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Spotlighting the work of artisans Sundie and Brad Ruppert

"Monarch Butterflies" | Bronze | 2.5 x 4 inches each | 2016

Illuminations: Ones to watch

Spotlighting the work of sculptor Bryce Pettit

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

Synchronicity A Voice in Stone Equus The Archie Bray Foundation Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Artist Ralph Wiegmann Ones to Watch: Artchitect Candace Miller Ones to Watch: Architect George Gibson Ones to Watch: Architect Nick Deaver Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen Ones to Watch: Painter Brianne Janes Ones to Watch: Danae Bennett Miller Ones to Watch: Mark Edward Adams Ones to Watch: Josh Chandler Ones to Watch: Tony Abeyta Ones to Watch: Robert Spooner Marcus Ones to Watch: Ken Andrews Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler Ones to Watch: Jim Dayton Ones to Watch: Rahnee Gladwin Ones to Watch: Geoffrey Warner Ones to Watch: Gwen Samuels Ones to Watch: Kensuke Yamada Ones to Watch: Michael Greenspan Ones to Watch: Chuck Middlekauff Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Sculptor Carol Alleman Ones to Watch: Artist Kathleen Dunphy Ones to Watch: Jeweler Jesse Monongye Ones to Watch: Michael Ross Ones to Watch: Furniture maker Charise Buckley Ones to Watch: Sculptor Charles Ringer Ones to Watch: David Slonim Ones to Watch: Catherine Courtenaye Ones to Watch: Ironworker Ted Docteur Ones to Watch: Evert Sodergren Ones to Watch: Jacquelyn Bischak Ones to Watch: Guilloume Ones to Watch: David Coffin Ones to Watch: Francis Di Fronzo Ones to Watch: Jeff Pugh Ones to Watch: Geoff Parker Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Dean Mabe Ones to Watch: Shelley Muzylowski Allen Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Ones to Watch: Architect Tim Belton Ones to Watch: Anne Moore Ones to Watch: Painter Flavia Eckholm Ones to Watch: Clive Tyler Ones to Watch: Weaver Cheryl Samuel Ones to Watch: Painter Gavin Brooks Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Ones to Watch: Jared Sanders Ones to Watch: Shawna Moore Ones to Watch: Aleta Pippin Ones to Watch: Rene Gibson Ones to Wacth Ones to Watch: Mike Krupnick Ones to Watch: Matt Smith Ones to Watch: Stacy Robinson Ones to Watch: Dean L. 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LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to Watch Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
August | September 2017


Sculptor Bryce Pettit went to school for biology and ecology but knew that as soon as he graduated, he needed to sculpt. His background in science and passion for art made for a perfect match.

“My art philosophy is: you put good things into your life, good things into all you do, and good things will come out,” he says. “So I spend a lot of time outside, reading, doing things I love, and it comes out in my art. Sometimes the piece refers to a story or an experience I’ve had while on the river or hiking. I’ll have 20 ideas and maybe only get to two of those. These are the ones I totally can’t leave alone.”

Pettit goes straight to the clay with his ideas. Trying woodcarving, he felt limited by the medium, “but when you’re sculpting clay, whatever you can dream up you can do. You can move things around, add or subtract from the composition, right up to the very end,” he says.

He’ll sculpt two or three versions of something and then pare it down to a single piece. Once the piece is finished to his satisfaction in clay, Pettit takes it to the foundry where it’s transformed into bronze.

When he first started sculpting in bronze, he was involved in every step of the process, everything from the molds to the patinas. “As I’ve become busier, I’ve gotten away from the production aspect,” he says. ”But the patinas are something I still like to play around with, and the little birds were the first time I realized I couldn’t tell my story with the traditional brown bronze. In order to do it justice in bronze, I needed those colors.”

Color works especially well in his smaller pieces of monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, red cardinals and bunnies — the trueness of color that Pettit teases from the metal is astonishing. “I wanted to show the colors to fully express the songbird,” he says.

Pettit has known patina artist Nathan Bennett for more than 20 years. “We can sit down and talk about what I’m looking for as far as color, and he can develop whole new techniques to express what I need to do with the piece,” he says. “He knows all the chemistry and understands the process.”

For the birds, Pettit does a high polish then lays a transparent coat of color over the top, bringing out the best of the color as well as the bronze itself.

“If I do a butterfly with a traditional patina, it looks like a dead butterfly, and a butterfly is pretty,” he says. “That’s what I want, a pretty butterfly.”

Another aspect of his work is his ability to incorporate narrative. For example, he was out birdwatching and came across a cotillion of terns on migration. The terns migrate from the South Pole to the North Pole every year.

“I was thinking about my kids and how important they are. … You know, ‘to the ends of the earth,’” he says. “And so I felt that a sculpture of these terns would be a beautiful piece to do as a tribute to my kids. These terns really do go to the ends of the earth.”

Pettit also often includes a single tern wing in the base of his sculptures, to remind himself of the importance of family.

His repertoire includes large-scale public commissions, such as the 12-foot pelican that will be installed as a centerpiece in a pedestrian park along the banks of the Arkansas River. The installation will highlight birds of the area and include other artists. He was also commissioned by an Oklahoma airport to create a 16-foot sculpture of two swirling scissor-tailed flycatchers, the state bird.

Pettit’s work is represented by Mountain Trails Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Park City, Utah, and Sedona, Arizona; Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Sue Bickerdyke in Carefree, Arizona.

"White Pelican" | Bronze | 28 x 8 x 6 inches | 2016

"Jack" | Bronze | 38 x 12 x 7 inches | 2016

"Spirit of Yellowstone" | Bronze | 34 x 14 x 12 inches | 2016