Rip Caswell is well-known in the Pacific Northwest for his bronze sculptures and monuments. Wild animals, religious figures, Native American spirits, and busts of local heroes renew his connection to innocence and simplicity. Interested in art from an early age, Caswell began making animals out of clay as a child then dove into taxidermy. He studied under Bill Lancaster in Beavercreek, Oregon, and they began working together in 1985. As a team, Lancaster and Caswell won every award for taxidermy in the Northwest Regional Taxidermy competition in 1998 and 1999. Caswell’s creative versatility led him to bronze and the lost-wax process of casting in 1992, which allowed him to maintain a high degree of detail enhanced by patina coloring and a descriptive base that placed his animals and figures in nature. His animals are often in resting positions or at the peak of their animalistic character in the wild—they stalk, wander, or nuzzle their mates, the kings and queens of their domain. Caswell extracts the purity of nature and represent his subjects’ souls, be it man or beast.
I was brought up surrounded by and immersed in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. In nature I find healing, wisdom, love, inspiration and passion.
Like the Native people of the region, I believe all living beings are connected with one another and with our Mother Earth. Within us lay instincts of innocence, simplicity and purity, which tie us to our environment and ultimately to our Creator. Through my work, I want to renew and strengthen these natural senses.
My wish is to take people on a journey of discovery – a journey to both the intimacy of nature and the experience of human emotion. I want to open a doorway, allowing viewers to experience the intimate side of my sculptures, just as I want the eyes of my subjects to reflect their spirit.
When sculpting, I believe I am an instrument of our Maker – a conduit whose purpose is to revitalize this bond between man, animal and the land. With sculpture, emotion is transferred into clay then born into bronze – preserved for all time to see, feel and relive.
Eyes are the window to the soul...look deep and understand the stories revealed there. I hope that personalities with heart and soul and breath of their own will take form in the subjects I cast.
With knowledge we gain appreciation – then love grows. And with this increased love, we can work together to preserve what it is we treasure.