You Need to know who Alan Cottrill is…..

Alan Cottrill at work in his Zanesville Studio

Alan Cottrill at work in his Zanesville Studio

During a recent “staycation” in Ohio, my husband and I traveled to Zanesville, OH to golf at several upscale and challenging golf courses: Virtues (formerly Longaberger) and Eagle Sticks.  With a few hours to kill after one of the rounds, I wandered out to explore some points of interest in the area.  I had heard some talk among artist friends about Zanesville’s rise in the art world as a place trying to revitalize the downtown with artists and their workspaces.  It has been a city down on it’s luck for many years, and quite a few of the buildings had become vacant.  There are many antique shops there and a former Masonic Temple now filled with Art studios and galleries.  But the place I found and visited for almost two hours impressed me the most:  Alan Cottrill’s Sculpture Studio and Gallery.

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You can’t miss Alan’s location if you are downtown.  The Nemacolin Indian on top of the building is extending a welcome to all in the region.  You know you’ve turned on the correct street as you see his works line the sidewalk a block or two before you find the building at 110 S. 6th St.  Some reminded me of Remington’s old West cowboy sculptures, some were whimsical sheep with shepherd, many were athletes and some were war vets.  All were life-sized, detailed and full of personality.

The entry was fun with two venomous snakes as handles to the glass doors.  The bass relief portraits of characters around the frame give you a hint as to what you’ll see inside.

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The building is a two-story studio and gallery, mostly open on both floors.  Downstairs is the working studio of Alan Cottrill, a self-made entrepreneur/ artist who began his art career at the age of 37.  He works there seven days a week, with daily and sometimes weekend hours of business open to the public. img_4166

Upstairs is where some of his own personal collections of art are.  I was enamored with the mask room.  It was also filled with clay busts of people and drawings from his days at the renowned Art Students League and National Academy of Design in NYC.  When he had sold his successful business in 1990, he moved to New York to immerse himself in studies to dedicate himself to sculpture.  img_4165

When you see all of the works he has done it is hard to believe he has only started this complex medium of lost-wax bronze sculpture 26 years ago.  Most artists take months and years to complete each project.  This touching work above will be Alan and his wife’s final resting place when it is time to visit that great next  studio in the heavens.

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In the ground floor area is where Alan and several apprentices (or interns), work on current projects, display all of his past projects and educate about the process of lost wax sculpture.  Above is a piece just completed (this is the maquette, or model) from a contest among sculptors for a famous Ohioan to be represented in the National Statuary Hall in the Capital in D.C.  Thomas Edison, born in Ohio, was nominated and voted in as the person Ohioans most wanted to have their state remembered by.  Alan very much wanted to be the sculptor to do this project, and won the commission.  I need to find out when it will be unveiled!

img_4171There are many projects underway in parts of the room in several phases of the process.  To the right here you can see the maquette, and the  left is the life-sized version with steel supports.  When it is cast it will be counter-weighted so a frame like that won’t be necessary.  The detail in every part of the clay and wax version was spot on.  The photos on the far left show different views of the person being sculpted.

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The back area in which the wax models and rubber molds are made have some humorous and macabre additions.

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I thought the most fascinating part of all of this was the casual, open manner in which Alan treated his whole operation.  I saw the back-log of projects written on a dry-erase board, the series of current works around the studio, the examples of full-sized works upstairs and the dozens, if not hundreds of previous projects he’s completed shown in the maquette version all around the room.  When does he sleep?

I found the stories behind each maquette fascinating, and recognized several of the notable people, colleges, organizations, associations and causes for which they were completed.  There was a description about each one, so you could take as much or as little time as you wanted to read them.  His first big commission was an amazing one for a college campus in Pennsylvania.  Alan’s salesmanship, networking capabilities from his previous career in business and entrepreneurial spirit has served him well in marketing his talents.  If you get a chance to see him and talk to him, you’ll find him very easy-going but passionate about his work.  He is driven with something he loves to do, and it’s a privilege to meet someone like him.  I encourage everyone visiting the area to make this a must-see, or to make the trip just to see his work.  In Dublin, you have already seen his work at the Memorial Golf Tournament in the Memorial bass relief busts of the annual honorees.

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