Thursday, March 29, 2012

#20 Memorial for Jessica Liddell-McIntosh

Jessica Liddell-McIntosh (1986-2009)

Installation day for the memorial of Jessica Liddell-McIntosh. The project was installed at Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, March 29, 2012 and is my second permanent installation in Colorado. Although there is no figurative elements in the piece, I enjoyed making it as this is something quite unique from my past work. Commissioned by Jessica's mother, the memorial is designed to show the young woman's love of snowboarding. Being a snowboarder myself I was able to understand her daughters love of the sport. Today was a day, I felt, of closure to her daughters death. Emotions were expressed and love was shared. RIP Jessica Liddell-McIntosh. Photos of the finished installation in a few weeks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

#19 Niccolo Paganini-Bronze Sculpture

Niccolo Paganini, bronze, 66 inches height ©2011 Sutton Betti Sculptures
Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840)

"Paganini was called "The Devil's Son" and "Witch's Brat" for his demonic and amazing violin virtuosity!  Audiences thought Paganini made a pact with the devil to be able to perform supernatural displays of technique!" 
-wasn't that what they thought about the famous blues guitarist Robert Johnson? Jimi Hendrix?? and how about the Charlie Daniels Band and their song "Devil went down to Georgia", Steve Vai and Ralph Macchio in the movie Crossroads? Well, Paganini was negotiating with the devil before there ever was a Robert Johnson. And he deserves a little credit for doing so.

I made this sculpture because of my love of Paganini's music and his virtuoso playing skills as I am a former guitar player-although very amateurish. I listen to Paganini's music 200 years after it was created and imagine his world. Imagining what it would have been like to hear him play live. He was the first virtuoso, before Eddie Van Halen and was doing it when no one else was. Of course, Eddie popularized a new way of playing an instrument (finger tapping, harmonics, etc.), but he didn't invent it, he just did it in such a way that it become his signature. Paganini invented a whole new way of thinking of the instrument before anyone else did.  

"Paganini single-handedly changed the course of music by inventing the cult of the performer. Before him, even the most talented, charismatic and successful musicians were at best respected, lived merely comfortably and were quickly forgotten upon their retirement or demise. Paganini, though, was worshipped hysterically, rewarded with fabulous wealth and still is remembered in awe. With Paganini, the performer became a superstar. Indeed, although he had no pupils and few successors, the line that began with Paganini extends through every musical idol of our time." -

#18 Alberta Brianti maquette

Alberta Brianti maquette

A few weeks ago I got the approval to sculpt a life size statue of the popular Italian womens tennis player Alberta Brianti. The sculpture will be in a limited edition of 10 and cast in bronze available sometime in July or August. Alberta is a unique tennis player in that she is one of very few womens tennis players who still uses the single hand backhand swing. Most womens tennis players use the double hand backhand (ie gripping the racquet with both hands) when hitting the ball because it gives them more power. This sculpture is designed to show the once popular tennis technique in a modern way where it is more and more of an uncommon sight at womens tennis tournaments across the world. The technique has advantages and disadvantages over the two handed. The advantages are that it allows for greater reach, it's easier to hit lower and higher balls, and hitting slice is much easier. The disadvantages are that it does not have the power that a two handed has.