Featured Member

Each month a new Featured Member is chosen from the completed member profiles on our website. Their interview and work is highlighted on our blog and social media. Visit our archive of past Featured Members.

June 2017

  • Kirk McGuire
  • Kirk McGuire
  • Kirk McGuire
  • Kirk McGuire
  • Kirk McGuire
  • Kirk McGuire
  • Kirk McGuire

Kirk McGuire

San Francisco, Ca

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was literally born an artist, and from the young age of only four I was noticeably artistic, I amazed my kindergarten teachers and friends with my ‘born skills’ for drawing. Or sculpting ceramic animals, and nature scenes. Born in raised in the Sierra Foothills in Placerville California. I grew up hiking almost daily in the forest near my home, studying any kind of nature and wildlife I could soak in, including, insects, birds, mammals and especially amphibians and reptiles.

As well, I grew up mesmerized by the strange and unusual creatures of the ocean. Watching every Jacques Cousteau television special I could, and reading old National Geographics by an oil lantern while away with family at my grandmother’s cabin, high in the Sierra. Strangely enough, I was not able to even see the ocean until I was around seventeen years old. Soon after finishing high school, I attended American River community college and was up for a Grant to attend the California arts & crafts college in Oakland. At the time my college art teacher advised me not to go to college and said I was a natural born artist, and that it would Mess me up!

I expanded my creative sculpting talents into learning the fine art of bronze sculpting/casting. In 1984 at age twenty-three I moved to Monterey Bay to get a job working at a bronze foundry because I wanted to do bronze instead of ceramics. There I was hired and I began a nine-year apprenticeship at the Monterey Sculpture Center where I learned and perfected my technique, ultimately becoming a master sculptor and mold maker, specializing in bronze marine life. 
I have always used my imagination, and hands in a way that harmonized with my obsession with nature. I hope through my sculpture to bring an awareness of the land and sea around us and to the animals that live here. Every living thing has beauty and I try to show this. Please respect our planet, respect mother earth.

What is your favorite tool and why?

My favorite tool, or tools are handmade sculpting tools from bronze welding rod. Made by myself making them tailored to my specific needs, thus making them ‘favorites’.

Which materials do you create with most and what is your attraction to using them?

I used to sculpt with plastalina oil clay, then I switched to sculpting directly in foundry wax. My attraction is wax is sturdier and allows me to sculpt without the need for armatures.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I have always been obsessed with our Oceans and the variety of amazing wildlife. It is my inspiration! I’m fascinated in particular by the unusual and unique species. I am also inspired by the bronze age of man. I sculpt in a way that shows an emphasis on balance, harmony, movement and rhythm giving my creations an ‘organic’ feeling. Every living thing has beauty and I try to show this.

How long have you been working in metals and what brought you into this field?

I have been a bronze sculptor for over 32 years now. I had studied and worked in many mediums by the time I was twenty. Bronzes attracted me because they are here forever! Not that I want to be an immortal, but the idea of having my sculptures, possibly salvaged from the bottom of the ocean like an ancient artifact appealed to me. We have bronzes in art museums that were found and once cleaned of barnacles they are beautifully preserved, since bronze does not rust or corrode… It will be around far longer than all of us.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in metals?

Safety first! Wear respirators, gloves and so on. ‘Hands on’ is better than any book! If you can self-teach, or get a job as an apprentice working in the field you are attracted to.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a metal artist and have you overcome it, or how are you working to overcome it?

I would say the biggest challenge for most is becoming a marketer, or salesman of your work. I have overcome it. I never had to do consignment in galleries. I was able to sell my work outright to art galleries plus they paid for the shipping of purchased bronzes. By doing the work myself, my quality standards were the best.

As well since I did most everything I was able to offer a very attractive wholesale price to these various galleries. Sadly, nowadays Galleries in my opinion are archaic. I stopped working with galleries years, ago. I now only make internet sales, or sales by social media and or commissioned work.

Favorite resource/vendor or website you would like to share?

There are many online websites I like for selling and, or showing my work. I would have to say Etsy is my favorite one.