What defines great art? In the film, Mona Lisa Smile, Ms. Watson asks her class this question in hopes that they will think past textbook logic and consider art simply for what it is. As an interior designer, I like to find and explore how things are created.
On my recent trip to Santa Barbara, I visited the Art Foundry and I was introduced to the work of Tim “Frogman” Cotterill, an English artist who creates unique bronze sculptures radiant in color and creativity. The Frogman describes his art as "Elegant, stylish, whimsical, unique and pure fun," of which I completely agree. While frogs often symbolize things such as good luck, royalty, fertility, energy and charm, they are fairly simple yet mysterious in their ways; a trait the Frogman has enjoyed bringing to life through bronze sculptures.
"Frogs are fun creatures! I have tried to capture their individual spirit, their fun, and their joy. Life is fun! I hope my art brings more happiness and joy into your life."
During my visit, I was lucky enough to take part in the Frogman tour, a behind-the-scenes exploration of how bronze is sculpted and heated to obtain such bright and energetic colors as created by Tim Cotterill. It was fascinating to learn about the bronze casting process, including the casting of cow skulls.
Before the tour began, we watched a short film showing how the Frogman makes his jewel-like bronze creations. Originally from Leicester, England, the Frogman traded in his engineering gloves for a studio in California, a place he was extremely attracted to after a visit. He graced the streets of fairs and festivals wearing his homemade frog tights and grew his reputation as a talented and colorful artist.
The Frogman uses the technique of Lost Wax Casting Technique, a tactic invented by the Egyptians thousands of years ago. Through this extremely tedious process over the course of several days, a beautiful, unique frog creation is made and featured in galleries around the world. Check out the video of his process here.
“My work as a sculptor evolved as I refined my technique, and my personal artistic vision began to take shape. I felt a real sense of purpose unfolding, my imagination thriving in the creation of a succession of metal sculptures. My love of nature became the inspiration for the images I fabricated. Two distinctly contrasting concepts harmoniously coexisted in both my mind and my tiny workspace.” – Tim “Frogman” Cotterill.
Photo Credit: Santa Barbara Art Foundry