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 Tony Hochstetler  (1964 - )

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Lived/Active: Colorado/Indiana      Known for: realistic sculpture-fish, reptiles and amphibians

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Two Dolphins
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sculptor Tony Hochstetler is a sculptor in realist style of wide ranging subjects such as frogs, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians.  He says it is important for him to observe living things in their natural environment so that his depictions are accurate.  In order to achieve this likeness, he has had a live collection in his studio that has included lizards, frogs, tadpoles and a 10-foot boa constricter.  He also collects fossils and arrowheads.

Growing up in rural Indiana, he enjoyed collecting beetles, insects and fossils and arrowheads and was influenced by his grandfather, an industrial arts teacher and amateur rock hound, as well as an uncle who was a full-time potter.   After high-school graduation, he worked with his uncle in the pottery shop in Colorado Springs and then went to Loveland, where he took a job with the foundry, Art Castings of Colorado.  There he learned about working with bronze, and his first sculpture was a small pair of humpback whales. 

Sales were strong enough that after three years, he could focus exclusively on his own sculpture.  Since then he has won awards with the Society of Animal Artists and has been in exhibitions at the Wichita Art Museum, World Wildlife Museum, and Denver Zoological Gardens.  In April, May and early June 2006, Hochstetler's work is part of the Gilcrease Museum's Rendezvous exhibition in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where his subjects will include a cicada (Cicada and Maple Leaves) and turtle (Turtle).  Of his work he says, 'I think I tend to gravitate toward the more unusual animals. . . I like sculpting things you don't see everyday." (120)  The fact that bat images are some of his most popular sculptures indicates that collectors share his preferance.

Most of his work is small scale, and he even does functional items such as letter openers, vases and candle holders, but exceptions are a five-foot tall seahorse spouting water and an 18-foot long python draped over a large block.  Emulating the Japanese aesthetic and also the era of Art Nouveau moving into the Arts and Crafts Movement, Hochstetler strives for simple, flowing, clean lines, a sense of movement, and strong composition. 

In his workmanship, he does little or no sketching, usually beginning directly with the wax figure and then stays with one work until it is finished.  He does most of his own patina work at the foundry, sometimes spending as much as forty hours per piece.  He closely oversees the firing.

Tony Hochstetler lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Sources include:
Gussie Fauntleroy, "On Land & Sea", Southwest Art, April 2006, 118-121

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