College Commissions Artist Chris Navarro for Innovative Contemporary Bronze Sculpture
Award-winning artist and rodeo competitor Chris Navarro, is no stranger to danger or intimidating creatures. Now, exactly 27 years after trading his lasso for a chisel on March 13, 1986, the bull rider-turned-sculptor confronts yet another ferocious animal and one of his greatest challenges.
Commissioned by the Casper College Board of Trustees to create a contemporary bronze sculpture of the T.rex dinosaur, Navarro will bring the toothy carnivore that roamed the earth 65 million years ago back to life in his monumental signature style. Titled "Essence of Rex," Navarro's innovative design will cast the prehistoric predator in a "new light" for the college's Tate Museum in Wyoming, where the dinosaur's fossil remains are commonly found.
"I've never sculpted a skeletal framework," Navarro explains. "To bring it to life, I have to inject emotion into it. I want to give it the 'wow' factor."
The T. Rex will stand 11.5 feet high, 23.5 feet long and seven feet wide, with a massive 4-foot long jaw lined with serrated teeth. Weighing four tons, the "Essence of Rex" will display the dinosaur's skeleton on one side while the other will look completely fleshed out. Navarro plans to run an internal lighting system through the sculpture radiating all the way up through the eyes for a special effect.
"I look forward to the challenge," says Navarro, who will start the sculpture in June. Often referred to as "the Remington of Our Time," Navarro will complete the work one year and claims there will be nothing else like it anywhere.
Since exchanging his rodeo ropes and saddles for the sculptor's loops and calipers nearly three decades ago, the Wyoming native has created more than 200 contemporary bronze sculptures shown in 10 galleries across the nation, including his own Navarro Gallery at Tlaquepaque in Sedona. Collectors vie for his limited-edition large bronze sculptures that have won awards for capturing all the beauty and glory of the West.
"Family, horses, rodeo and art have been the driving passions of my life," Navarro says. "As in art and life, if what you create is real, it's done with genuine emotions. As a sculptor, I re-create my experiences and bring them to life in bronze images of the West, both contemporary and past, but with an intimacy of detail that reflects my knowledge and understanding of the roots of Western tradition."
Navarro has created more than 25 monumental sculptures gracing public places and museums across the nation, including the National Cowboy Hall Of Fame. Despite the extraordinary amount of time and labor such projects require, Navarro says it provides great satisfaction. "To know that my work will last long after I'm gone for future generations to enjoy is really rewarding."
"Life is art and art is life," Navarro says. "I really love what I do, and I don't ever plan on retiring."
About Chris Navarro: Chris Navarro, founder of the Navarro Gallery at Tlaquepaque in Sedona, Ariz., has created more than 200 contemporary bronze sculptures capturing the spirit of the West. His award-winning bronze sculptures for sale are prized by collectors and represented by galleries throughout the country. He divides his time between Casper, Wyoming, and Sedona, where the people, land, history and wildlife inspire his creations.