Three bronze horses rear up majestically at the Golden Horse Casino in Pietermaritzburg as a magnificent welcome to visitors. Did you know they come from the mind of the Lowveld’s very own sculptor, Arend Eloff? By Michael Smit
Local export, Arend Eloff, recently passed through Nelspruit to accompany three gigantic bronze-horse statues of his own design, which were cast at Loop Art Foundry in Rocky Drift. Their final destination was Pietermaritzburg’s aptly named Golden Horse Casino, where the three statues now leave visitors speechless. Each weighs in at a whopping 700kg and rears up to a height of 4,5m. They are the biggest statues ever created at Loop Art Foundry by Michael Canadas and Billy Bezuidenhout. We asked Arend a few questions about this momentous project.
How long did it take you to perfect the initial model for the horses?
After deciding on a free rearing horse I created the first clay scale model in about a week, about 50cm high. The clients decided on three horses as the final image.
Has the sculpture been named?
I silently called it the golden trinity.
What do you want the sculpture to say, or do you let your work speak for itself?
The golden trinity for me is very apt and important as this relates to the trinity aspects of life, which we are all a part of. It is our creative essence through passion, inspiration and action. On a micro and macro scale, trinities relate to everything in existence. Primary colours, red, blue and yellow; C, F and G musical notes; proton, electron and neutron atomically; masculine, feminine and child consciousness. Therefore we have to find balance in this trinity, which gives us immense creative power combined with conscious living. I’ll need two weeks to explain it all.
With any sculpture, how does your process work from getting the idea, to the finishing touches?
With a project like this there are others involved in the idea stages. I create a scale model for approval or changes. Then people help me with the enlargement process for the final artwork. By then my work is complete, but the foundry then starts with moulding, wax artwork, ceramic moulding, dewaxing, melting bronze into the ceramic moulds, breaking moulds away, welding bronze panels together and finally polishing and colouring. The people at Loop Art Foundry deserve a lot of credit for the work that was done in only five weeks. They worked very hard.
What are your impressions of the full-scale versions?
I like the different angles that you see of the same design from any position. We all wish we had a bit more time though. It was an exciting concept having to create it in the five week timeframe with so many creative people involved. Hats off to everyone.
What drives you to create a sculpture?
It is something that I chose to do at some point in my life. I was always involved in drawing and sculpture from early childhood, now I have to make money with it. There exists a dance between creativity and needs. You cast your first sculpture at age 16.
Did you know then you’d be focusing on this particular art form for the rest of your career?
I was not so positively moulded at an early age to know that this was what I wanted to do. I studied engineering for a while before joining the army. I then made the choice to become a sculptor as I failed in other fields. I now encourage people and children to follow their passions and interests. There is a reason you like certain things and there are many ways to make it work.
Why your focus on equine sculptures?
I was guided, inspired and slapped into this field. Although all my different creations are now being merged into mythical and fantasy creations.
Where does your mind go when working on a sculpture?
To the moment.
Why did you choose the Loop Art Foundry for the casting?
Michael and myself have come far and ate bags of salt together when he bought the foundry from me and took it to new heights. Only if he dies or can’t do my casting will I work with someone else.
Where do you live?
In my home of course. Chartwell, Gauteng. Are you married and do you have children? Divorced, but with good relations, and three wonderful kids, Kairan (nine) and the twins Raven and Arielle (six).
Is sculpting your full-time profession? What do you call yourself, sculptor or artist?
I like this question. We are all actually creators and I have different labels depending on the situation. Draughtsman, painter, graphic artist, modeller, designer, architect, production engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, businessman, student, developer, manager, director, marketer, father, freedom fighter, bum…
What are the upsides and downsides of doing what you do for a living?
Doing what you love for a living only has upsides.
Your future plans/projects?
I am focusing on broadening the international client base and working on some large, new equine statues. The artworks are also going to be adhered to walls in new materials. The sculptures are becoming mythical. That is what I know now. Who knows what the universe has in store for me. You see most of the journey looking back while dreaming of the future.
What would be the ultimate project for you?
To become as whole and complete and creative as possible and to stay in the centre of the trinity of life. We use work to ultimately do that. Peace, contentment and fulfilment before I pass away. I am finding more and more moments in that place.
Source: Get it Lowveld