Backstory and Context
The two figures depicted in the sculpture are Dr. Smith and his grandson Colin. You can see that they are both wearing backpacks and have a compass to help guide them on their next adventure. Dr. Smith loved exploration of any kind, whether it was in nature or in life. He was a research scientist who had a prominent role in developing a drug for the treatment of MS. Artist Ann LaRose has captured his adventurous nature in the positioning of this piece.
Ann LaRose, an Oklahoma-raised sculptor who lives in Arizona, draws a lot of inspiration from children and animals, and frequently uses live models to create her pieces. She undertakes careful research when making a new piece. She seeks to learn the back story of the person she is representing. She wants to know how the person stood or what kind of clothes they wore. Attention is given to the subtle details that many people might not notice right away, but it's those details that really bring life to a piece of art, allowing viewers to better understand the story behind it. LaRose will even find samples of the same type of fabric or the exact piece of clothing to look at how they move on the body in person.
In an article for a Kansas newspaper, The Wichita Eagle, she shared how she can work from photographs but prefers to find the exact piece of clothing she needs for a sculpture. "How cloth drapes has a lot to do with how something looks. You can't see that, really, in a photo."
How does her study of fabric affect the appearance of her art?
Suellentrop, Paul. Stallworth sculptor researches the look of 1965 Wichita State basketball, The Wichita Eagle. Accessed September 27th 2020. https://www.kansas.com/article154223879.html.
Lloyd-D'Onofrio, Karen. Opa, Accessed September 19th 2020. http://7zut84ab299wx18p1g8c821c-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2020/05/Opa-statue.pdf.