A special exhibit showcases the work of two cousins who photographed bronze artists at home in their element.
For over a year, bronze specialist Erik Petersen and his photographer cousin Willie Petersen worked behind the lens capturing the hidden life of some of the nation’s top Western bronze sculptors.
Erik, who is a sculptor in his own right, has worked with dozens of Western artists, such as John Coleman, Susan Kliewer, Fred Fellows, and Bill Nebeker, on patinas and chasing—the process of piecing and welding together the cast bronze. After years of working on fine art pieces, Erik partnered with his cousin to capture the behind-the-scenes perspective of the artists where they feel most at home—inside and outside their studios. The duo wanted to shoot everything in the creative process, from what inspires them to the clay work to bringing it to life in bronze.
Erik and Willie worked with seven different artists and a select group of artisans to create the collection. Over the year and a half, they traveled to Arizona on six different trips, venturing to horse ranches, a Hopi reservation, a wildlife refuge, and other parts of Arizona.
And now the finals images are going on display.
The Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona, is hosting the special exhibit Inspiration to Creation: The Hidden Life Behind Bronze for a limited time. The exhibition, which features the portraits alongside sculpture works by the depicted artists, gives insight to the life behind bronze sculptures and the artists responsible for some of the finest pieces ever created. With photos of Ken Rowe fishing thigh-deep in Oak Creek, Deborah Copenhaver Fellows out for a morning ride, and Cowboy Artists of America president Bill Nebeker strumming his guitar, the collection creates a record of history.
Inspiration to Creation: The Hidden Life Behind Bronze is on display at the Phippen Museum from March 5 through July 17.