Welcome to Florida: The Armory Art Center Experience


This year I was accepted as an artist in residence at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Tibbers and I made it through the 20 hour drive from Dallas and I am now making work in a great studio with lots of other artists.

This year the Armory accepted six resident artists from all over the country working in ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and painting. I will be a sculpture resident for the next 8 months. I plan to work in both clay and bronze and use non-ceramic materials on my pieces while I am here. The Armory provides a generous stipend to residents and pays artists to teach classes during their residency as well. Check out the course catalog. I am teaching classes in figure sculpture, animal sculpture, and bronze sculpture.

The first project that I started at the Armory was an original sculpture for a large bronze. I used a hard foam shape as the base and covered this with a layer of clay. The two rods have been hammered down into this foam base to hold up the rhinos.

On top of these rods I use electrical tape and dowel rods to hold up the animals and the weight of solid oil based clay.

I smear the oil clay over this structure and begin to form the rhinos. This pair of Arsinotherium, an animal that existed in Ethiopia 30 million years ago, will be charging one another similar to modern day rhinos.


With the musculature and gestures roughed out, these rhinos are ready for detail. Unlike my water based clay sculptures, these pieces do not have to be hollowed out, they will be molded as part of the bronze casting process and then the clay will be recycled, not fired.

Here is the finished oil clay sculpture with all the details and texture. There are some real rocks embedded in the base because these can be cast with the molds.

When this piece is molded, a wax version will be cast so that it can become a bronze. Check out the studio blog later on for the rest of this process! Subscribe to this blog to keep up with all the pieces I make at the Armory Art Center during my residency!


About Ariel Bowman

I grew up in Dallas, Texas where I learned to love nature, animals, and art. I graduated with a BFA in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2011. I am currently working towards my MFA in ceramics at the University of Florida. This blog serves as a way for my friends and family, as well as anyone interested in my work, to view not only the finished pieces, but some of the process as well. You can subscribe to this blog to keep up to date on what I am currently working on in the studio, research, new sources, and exhibitions.
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