TROUTDALE — A Troutdale art studio has joined a global effort to marvel at the world's beauty while promoting conservation of the environment and vulnerable creatures.
Caswell Sculpture, helmed by husband and wife team Rip and Alison Caswell, is joining a National Geographic-sponsored coalition of artisans whose task is to document endangered animals through art. The goal is to spread awareness of animals at risk of becoming extinct.
The Caswells are the official sculptors for the National Geographic team.
"Art has always been our window to experience the joy and mystery of the world, and we hope that through this collection you can join us in a brand-new adventure," Rip wrote in a statement.
The Troutdale-based couple haven't stopped making art during the pandemic. Firebird Bronze, 803 N.E. Harlow Road Building A, has remained open to local artisans, with many projects being completed in spite of COVID-19. The studio has implemented sanitization practices to keep everyone safe.
Already their sculpture collection for the project includes many interesting pieces from their travels — which have been put on temporary hiatus due to the pandemic. Many of the pages for the pieces include informative videos put together by National Geographic.
"Gray Ghost" shows a bronzed kudu antelope inspired by a safari in Namibia, Africa. Kudu bulls are secretive and aloof by nature, so very few humans are able to view them in person. "Red-Crowned Cranes" shows a pair of cranes engaged in their extravagant mating dances. "Harbor Rhythm" is a statue emulating the movement of a harbor seal through the water. The statue has a base of sea kelp attached with a small amount of bronze to the seal, making it appear free-standing.
Caswell has been involved in some notable projects throughout the years.
A noted bronze sculptor in Oregon for two-plus decades, Rip Caswell has produced more than 200 bronze sculptures throughout his career, many of them for private and corporate entities, but also including notable statues of late Gov. Tom McCall on the Willamette River waterfront in Salem, a portrait of former Oregon Symphony Conductor James DePreist at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, an Oregon Iraq War memorial in Madras, and a 9/11 memorial titled "Strength of America" that sits at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Caswell also made an 8-foot-tall bronze statue of Adm. Chester W. Nimitz that was placed next to the moored USS Missouri on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
He was commissioned to do three works for the Catholic Ascension Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas, finishing the project with "Ascending Christ." The previous two works were of Mary and Joseph and the Crucifixion.
Learn more about the National Geographic project, and Caswell Sculpture, at www.caswellsculptures.com.
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