Johnston International Figure Sculpting Competition - Richard Arfsten
The Johnston International Figure Sculpting Competition was an annual competition held 35 years ago ... maybe it still exists. Back then they put about 12 of the of the best undiscovered sculptors (from a world wide invitation selection) in a room with a model. Everyone modeled (sculpted the clay) using the same model in the same pose for the same time.
We (competitors) were arranged in a circle and the model stand was rotated every 15 minutes. At the end of 20 hours, over five days, three internationally known professional sculptors judged the work for accuracy of interpretation.
Just getting into the competition was a great achievement. Before the competition, I had finished only one semester of instruction at the Lyme Academy of Fine Art. One of my instructors told me I was crazy to even think of applying to enter with only one semester of schooling. My other teacher said "what do you have to lose?" So I submitted my slides and got in. I won Third Place. I felt pretty good about that. However, I've never had the opportunity to go back to Lyme for further study.
After that I did an apprenticeship in a bronze casting foundry for a few months. I also tried to do an apprenticeship in a stone carving factory but the economy was in a downturn at that time and they were letting people go. So mostly I am self-taught.
I live in a remote rural area where there is not much interest in art. I travel to wherever I can to take a class in something that I want to learn.
I have been making art seriously for about 35 years. But I'm no longer a young man - I'm 74 now. At this point in my life I have no desire to move to the East or West coasts to be "discovered." So hopefully the Internet will introduce my art to the world.