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 Arlo Bray  (1920 - 2013)

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Lived/Active: Nebraska      Known for: animal and bird sculpture, wildlife

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Beaver standing on hind legs
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information is from Bradley Bray, son of the artist.

Arlo J. Bray, 1920-2013, farmed for over 50 years near Prairie Home, NE (East of Lincoln 85 miles) with his brother Everett. In 1967 Arlo was working on an old combine to do repairs. He torched off a piece of the steel body. When the piece hit the ground, he imagined an eagle wing from the ragged scrap of metal. A sculptor was born!

Arlo had always been very artistic. He drew pictures, made cards for soldiers to send home to loved ones during WWII in Africa, New Guinea and the Philipines. He carved wildlife and made dummies for a couple of soldiers. With the start of his metal sculptures, people started to take notice of his work. He was encouraged to take the very first piece he made, the American Bald Eagle and enter it in the Nebraska State Fair. A representative from Mutual of Omaha saw the eagle and inquired about purchasing it. The art director of the fair called Arlo to see if he would sell it. He told her, " I had not even given a thought to ever having someone want to PAY for it!" A price of $80 was set, and it is now in the prized wildlife artwork at Mutual Of Omaha in Omaha, NE. Since that first sale he has sold many hundreds of his beloved artwork to fans all over the world. He has pieces placed in public and private collections in 38 states and has two pieces in the Nelson Rockefeller collection.

Arlo loved watching all of Nebraska's wildlife as he farmed. So his favorite pieces were always of birds, animals, fish, flora and fauna. Many of his works were commissioned as a specific piece. A falcon on a glove one day, a barn and windmill for a bank the next time and he made school mascots for elementary, Jr High schools, high schools and Two University of Nebraska campuses. When he would make a mascot for a school, he would gather all his metal, tools and a cutting torch and haul it to the school he was making it for and demonstrate how he made them for 2 to 5 days and the children would watch him wide eyed and always had many questions. He loved working in front of "his" kids. Arlo was able to continue making his artwork up until a year or so of his passing.

At Arlo's funeral on 11/12/2013, there were as many of his sculptures at the service as there were flower arrangements. His art friends and family brought their favorite pieces in tribute, respect and so they could share with the many, many people who were there to pay respects. There was an article written in the Lincoln Journal Star on November 24, 2013. He had been featured in Nebraskaland Magazine in the 70s and had been the topic of a few television shows locally.

Arlo was very shy about his work and he was extremely diligent in perfecting a piece before the owner could pick it up.  He has a world wide following of art lovers that will be able to cherish his art for generations to come.


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