A Montana native, Fred Boyer has won awards and recognition worldwide for his bronze wildlife sculptures. A Living Legend sculptor, Boyer depicts nature frozen for a moment in time, portraying life in the wild as simple and ruthless, majestic and pure.
Boyer has traveled the world but has remained close to his roots in Anaconda Montanas, where he grew up, went to high school, and went on to major in art education at Montana State University in Bozeman. Although Boyer studied sculpture in college, he didn’t get really serious with sculpture until he had been teaching for 5-6 years.
His family recognized his artistic talents early.
“I was always painting or drawing” he says, crediting an aunt, whom he considered an accomplished artist, as an inspiration.
After graduating from college, he went to Sitka, Alaska, where he taught art in the public schools and worked as a hunting guide in the summers. He loves Alaska, but Montana kept calling him back home. He returned to Montana and taught art in the public schools for 14 years.
“Teaching art is a learning experience for the teacher as well as the student,” Boyer said, recollecting his years in the education profession.
Boyer builds the underlying structure, or “armature,” of the piece with wire and Styrofoam, which he can then carve to produce the basic shape. He covers this with clay that he’s melted to the consistency of peanut butter. The clay he uses is Plastalina, a mixture of Microcrystalyn wax (unrefined paraffin), Kaolin, and mineral oil, which he keeps in a heated fridge in a corner of the studio.
This underlying clay remains very pliable, so Boyer can continue to make adjustments to the model’s position, even lop off a limb, should something be dissatisfactory in the process. To translate his measurements onto the piece, he employs an architect’s rule, which allows him to scale the work.
Learn more about Fred Boyer and his work at fredboyer.com.