Celebrity Artist Spotlight: Sculptor Tony Dow
Actor/Director/Producer Tony Dow is probably most well-known for his portrayal of Wally Cleaver in the long-running 1950s hit television series "Leave It To Beaver". Tony Dow is now also known as a respected sculptor. He creates abstract original wood sculptures and others cast in bronze. Last year Tony Dow was one of only two U.S. sculptors selected to exhibit at the Salon 2008 de la National des Beaux Arts at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. Earlier this year, he launched his own website, TonyDowSculpture.com, where his artworks are available to be viewed and purchased. The website also provides a detailed description of the "Lost Wax Process" that he uses to create his sculptures, as well as other insights into Tony Dow and his creative process.
Le Cirque by Tony Dow
Tony has graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me about is work.
Lorrie: The process that you describe at your website for creating your sculptures sounds very intricate and time-consuming. How did you learn this process?
Tony: The lost wax process has been used for thousands of years to produce objects in metal which could not be produced any other way, due to the complexity of their form. It permits anything that can be modelled in wax to be faithfully transferred into metal, and is used today for certain industrial parts, dental restorations, fine jewelry, and sculpture. When the original is
created in a material other than wax, a mold must be made from the original. The process is very time consuming and requires knowledge and considerable equipment. Many artists make their own molds and sometimes cast their pieces, usually small uncomplicated forms. Because I do not want to be inclined to compromise a piece by the difficulty of making complex molds, I have the process done at a foundry in Oxnard CA.
Lorrie: Do you have any formal training in art?
Tony: I have very limited formal training. A couple of classes at UCLA which I found frustrating. Because of the level I was studying at, I was working on established styles and techniques and found it stifling. Because my craftsmanship was not developed, the art I created in that atmosphere, at that time of my life, was not encouraged. I worked on developing my craftsmanship then began working on developing a style.
Lorrie: Do you have a studio at your home where you work on your sculptures?
Tony: I have a great studio at my home filled with many tools. Because the wood is so extremely hard I need to use carbide blades for cutting and grinding.
Lorrie: Do you think that being a well-known actor has any impact on your career as an artist?
Tony: Having celebrity may influence some people. I've tried not to use or mix my celebrity with my art although it's inevitable. For example, I was very happy and proud to be accepted in the international show at the Louvre last year as I'm sure the French had no knowledge of LITB or my acting/directing career. I'm just beginning to expose my work (about 12 bronze pieces, 30 or so wood pieces and a new series of at least 20 mixed media pieces). The gallery I was showing at in Beverly Hills has closed and I have not pursued other galleries. They say you have to spend at least 50% of your time promoting your work and because I'm no good at promoting myself and not relying on the income from my art, I am just concentrating on the work.
Many thanks to Tony for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check out his website TonyDowSculpture.com.
"In Motion" by Tony Dow
At his website, Dow provides the following description of this piece:
"This piece is cast in steel and acid washed to cause rust. I’ve also cast it in bronze using strikingly different patinas. Barbara Billingsley, who played my TV mom on “Leave it to Beaver” has one in her courtyard surrounded by nature."
Visit the Pop Life Art celebrity artists list for links to the artwork of more than 100 actors, singers, and musicians.
(All photos copyright Tony Dow)