15 March 2013
OK, I’ll admit it. I enjoy on occasion “playing” with clay and wax. Don’t get to do it as often as I want to, but still when there is time I do so. What all this goes back to is many years ago loving art and particularly statues that replicated animals and people. But also to a time early stages in my career when I worked with the then Texas Wildlife Disease Project, an interagency agreement between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas A&M University’s Department of Veterinary Pathology. During that time I had the opportunity to “collect” and then necropsy and dissect a tremendous number of whitetail deer and other animals found in Texas, both native and introduced. This gave me the opportunity to truly study the anatomy of many different critters. By then I had started doing taxidermy, something I did for quite a few years to help me pay for hunting trips, but also because I truly enjoyed “recreating” deer and other animals. Move forward to three years ago, when at a “hunting show” I met Mark James, a bronze artist whose work and artistry I immediately fell in love with. I loved his bronze and the “feelings” he put into his art. I was able to procure a couple of his “pieces”, one specifically being “Mountain Heir”; the antlers, head and shoulders study of a majestic 6 x 6 elk. We talked a bunch on the phone and via email. Then I asked Mark if he had ever sculpted a whitetail deer. He had not. At that point I asked him to accompany me on two mid-western whitetail deer hunts where he might closely observe whitetails, specifically mature bucks during the rut and to be able to study the anatomy of whitetail once we got one or more on the ground. On that two week long trip Mark and I began discussing a whitetail deer sculpture, a joint project where both Mark and I would work together. Mark did the armature and started applying clay, at which point he and and I got together in Milwaukee where we were both doing seminars and personal appearances. We worked long into the night on the project and it started taking shape and form. Our next opportunity came at the Dallas Safari Club Convention where we again worked on the project to near completion, the deer itself, and his antlers. By the time Mark and I left Dallas the project was essentially finished except for the base, which Mark finished once he got home to his studio in Wyoming. From there the project was sent to the foundry, one relatively close where Mark could keep a hand on all things regarding the finished limited edition bronze. Today, we have the whitetail bronze Mark James and I did jointly available for sale. The bronze at Mark’s suggestion was titled, “Mr. Whitetail”. It is a one-third life-sized bronze limited to an edition of 50. The “current” price is $6,400, which will go up as more of the edition is sold out. We’ve currently sold 15, this without any publicity or hardly letting people know about our project, which we’re marketing through MarLar Art.. Among other places you can see and order your “Mr. Whitetail” is by going to www.MarkJamesArt.com. Or if you wish you can send me a message here at www.natureblinds.com and I’ll forward it to Mark, and we’ll get the order done and completed. Some specific number of the edition have already been sold, but others remain. Mark and I have also just completed another bronze, this an antlers, head and shoulders study of another whitetail, which we’re titling “Autumn Reign”. This bronze will be limited to 270, as in one of my favorite whitetail cartridges, the .270 Winchester. Soon as it comes back from the foundry, I’ll start showing and publicizing it. Then too, we’re doing a slightly smaller version of that basic sculpture with different antlers which will be made available in a larger edition. It will essentially be cast as a “Door Knocker”, ideal for the front door, or elsewhere. Again as soon as it becomes available I’ll make everyone aware of it. Mark and I are also planning other joint art ventures, like a desert bighorn sheep bronze based on the ram I shot with Sonora Dark Horn Adventures, and possibly an African animal or two as well, plus some more North American big game animals. I would also like to invite all who read this, to visit the website mentioned before, www.MarkJamesArt.com to see the numerous other fabulous bronzes Mark has done. Many of which are currently available. His Indian sculptures are beyond description. Collectors and those who simply love fabulous bronze art are just now learning about Mark James and his artistry. The time has never been better to become a collector of Mark James bronzes.