Meet The Artist ... SCOTT STEARMAN

Everyday, we all have the opportunity to answer the question, “What is in my hand?” For me, the answers lie in the tools of my trade. The ideas, clay, calipers, and shapers all hold the secret to communicating with people I will never meet. I want the message to endure long after I am gone. I want the message to speak the eternal truths to a culture that needs reminding.

Scott Stearman pointing to the statues and in particular the helmet worn by Sgt. Amy Perkins with pictures of her children and her fiancé who unfortunately did not make it home from the war zone and was laid to rest.  The detail in the statues are true to the time the era and the place and come alive when you take the time to see them.

Such is the life of a sculpture. The clay model sits in front of me on the table, life ever so slowly coming to the figures as I shape the details, hour upon hour.  It’s time consuming, tedious work.  This model will eventually be formed into to a finished piece. But the soul is captured here, in his hands while the clay is still workable. My studio is tucked into the side of a small hill in the trees of Woodland Park, Colorado. The setting alone is a source of inspiration for me. Larger hands are actually at work, guiding my own to produce something that I hope will endure. It’s a simple equation— Faith in, faith out.

My friend is a sculptor, by Kelley Leigh
When my friend Scott starts to tell a story, a chatty room gets quiet. His stories are witty, drawn out patiently, and worth hearing. He’s like big ole’ Grizzly Adams, Will Rogers, and your favorite cousin, all wrapped together. 

A few years ago, one of my sons described Scott as a “Santa in summer.” If that’s true, then Santa lives in a big-timber log house in the mountains and does road trips on a huge yellow motorcycle with his wife Hermine.

People listen to Scott. And, Scott leans in to listen to people. That is probably why he’s so outstanding at what he does. Scott Stearman is a sculptor. He tells his stories in bronze.

Bronze sculptures are timeless containers for our collective stories. What sculptures capture in the present, they continue to speak long into the ages. Bronzes outlive the generations that birth them. They preside over public places and whisper their history into the present. Like no other artform, they withstand the weather of time, and tirelessly ask the future to pause and remember.

Scott’s studio and partner foundry are here in Colorado, but his work permanently stands and whispers in places like universities, city squares, military memorials, hospitals, financial institutions — all over the country.

One of my favorite things about Scott’s work is the layers of detailed symbolism he includes. It’s like playing “I Spy” to find the embedded messages.

For instance, one of his military sculpture includes details only a soldier will notice. This is the sculpture for the Inverness Service Memorial

  • A wristwatch set to 9:11 as a nod to the New York terrorist attacks.
  • A picture of a soldier’s fiance’ tucked in a helmet.
  • A metal feather taken from Sadam Hussein’s palace — placed on the ground under a boot, in symbol of defeat.
  • A right shoulder empty of gear, and one knee-pad on a right-knee, for a rifleman’s clear shot.
  • A wedding ring quietly speaking it’s promise to someone back home.

The stories embedded in his work are rich and varied. And he continues to cover new territory with his sculpture. We’ll hear more about Scott as his next projects unfold and more stories are told.  This is what I wrote, in black Sharpie marker, on a locker door in Scott’s studio.

“In this space, our friend shows us life. When he creates with clay, he makes something from nothing, truth from dirt, beauty from earth. He points us to our creator.” True that.

Many years ago I was approached by a compassionate ministry organization with the request that I create a new sculpture that could represent their work. My goal was to sculpt a piece that could could tell their story but also represent the story of compassion that is present in every group who is stepping into that hard place.

The motivation for a design can come from many different places.

In the mid 1980s a lot of us remember that the famine in Africa held our attention. Every night on the evening news we saw graphic examples of extreme human need. Speeches were given, money was raised and everyone sang “We Are The World.”

Eventually, the images faded and lost their edge,
the money was dispersed, and the song felt old.
For most of us, the memory is dull and the m
ovies, in our mind have long been traded for new ones.  But everyday…somewhere in this world  one scene replays…as if the author of human suffering constantly rehearses his dark drama.

They’re  always there…these hands…reaching a scoop of rice…a bit of bread… a cup of water…so simple “And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42