Conversations create sculptures - Challenges create sculptures, this one began with conversations and became a challenge from a good friend and collector.
I initially, directed Jim to several sculptors, who create amazing Native American subjects. After purchasing several - he challenged me to explore the subject. Books and orations were exchanged, conversations took place and his only suggestion was to explore my home state of Idaho's Nez Perce tribe. We were both taken with Chief Joseph's orations and story. It took three years, what evolved is three sculptures - this is the first one.
One cannot think of the Plains and Mountain Indians of the West without the horse. They are woven into their life and identity. On one of our journeys while traveling on a two lane highway across reservation land. As we came over a rise, a young boy was riding bare back along the fence line at full gallop. This was a beautiful and amazing sight to see. The ease at which this boy rode as his horse charged forward, that image will stay with me forever.
What evolved was Pure Freedom, a sculpture that expresses; confidence, skill, trust, understanding, relationships, control and spirituality all wrapped up in an adolescent. The posture not just riding with no hands, his arms cast back, eyes closed—a confident—daredevil—free spirit.
The horse, a large Appaloosa, (no boy with confidence would pick a small horse), which the Nez Perce were noted for with a large body, Roman nose and rat tail. The horse is gelded to suggest the Nez Perce's selective breeding skills. Something that was not a common practice among the Native Americans. The horse is portrayed in a cantor to express an ease, enjoyment of experience, a love of freedom, and a special bond. The geometric base supports the sculpture, but more importantly is a window to freedom, no hoof touching the ground.
One of the great elements of creating is how happenstance can play such a critical role in bringing a sculpture to fruition. I was struggling with sculpting the young Native American boy. There were few historical photos found in my research. As happenstance would have it I met Shane and his son CJ, the perfect Nez Perce model.
The sculpture represents everything the Native American's fought and struggled not to lose or sacrifice; Simple and Pure Freedom.