Jim Gion -ArtDog- Sculptor

Jim and Shadow

About My Work

Biography

Profile

Philosophy

Artist's Statement

Portraits of People

Portraits of Animals

Major Commission Works

Biography


Jim Gion was born in Oregon and began playing with clay as a youngster. Since that time his interest in making sculptural images has never flagged. Even while serving in Vietnam he sought out an old Vietnamese sculptor who taught him to make bronze castings.

After returning from Vietnam, Jim studied Fine Arts at Oregon State University and Portland State University. Jim graduated from Oregon State with his B. A. in 1976 and then returned to Asia where for ten years he lived and worked in Japan, maintaining a studio and producing numerous works in clay and plaster.

Since returning to the U.S. in 1984, he has continued to work in bronze and other media including terra cotta, raku, steel, glass, and cast paper.

Profile


Jim’s work is in international collections, and he has completed commissions for private and religious organizations. His mastery of clay and bronze has been praised by both individual and corporate clients. Jim has been featured in magazine and newspaper articles on numerous occasions. Animal Planet has included segments of him working on figurines of championship dogs for the Eukanuba championship trophy during their national broadcast of the AKC/Eukanuba Championship show several years in a row. On January 11, 2005, Deborah Wood referred to him as “The head master” in an article she wrote for The Oregonian. Deborah also wrote a feature article on Jim entitled “Capturing the Essence” for the December 2004 edition of the AKC Gazette. His work was featured on the cover of the October 15, 2009 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Hundreds of satisfied customers are a testament to Jim’s communication skills, his ability to bid projects accurately, and his commitment to deliver his work on time. Throughout his career he has shown he is able to work within an established budget, whether the project was a large monument such as the nine-foot-high bronze columns for the Japanese American Historical Plaza in downtown Portland, or a four-inch-high bronze figurine of a Bichon Frise for the IAMS pet care department of Proctor & Gamble. Over the past five years, he has successfully completed an average of 35 commissioned bronze sculptures a year.

Jim is interested in non-profit and community work. He has donated his time and art to help with fundraising for the Oregon Humane Society, Parkrose School District and other non-profit groups. In 1997 he volunteered to teach a year long course in portraiture at Parkrose High School and in 1998 he modeled and donated a one half life sized bronze figurine of the “Prescott Panther,” the school mascot, to Prescott Elementary School in Portland. He occasionally makes trips to Vietnam where he is an official guest artist of Maison Chance, a not-for-profit organization that helps orphans and physically disabled people in Ho Chi Minh City.

Philosophy


Artist’s Statement

Clay may be the most humble substance on the planet – the Earth itself, trod upon, dug up, shaped, and slowly returned to its humble beginnings time and again. Its simplicity, combined with its limitless potential, has made it a great source of joy and adventure in my life. Like many children, I began playing with clay when I was young. But when I was twelve, I began to see more than stick figures and crocodiles. I sat down and tried to make a head of my favorite uncle, my first portrait. When I saw for the first time how clay can come alive and capture the feeling of a person or a moment, I knew that this was what I would be doing for the rest of my life.


I am moved by the concrete specifics of my life more than any abstract conception of underlying principles. I am more interested in the reality of the woman sitting across from me in a coffee shop than in that of “the ideal beauty.” I have always tried to express larger archetypal concepts in the way that I experience them, that is through the particularity of the individual. I don’t mean that I am a slave to detail and spend endless hours polishing ringlets of hair or trying to recreate the shape of thread running through the button holes in a costume. It is not my intent to convince you that clay is anything other than clay. What I set out to do is to make the people or events being depicted feel as real to you as they are for me. I work in a simple and straightforward way that does not sacrifice the beauty of the form to the beauty of the material.

Portraits of People

Working with a model is one of the things I enjoy about making sculpture. I never ask that my model sit in the same place or look in the same direction for more than a few minutes at a time. Usually I find myself engaged in a relaxed two-way conversation about whatever our mutual interests are. It is in this conversational atmosphere that the shape and feeling of the portrait develop. In this way I am able to make a piece that is not just a ‘dead likeness’, but instead is a lively representation of the life and character of the person modeling. When we are finished I have gained a deeper understanding of who my model is and of who I am myself. That ultimately is why I am making art. 

A completed portrait becomes a touchstone for the past and a foundation stone on which future tradition will rest. It provides a sense of continuity that serves as an anchor to future generations giving them an animated sense of the character and spirit of their ancestors. A portrait affords us an opportunity to tell them who they have come from and to give them a leg up in the adventure of finding out who they are. It is an expression of love for those children we will never know but who will carry forward our consciousness and the work of discovering what a human being can be.

 

Portraits of Animals

The process of making a portrait sculpture of your animal involves three or four sittings of one to two hours each. In some cases, I can work from photos only, if you can provide me with enough shots from various angles. However, I would rather have the animal with me in the beginning. During the first sitting I will take a set of measurements of the animal as well as a series of photographs. Usually I am able to capture the shape of the head in two or three sittings over the course of a three or four-day dog show. The photographs will provide me with the information I need to finish detailing the piece in my studio if I am unable to complete it at the show. It generally takes 14 to 16 weeks to deliver the piece after the modeling is completed. If you are thinking of commissioning a portrait and do not live in the Portland area, then contact me before one of the shows I will be attending and set up an appointment to begin work at the show.

Major Commission Works


  • 2011 “Immigrant”, life-sized bronze statue commissioned by Parkrose Business Association, Portland, Oregon
  • 2010 Bronze portraits of Robert Pamplin Jr. and Mr. Floyd Aylor as young Cadets
  • 2010 One and half sized bronze figure sculpture of “Zelda”, the English bulldog star of Zelda Wisdom commissioned by The Banfield Pet Hospital and donated to Heathman Hotel, Portland, Oregon
  • 2009 “Lunch Break”,  a life sized pride of bronze lions commissioned by The Banfield Pet Hospital and donated to Oregon Zoo, Portland, Oregon
  • 2008 Two thirds life sized bronze figure sculpture of an otter hound commissioned by Mark and Ann Hawley and donated to The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2008 Two copies of “The Caring Doctor”, a life sized bronze figure group of veterinarian and animals; Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California, and Banfield, The Pet Hospital headquarters, Portland, Oregon
  • 2008 Life sized bronze figure of Bill Grigsby; the National Golf Club of Kansas City, Parkville, Missouri
  • 2007 High-relief bronze sculpture of “Chance” and “Gremlin”, two horses belonging to  Dr. David Ramsey, Williamston, Minnesota
  • 2006 Life sized bronze figure sculpture of “Sunny”, an Irish setter pointing a  pheasant; Ron Talmage, River Cliff Farm, Corbett, Oregon
  • 2005-2009   Total of 9 bronze portrait busts of Trejo family members, McAllen, Texas
  • 2005 Life sized bronze figure sculpture of a Springer Spaniel commissioned by the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association and installed at the Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tennessee
  • 2005 Gargoyles – 6 dog heads; Banfield, The pet hospital headquarters, Portland, Oregon
  • 2005 Bronze portrait bust of Tommy Millner; CEO Cabellas, High Point, North Carolina
  • 2004 Half life sized bronze crucifix, Griffith Center, Milwaukie, Oregon
  • 2003 Life sized bronze figure sculpture of “Max” the yellow lab; Oregon Garden, Silverton, Oregon
  • 2003 Bronze portrait bust of Walter Cole “Darcelle”; Portland, Oregon
  • 2002-present   Figure of the Best in Show winner  of the AKC/Eukanuba Championship placed on the trophy for the following year;  Proctor & Gamble, Dayton, Ohio
  • 2001-2008   Bronze portrait bust of Rudy Boyd, Percival Boyd, David Boyd, Dick Boyd; Boyd Coffee Company, Portland, Oregon
  • 2000 Life sized bulldog “Tucker” school mascot; Norfolk Academy, Norfolk, Virginia
  • 1998 Bronze bas-relief portrait of Mike Smith and Rory Draeger; Evergreen Airlines, McMinnville, Oregon
  • 1996 Portrait bust of Robert Pamplin Jr.; Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon
  • 1992 Sculptural Columns, “Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience “; Japanese American Historical Plaza, Portland, Oregon
  • 1992 Life sized bronze St. Mary; St Mary’s Catholic Church, Albany, Oregon
  • 1991 Twice life sized bronze seal; Barbara Sue Seal Real Estate, Portland, Oregon
  • 1990 Crucifix and bas-relief Madonna and Child; St. Joseph’s Care Center, Olympia, Washington.
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Jim Gion -Art Dog- Sculptor © 2013 | Email: contactjim@artdog.info Phone: (503)408-8241