FALCON

MICHAEL LORD

STONE

ARTIST
BIOGRAPHY

Michael Lord is a rare, natural talent, a completely self-taught stone carver. He creates complex, detailed and incredibly realistic sculptures out of a single piece of stone. This versatile artist uses a variety of media, including steatite and bronze.

The sale of a sculpture to his art teacher at age 16 while in Junior High School provided the incentive for him to pursue his natural and incredible gift. Over the years Michael began to gain a large appreciation for natures creatures and natural elements. In 1980, Michael gave up the security of a steady income to follow his first love - creation. 

As a self-taught artist, Michael is non-typical in his approach to sculpture. He creates his large, detailed and realistic sculptures without even firstly doing a basic sketch or model. He uses his inspiration and the stone itself to guide him.

Unlike most carvers, he does not even firstly rough out the boulder to find the basic shape of the sculpture. He takes a boulder, typically 3-4 times the size of the finished sculpture, starts at the top, carves into the stone to release the animal from within and changes the image as he continues to respond to the flow and lines of the stone. Thus, whether a wing will be raised or down is all dictated by the stone itself.

A difficult and unforgiving medium, steatite is a metamorphic stone, formed under time, heat and pressure, resulting in many inclusion lines running through the stone. Unlike a blank canvas, Michael cannot thus impose an image on the stone – you can lose the entire piece on the last day of carving if an inclusion line is impacted. Working with these extraordinary constraints, Michael Lord weaves incredible lifelike images from the stone achieving a level of extraordinary negative space and detail that is unique amongst his peers.

Michael uses only simple hand tools in his work - hammers, chisels and files - essentially the same tools that were used in the Renaissance. His gift is to be able to carve incredible detail and realism into stone, he creates life and visual interest through polished and unpolished areas, different textures and negative space.

With bronze he manages to capture the essence of the animal or bird, bringing both the dramatic and the simple moments to life. The pieces capture the true essence and a simple depiction of the animal with flowing lines and graceful movement.

Michael uses the ‘Lost Wax’ process, an ancient technique dating back to 2500BC where the wax used was made from the honeybee. He firstly sculpts a clay model of the image that he wants to create in bronze. Once finalized, the model then goes to the foundry for casting where not one mold, but a series of both positive and negative molds are taken - in total it is 125 very detailed and complex steps to make one sculpture. Every mold and every model has to be repeated from scratch for the next piece of the edition. Once the entire edition has been cast the original clay model is destroyed so the image can never be recreated.

Michael’s bronze animals have a relaxed, informal and ‘non trophy’ feel. Remarkably, they feel and look like stone with Michael stepping away from the tradition of mounting his bronze work on a traditional base of marble and wood.

Michael, his wife, Jennifer, and their children live on acreage in central British Columbia. The picturesque setting overlooks two lakes in a truly idyllic venue. Many of Michael's subjects are frequent visitors to the acreage. Bear, deer, moose and coyote are among the guests, and household pets, including rabbits contribute to the over 50 Canadian wildlife species the artist depicts.

Michael Lord is able to capture the essence of each animal he portrays through an ongoing study of nature. In masterful detail he creates a slumbering bear, a graceful swan, or an inquisitive raven, each distinctive and true to character.

Michael is now aged 59 and has been creating his incredibly detailed, realistic and special sculptures for over 40 years. His works are in private and public collections around the world. 
"The creative process chose me. Drawing, painting, sculpting has always been my way of expression. Whether my livelihood or not,
I would always be doing these things."
Michael Lord