Michael W. Hall
"Caribbean Sea Turtle" by Michael Hall
"High in the hill country of south central Texas, there has existed since 1975, a paradoxical union of creative aesthetics, renaissance alchemy and space age technology."
Michael Hall's Studio Foundry has become the collective sum of his accomplished art career, which began in 1965, during his military service in the U. S. Air Force, where he managed to blend his aerospace engineering background with graphic and sculptural art courses and positions.
As a graphic artist, Michael continually explored his enthusiasm in the realm of three dimensions. Upon discovering the unique permanence of cast bronze, he moved from Dallas, where he held his last graphic arts position, to be closer to nature and nearer his native home. In the peaceful hills of Driftwood, Texas, he began to create sculpture full time, using his engineering experience to set up a lost wax bronze casting foundry as a means to produce his own sculpture. In the past three decades he has become one of the leading consultants in sculpture and modern as well as ancient casting techniques.
“As a sculptor, my goal has always been to create another form of reality; something between what can be experienced and what might be imagined. I design my art to maintain an intricate balance between fantasy and fact, between inner and outer reality.”
As a highly respected teacher, Michael has offered his experience and knowledge as well as his full service studio and foundry to serious sculpture students. Michael Hall's Studio Foundry has been accredited with the University of Texas, Texas State University, Louisiana Tech and Austin Community College for more than ten years. He's found great reward in sharing his expertise with numerous interns and apprentices throughout the years.
The vibrant quality of Hall's work is due, in part, to the fact that each of the five generations involved in producing his sculpture in bronze is strategically controlled by his own hands.
“I cannot be entirely satisfied with a medium until I have passed through and above all the applied formula that the medium demands. I have to know it before I can subordinate it.”
The combined expertise of creating and producing quality bronze sculpture was recognized by the World Bank's International Development Association. In 1983 as their Sculpture and Art Casting Consultant in Katmandu, Nepal, he worked with the native sculptors and founders, introducing technological improvements to their traditional lost wax casting technique, as well as demonstrating alternative sculpture designs. As a two year resident sculptor in Katmandu, Hall remarks he learned as much as he taught while surrounded with the history and myths of ancient art and alchemy. He presented lectures and reports to the art departments of leading universities in Katmandu and Bangkok, Thailand, and published a practitioner's manual entitled, “Lost Wax Casting in Nepal,” for the benefit of Nepal's metal casters.
Wildlife provides inspiration for much of Michael's work. The variety in Asia's animal kingdom was supportive to a wealth of new ideas, and upon returning to his home and studio; he felt that even after his second trip around the world, Driftwood was still a comfortable place to live and to create. He began sculpting a series of Himalayan Single-Horn Rhinos, the third edition of seven being one lasting image entitled, “Rhino Crossing” in which he chose to portray this seemingly prehistoric creature of immense strength and dignity in a docile river scene, cooling himself in the slow moving water, while grazing . The gentle turn of his head implies the Rhino's intent harmony with the two white water fowl, as they occupy protruding rocks and tree limbs.
Michael brilliantly defies the usual cliches of figurative sculpture, producing richly patinaed bronzes, vibrant in both detail and competence .
“The art is a culmination of my lifetime observations, artistic studies, and personal involvement with the subjects presented.”
Whether a specific commission or an otherwise inspired image, his artwork represents the subject accurately, also presenting a sincere expression of his personal involvement in what surrounds that subject.
His sculpture entitled “Dream of a Gulf Coast Ridley,” effectively lulls a viewer into a peaceful scene of a sea turtle gliding over waving kelp, ingeniously supported above a variety of multi-colored coral. Michael's work seems to embody all of the elements at play. His pieces are strongly narrative, emphasizing the nature of the material in refined texture, and the nature of the subject in researched accuracy.
“Dream of a Gulf Coast Ridley”
In “Reports from the Basin,” he depicts the first dinosaur to develop vocalization, as a hatching, lizard-like creature, emerging aggressively from a leathery shell. This bronze is part of a recent, multi-sculptural and custom gate commission.
“Reports from the Basin”
“In each of my sculptures I attempt to visually stimulate a sense of movement and to create character uniqueness worthy of enjoyment.”
Michael's work ranges from the simplicity of a mirror burnished chameleon to the intricate, detailed drama of his sculpture entitled “Survivor,” depicting the complex reality of a man shipwrecked at sea, being thrashed by her strength, while implying the equal strength of man's survival instinct, as he courageously maintains a hold on the very rock which displays nothing left of his vessel, save its weathered mast and tattered sails.
Michael Hall has been honored with serving two terms as president of the Texas Society of Sculptors. This organization kindles the fire of creativity among sculptors, nation wide, offering collective information for sculptors in all mediums, as well as two annual exhibits, and the opportunity to gather, in a guild-like fashion, to share ideas and organize new means of publicly representing the vast sculptural activity present throughout Texas.
He has mastered the age old art of modeling wax and producing bronze sculpture. All Michael's work shows the fine detail and beautiful composition of a truly imaginative artist. Experience has surpassed his education, which was well focused in the field of engineering and art, and his commissions are vast, as are his awards. Hall openly shares his knowledge and creativity, by offering his full studio and registered foundry to students, sculptors and collectors throughout the world. His sculpture portrays positivity, in its myriad strength, and is among the most intriguing works of art being collected today. With his vast interest in time, space, endurance and the evolvement of the human race, Michael finds a certain satisfaction in creating what he considers to be “artifacts of the future”. Works of art produced by Michael can be found in over 46 countries around the world and also in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.
Commissioned Works by Michael Hall
National Space Society
In 1996 Michael was commissioned, by The National Space Society, to create two, bi-annual memorial awards, one in bronze and one in stainless steel, to be awarded alternately, to outstanding individuals in the field of space exploration and technology. Even numbered years it is the Robert Heinlein Award and odd numbered years it is The Wernher Von Braun Award. Some of the award recipients in past years are: Neil Armstrong, James Lovell, Charles "Chuck" Yaeger, Dr. Robert Zubrin and Burt Rutan, to name a few. In 2006 Michael was commissioned to create another award this one Honoring Gerard K O'Neill and so was born the "Gerard K O'Neill Space Settlement award". The first of these was awarded, in 2007, to Apollo 17 Mission Scientist and former Senator Harrison "Jack" Schmitt.
Above: Burt Rutan receives the Wernher Von Braun Award in 2005
2012's winner of the Robert Heinlein Memorial Award through the National Space Society, Dr. Stephen Hawking
Other annual awards created and produced by Michael include the “Helen J. Farabee Award”, since 1989, for The United Way of Texas; and the “T. Berry Brazelton Infant Mental Health Advocacy Award”, also since 1989, for The Texas Association for Infant Mental Health, in
"Crossing The Line"
A World War ll Memorial
One of Michael's commissions was for the 10th Mountain Division Association, Inc. He and his hand picked team, consisting of Clint Howard and John Masanio, sculpted, and cast in bronze, a life size WWII infantry soldier. This sculpture, which relied heavily on authentic detailing, was installed in June of 2004, with much acclaim, as a memorial monument at Camp Swift, near Bastrop, Texas.
Left: The Finished Statue
Right: The Statue ready for installation
Left: Proposal drawing for Camp SwiftRight: Finished statue installed
"A Boy's Dream"
An Infant Memorial
In 1996 Michael was commissioned to create an infant memorial by a family in Lexington, Tx. who had lost their 18 month old son. In the sculpture, “ A Boy's Dream “, Michael chose to portray a pseudo-classical cherub playfully holding a boy's toy airplane. The grace, harmony and delicate balance of this memorial has a positive and uplifting effect on the viewer in its playful celebration of a life remembered.
for the Fountain at Laity Lodge
Installed in 2008 at the Laity Lodge H.E.B Foundation Camp in Leakey, Texas "Ascending Doves" is an excellent example of Michaels' ability to capture a moment of movement and preserve it for all to enjoy. Commisioned as an installation of only four doves in 2007 the owners called Michael back to create 10 more after they had seen the initial results. There are now a total of 14 white doves enjoying the dancing waters of the fountain.
"Wild Onion Doves"
White wing Doves at the water tank
After restoring an old water feature on the Onion Creek Ranch the owners wanted to add some more life. Michael sculpted this beautiful group of White Wing Doves, regular visitors to the ranch, capturing them just as they arrive at what looks to be a favorite watering hole. Note that the seventh Dove sits on the fence keeping a lookout.
More Works by Michael Hall
10" x 11"
13" X 9"
3" X 2 1/2"
15" X 11"
13" X 10 1/2"