sculpt.
"I couldn’t believe how fun it was," he said. "We had dinner with the heir of the Stetson Hat family and lunch with the Wurlitzer jukebox people and bull-riding champs and singer and actor Red Steagall, all of these people who gravitated to this world."
Rogers never dreamed he would end up doing the same thing.
"But nine years later I began sculpting and I’ve been doing that for 25 years," he said. "My work is a cross between Uncle Grant and another fellow, Fritz White, who was my mentor."
Rogers is known for sculpting images from the Old West, as well as animals and works that emit a spiritual aura. The Old West was in the back of his mind because of his mother.
"As a child growing up, my mother never encouraged me to read, but she was an incredible reader," Rogers said. "One of the authors she read was Louis L’Amour. It was not too common for a woman to read his westerns.
"Now, you wouldn’t pick her to do that, because I never saw her wear a cowboy hat or boots, but she would read all of his books," he said. "The moment she would lay one of those books down, I’d pick it up and disappear into the barn or the woods until I finished that thing."
L’Amour led Rogers to Zane Grey, Max Brown and ‘The Leatherstalking’ tales by James Fenimore Cooper. Rogers also dabbled in bull riding at that time.
"One thing led to another, so when it came time and I finally chose to sculpt, it was a natural for me to go that direction," he said. "My very first piece was a bull rider who was about to be gored and a rodeo clown coming to save his life.
"That was the side of bull riding that I knew, because I wasn’t very good, even though I loved the sport," Rogers said. "So that’s what I sculpted."
As far as his spiritual works go, Rogers has created a maquette of "The Last Supper." He has already sold 16 and one is currently on display at Lund’s Fine Art.
"I had actually researched ‘The Last Supper’ off and on for 15 years before I ever touched clay on my piece, to see if there were any versions other than the Leonardo da Vinci work, and saw every artist that I looked up had copied Leonardo’s composition."
So, Rogers decided to do something different.
"I took one year in 2009, the only sculpture I touched was the one of my own composition," he said. "I wanted it to be more realistic, so I didn’t put them on a high table, because they didn’t sit at tables like that back in that day."
One of Rogers’ goals is to sculpt a larger-than-life version of the work.
"I just need to raise the funds," he said. "It will probably be a five-year project, as far as I can estimate."
Throughout his career, Rogers has found his occupation isn’t what he considers work. It’s something more esoteric.
"When I tap into the creative side, it’s almost like I’m living a calling," he said. "I forget about time and money, and try to create the finest piece that I can. I become a witness to watch what happens, to watch the miracle however they manifest themselves."
Lund’s Fine Art, 591 Main St., will welcome sculptor Scott Rogers, who will sculpt live in the evenings of Oct. 29 through Oct. 31. For more information, visit lundsfineartgallery.com or call 435-655-4349.
Summit County gardeners can purchase local-climate friendly plants and seeds to grow this season