Sculptor/artist praises public-art effort

'Sentinel' by Thomas Hoppin.'Sentinel' (1849) by Thomas F. Hoppin, the sculpture on which the Robbins dog was probably based.

Lori Betz, a sculptor/artist in Houston, Texas, has expressed enthusiasm about the project and outlined the approach she would take.

"We are very excited to be helping [to bring this project] to Robbins Farms .... [It] will be a wonderful addition to the community," she wrote in an email in September.

"Public art benefits the entire community, and it is important that we, as a community, support our public art programs."

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She expressed admiration for those raising money to make this a reality.

Once she starts work on the project, she said it normally takes about five months to complete.

She said her company uses "lost-wax method" of casting bronze, an ancient technique that is labor-intensive but produces the best results.

All who work at Betz Art Foundry are artists, she said.

"Why is that important? Because if you are creating sculpture, it is very important to know what you are looking at from an artist's viewpoint
in order to know what the sculpture 'should' look like when it is finished, as opposed to a mechanic who can do the same process but during the assemblage will not have the knowledge to see the subtle differences and nuances.

"For instance, we had an artist bring us her mold for a life-sized woman, and she was not an artist. She did everything on the computer and wanted Betz Art Foundry to cast it for her.

"The finished product was 'accurate' but looked very odd. Why? Because the pupils in the eyes were way too large, and they caught the light wrong, which made the sculpture look dazed and confused, almost like a death mask, which was not the artists'/designers' intent.

"The original designer could not figure out was wrong with the sculpture, but when she brought it to us, because we are artists, we immediately figured out her problem and fixed the sculpture for her.

"So we bring a different feel and better sensibility to the process, which can make all the difference in the world in how a work of art comes out in the final process."

This story was published Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013

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