Neal McEwen, Bronze Sculptor
Neal McEwen's path as a bronze sculptor seemed destined from early childhood. Coming from two generations of central Montana ranchers, his spiritual and historical roots are firmly embedded in the West. At the age of five, he created his first homage to the working cowboy—a clay sculpture of horse and rider—for which he received his first artistic acclaim as his work circulated through the Fergus County Montana schools.
After being "sidetracked" by a successful 25-year career in business in Albuquerque, New Mexico, McEwen finally chose to follow his heart. In 1992, he undertook the serious study of sculpture, particularly bronze sculpture, at the Loveland Art Academy, in Loveland, Colorado, and the Fechin Institute, in Taos, New Mexico. The techniques learned there coupled with the tutelage of several internationally renowned professional sculptors, including Hollis Williford, Veryl Goodnight, and Fritz White, only enhanced his desire to express the Old West and Native American cultures in the lost-wax bronze medium.
Working on Montana ranches in his youth, McEwen developed a deep affection for both the quarter-horse and wild mustang. His appreciation of these magnificent animals is reflected in his sculptures that depict not only delicate details but the relationship between rider and horse, as shown in the Reverie bronze. More of the Old West is represented in Horse Soldier, and his affinity for Native American traditions is evidenced in the Shawl Dancer, Sentinel and Test of Wills bronze sculptures.
McEwen's work can be found in private collections throughout the country, and he was awarded a recent corporate sponsorship for a series of commemorative medals. His larger-than-life bronze statue of Willis Whitfield (shown right) has graced the exterior of Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, since August 2007. (Read the Whitfield bronze creation story at lost-wax bronze medium.)
Along with spending time sculpting in his studio, McEwen is frequently called on by local horse owners for his farrier skills—shoeing horses and trimming hooves. McEwen and his wife, Linda, reside near Prescott, Arizona, and have only to look out their windows to see wide open spaces, chapparrel-covered mountains and the occasional coyote, deer or antelope. For McEwen, the West isn't an unknown concept from a history book; it's part of his existence as he recalls his Montana upbringing, surveys his Arizona surroundings, tends to horses and brings life to his latest bronze sculpture.
Bronze sculptor Neal McEwen at work in his studio.
Preparing for the unveiling of the Willis Whitfield bronze statue.
(Artist McEwen shown far right.)