For thousands of years, bronze has been transformed into pieces of art. For Austin Weishel, he was drawn to the process at 14-years-old when his grandparents brought him to a bronze foundry. He was inspired by the work he saw.
“I went back to my grandparents house, got a fork and a knife, and I started my first sculpture” he says. Austin was hooked, and he was innately good.
Fast forward to high school... Austin, severely dyslexic, realized school wasn’t for him, but did have an obvious talent for art and sculpting. Completely self-taught, he says he connects with the attention to detail, and found art as an outlet for expression.
Austin also always dreamed of becoming a firefighter. So, he became a student firefighter with Loveland, then at 19, The Windsor Fire department called, asking Austin to make a life-size sculpture outside their firehouse. This was his first commissioned sculpture.
Now, his pieces are larger than life and all across the country. From a tribute to a fallen police officer in California, to a K-9 and his handler in Washington, D.C., to a soon to be unveiled, 3-piece sculpture in Windsor, showcasing the history of the town, his career is taking off.
Irrigation and sugar beet farming stimulated initial growth and are represented in a bronze farmer and his daughter. As a volunteer firefighter in Windsor now, Austin is seeing things come full circle, in a medium that will last for generations.
He explains, “bronze is lifetimes upon lifetimes. It will last thousands of years. So the investment into something that will forever pay tribute or honor for somebody or an organization or a feeling is priceless”.
It typically takes Austin several hours of sculpting with clay that never dries, to get his larger pieces just right.
The bronze casting is hot and messy and the welding of individual pieces per sculpture is meticulous. However, Austin says passion is the most important aspect of it all.
“No matter where you live, no matter what you do or anything, live your life with passion. That’s what I do and that’s what I want to communicate through my artwork.”
You can find more of Austin's work on his website.