Art on a Whim presents sculptor Don DeMott in Breckenridge
What: Meet artist Don DeMott and view his sculptures
When: Friday, Jan. 29 and Saturday, Jan. 30 from noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Art on a Whim Gallery, 100 N. Main St. Breckenridge
Similar to so many others, Don DeMott’s life took a major turn after his first foray into the wondrous forests and mountains of Colorado. Unlike most people in the world, DeMott has been able to take his experience and turn it into something that strikes awe in others. DeMott captures Colorado’s aspen groves and pine forests in his artwork.
DeMott has been sculpting since he was 15 years old. He learned to weld from his brother John, who is also an accomplished artist. Together, they created and sold thousands of metal sculptures while doing business as the DeMott Corporation. Stores such as Macy’s, J.C. Penney’s, Broadway and Bullocks featured their sculptures in their collections. Many of the sculptures depicted sailboats set on stone bases. DeMott’s early mix of metal and stone still informs his work today. However, the subject matter has shifted to reflect something much closer to his heart and his adopted home state of Colorado.
DeMott’s transformative drive through Colorado took place in 1979. His favorite song was “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver. Inspired by Denver’s skilled lyricism, DeMott detoured through Colorado on his way from Texas back to California.
“I was a big John Denver fan and that drive over Wolf Creek Pass and down into Durango was like something straight out of ‘Rocky Mountain High,’” he said in a statement. “Aspens have been stuck in my head ever since.”
Shortly after that life-altering drive, DeMott began using the materials he had mastered for his early work and began sculpting and welding aspen groves set on alabaster bases. Fittingly, he sold his first aspen sculpture at John Denver’s auction to benefit his Windstar Project in 1981. DeMott recently shared a fantastic picture of John Denver holding the piece on stage while Jimmy Buffett stood behind him as the auctioneer.
DeMott’s work begins with finding an alabaster stone or two to set the tone and composition of his sculpture. In a piece such as “Blue River Aspens,” DeMott found two stones whose shapes mirror each other to create the feel of a river flowing through a narrow canyon. DeMott will spend hours digging through piles of stone to find just the right piece to bring back to his studio.
Once back in the studio, DeMott begins the painstaking process of shaping and welding steel rods into perfectly shaped tree trunks. Just like in the wild, no tree trunk is the same shape or size.
DeMott will have five of his sculptures on display in Art on a Whim’s Breckenridge gallery throughout the duration of the International Snow Sculpture Competition. DeMott will be in the gallery meeting visitors and collectors alike this weekend.
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