Friday, August 18, 2017

Male Model Bronze Warrior

Dear Art Lover,
Male Art model David Sackmary with artist Kelly Borsheim 2011
David Sackmary with me Nov 2011, Quattro Gallery

     Art models are often people who really appreciate the arts.  Their job is not easy, in part because the human body is not designed to remain still.  I have worked with so many wonderful and interesting art models and feel grateful for their services and participation as inspiration for the art that my colleagues and I make.

     Today, I show you a bronze sculpture inspired by a request for a company that found the annual board of directors’ gifts for Southwest Airlines many years ago.  I was asked to come up with a sculpture based on the idea of the slogan for this airline, Warrior Spirit.  I was surprised to receive this opportunity since I assumed they wanted something to do with American Indians, a subject that not only do I know very little about, but that there are plenty of sculptors who DO excel in this genre.
     While researching the concept of "Warrior Spirit" I found references to Chinese martial arts, American Indian philosophies, and even yoga practices. While the term 'warrior' seems to conjure up images relating to aggression, this is not what I found in most of my research. Instead, I read phrases such as "moving through fear," "embracing limitations," living a "joyful, courageous life," "disciplines the mind, body, and spirit," and "leads to compassion."
     A warrior develops spiritual, martial, and ethical skills. He works to obtain an impeccable character in order to serve his community and expand his consciousness. He changes his perceptions about confrontation and creates his own destiny. His strength and compassion make others feel at ease with him, which reduces conflict. In effect, the ideal goal is that he becomes one with the world around him.

Warrior Spirit bronze sculpture male model man and bird detail Borsheim

     I have always had an interest in birds, flight, and bonding with nature. I also loved watching the falconers with raptors at the Renaissance fairs. Their connection always struck me as romantic and absolutely beautiful.

     And so, the idea emerged.  I did not win the bid for Southwest Airlines, but I still liked my idea enough to move beyond my rough maquette I had put together.  With the help of the Austin Visual Arts Association [Austin, Texas], I ran an Open Studio session for sculptors.  This meant that artists wanting to paint and draw were welcome to join the group if they did not have a problem with sculptors moving our stands and art around the room as we needed to change our view, and that the model would be in the center of the room, allowing 3-d artists to have access to all views.

     The male model, David, was a real sport because I asked him to slip his arms into some straps that I suspended from the ceiling of the studio.  You might imagine how difficult it would be to hold your arms out extended for approximately 20 minutes.  How much more difficult to take a short break and resume this position you see in my sculpture “Warrior Spirit” for THREE HOURS!  And he did this a total of FOUR times in four weeks!  TWELVE HOURS of posing this way… what an athlete! 

     [On a side note:  When I work with models for sculpture, we set up the pose and I usually try to explain what I am shooting for, emotion wise, from the pose.  Then I tell the models to take breaks whenever they need to because I tend to work during the entire three hours.  I trust the models to not take too many breaks, but also to know their bodies’ needs better than I ever could.  And, if I know that I want to focus on one part of the anatomy, I will tell the model to “rest your arms and now we will work on the lower part of the body.”]

     Today is the birthday of David Sackmary, the model for “Warrior Spirit.”

Happy birthday, David!  You did some brilliant work!  Thank you!

Warrior Spirit bronze sculpture male model man and bird detail Borsheim
Design by Amber Babcock at
Here is what one appreciator wrote after I shared the work in my art newsletter:

Hi, my dear Kelly. Ohhhh, you have REALLY done it this time. I think "Warrior Spirit" is the most beautiful sculpture in the world. Your pic in clay with the green leaves as a background was also the perfect setting to bring the young warrior to life. His gracefulness really wowed me . . . I am amazed you could capture and express this pose so perfectly . . . And the portrayal of the delicate balance absolutely put goose pimples all over me . . . That man has an appreciation and a curiosity towards wildlife is evident by the expression on the warrior's face. What a fabulous accent this would make in state parks, bird sanctuaries, etc.! A view of the warrior and his hawk certainly create a proper atmosphere.
After I had read your newsletter and studied the pictures, I called to Bob to come and see the pictures of your latest. He, too, was ever so impressed with the beauty. We then went to Winter Haven with Gene and Louise Sauls for fun and early dinner. As soon as we got home, I started calling to Bob and Gene to come quick . . . We had a large but young hawk flying around our pool, trying to find his way out. Neither of the men struck a pose even close to the young warrior's! The enclosed area of the pool made the bird seem even larger and his rapid flying made everyone quickly duck. They were successful in herding the bird to freedom and tomorrow I must drag in the hose and do some cleaning! My story isn't nearly as pretty as your sculpture!
Much love
(9 September 2006; Connie Talbott, Avon Park, Florida, USA, printed with permission)
For more images of "Warrior Spirit," please visit:


Kelly Borsheim, artist

Warrior Spirit bronze sculpture male model man and bird detail Borsheim

Warrior Spirit bronze sculpture male model man and bird detail Borsheim

Warrior Spirit bronze sculpture male model man and bird detail Borsheim
detail shown in clay before casting into bronze

Warrior Spirit bronze sculpture male model man and bird detail Borsheim