Diana Simpson is a sculptor who has been creating bronze castings from her clay figures for over 30 years. She creates original clays and makes her own molds and waxes, but she also does the metal finishing. Her life-like bronzes of Southwestern animals, both wild and domestic, are currently on display at Ian Russell Gallery of Fine Art, 130 S. Montezuma St., Prescott.

Inspiration for her work is born from her experiences riding her horses across the prairie around her home in Chino Valley and trailing deer and elk up into the mesas above Sycamore Canyon. Simpson spoke with Across the Street about her work. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

What made you want to pursue sculpting?

I’ve always been an artist, always drawn and painted, and I just started playing with clay when I was in my early 30s. I really enjoyed getting my hands in and just pushing the clay and creating something three-dimensional rather than flat work, which is, you know, one dimension. I just liked the feel. For me, it’s very therapeutic. Your mind kind of goes into your hands just doing their thing and the creation comes out of that. It’s very satisfying and I just prefer to do it over flat work.

What’s the hardest part of the whole process?

The original clay, for me, is the easiest thing to do because you just let your imagination and your fingers do the work. For me, believe it or not, it’s the marketing, the promotion of myself, getting into galleries and getting into shows. I really struggle with the business and I really just want to do the just the creative. I really struggle with the marketing end of it, which, if you’re going to be a successful artist, you need to promote your work as well. I don’t care for that end of the business. I do it, but it’s not my favorite thing. That’s why I just send it to the galleries and let them do the selling. That’s what I prefer.

What are people drawn to the most from your work?

I do a lot of young animals. Baby animals are kind of my favorite thing to sculpt because they’re just so darn cute. And when I do a show, when you’ve got hundreds of people walking by your show, you know, all day long, a lot of people are really drawn to the baby animals because they’re unique and they’re just cool. They’re really neat and lovable and touchable, and people really enjoy looking at them, especially when there’s just a bit of humor or something whimsical about it. People really like the whimsical.

For more information, visit creatorinbronze.com.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @ JesseBertel, email him at jbertel@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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