Over 25 years ago Kim Chavez began her life’s path of sculpting - a calling that has taken her on travel throughout the Northwest and Southwest as she researches the native wildlife and culture that inspires her. This inspiration is reflected in each of her pieces. Always, her strong fascination and sensitivity to the environment shines through.
Chavez began as a clay sculptor before she found her inspiration and focus shifting to the creation of bronzes. Her initial inspiration most always begins with the simple shapes in nature and how these shapes are mirrored in wildlife. “My works flow very quickly in the beginning as the ideas are being expressed in the clay. After those first ideas are expressed in the piece, I start to work on perfecting the details. I work in solitude for hours getting to know every last detail of the piece. This part of the process is the most time consuming as I experiment with things like feathers and eyes over and over again until they balance perfectly with the ideas in my head and the rest of the sculpture … Once I think I am happy with the details, I leave the piece in my studio and look at it in different lights and from different angles until I know I am satisfied and the sculpture is complete.” Chavez works closely with the foundry as a mold is created from her clay original. Each detail must come out clearly; the final patina must reflect her original inspiration.
Chavez’s style is defined by a simplicity of form and stylized lines with fine and often unexpected detail, particularly in the face. Each animal sculpted projects its own sense of movement, portraying action while keeping to its simplicity. The warm patinas of each sculpture are inspired, in quality and richness, by the earth tones of nature. She has created sculptures of polar bear, brown bear, horses, bison, salmon, eagles and ravens.
Chavez’s artistic voice is consistent throughout her body of work: She is a passionate advocate for conservation of our natural environment, a great believer that wild places should be kept wild for future generations. “I love making a connection between people and nature that makes them reach out and touch the sculpture, smile at the expression or see beauty in something [for the first time].”