George Nock, former running back with the New York Jets & Washington Redskins was destined to become an artist. Introduced to drawing & sculpture very early in life, the self-taught, Nock has distinguished himself amongst the great sculptors of the 20th & 21st century due to an intrinsic ability to capture "the moment" with versatility in bronze often reflecting life's experiences. Inspired by two junior high school teachers, Mr. Tasker (sculptor) & Mr. Battle (painter) who both allowed Nock to etch, sketch, sculpt, draw & paint throughout high school. In 1964 on a sports scholalarship, the soft-spoken athlete attended Morgan State University where he majored in Psychology. After four great Championship years at Morgan, Nock was drafted by the Superbowl Champs, the New York Jets in 1969. Through hands-on practice, Nock devoted his life to formulating the Lord's materials into renditions of wildlife, warriors, Whymms & women, the culture bearers of any society. "I feel a responsibility to breathe life into untold stories & the images I depict".
Much of Nock's work is derived from some indelible experience stored in the crevices of his mind. Whether sculpting a figure from world history, a forgotten people, or a famed athlete Nock posseses the uncanny ability to capture the essence of his subject with a characteristic pose or expression.
THE PROCESS OF MAKING A BRONZE SCULPTURE
Why does bronze sculpture cost so much? I get asked that question quite often and the answer tends to be long and involved.
For one thing, the foundry process is very labor intensive. Once I deliver a completed clay or wax sculpture to a foundry, the actual physical work of producing a finished bronze piece is only about 33% complete. Without going into much detail, production steps at the foundry include: (1) Making a mold of the clay or wax original (2) making a wax replica of the original, using the mold (3) chasing or smoothing the wax replica, removing mold marks etc. (4) making a ceramic mold around the wax replica. This takes several applications of ceramic slurry, which must dry between coats (5) firing the ceramic mold to drive out the wax replica (hence the term lost wax process) (6) pouring molten (about 1800 degrees F) bronze into the ceramic mold (7) after it hardens, removing the ceramic mold/shell by breaking and chipping it from the underlying bronze pieces (8) welding the sculpture back together. You see, in order to make a mold of, say, a horse, the legs, tail and probably the head must be molded separately, otherwise the mold could not be withdrawn from the original clay model. So appendages, protrusions etc. are severed from the original model and molded and cast separately, then welded back together after the bronze is poured. (9) chasing or smoothing the bronze piece. This consists of grinding off weld marks, ceramic mold marks and imperfections in the metal, as well as recreating such surface detail as hair or feathers that may have been obliterated by the welding and chasing.
(10) sand blasting all or parts of the piece (11) an applying the coloration or patina. This is quite time consuming and, if done correctly, requires an artistic specialist who fires the oxides or acrylics onto the surface of the bronze with a huge blow torch. This phase is almost always done under the artist's supervision. (12) basing, or installing the piece onto the base, usually either wood or stone. Incidentally, the typical base costs for table model-sized bronze pieces is currently about $75 to $125, though I recently paid $250 for a base. With labor charged at $65 to $85/hour all these steps add up.
The cost of materials is also a big factor, as the cost of bronze has skyrocketed over the past few years. Most bronze used in fine art casting is silicon bronze; 95% copper, 4% silicon and 1% manganese (an alternative formula is 92-4-4). The price of copper has risen 500% in just a few years from a low of near $.75 to around $4.50/lb currently. Most artists have tried to eat some or all of the rising foundry costs to keep prices down, but this has gotten to be too much to bear for most.