Written by Lori Boatfield
Photos by Steve Babin
Everett Cox graduated from Auburn University with a BFA and received his MFA from the University of Georgia. Cox sculpts and casts his works in his studio at Lowe Mill in Huntsville.
LB: What or who inspired you to become an artist?
EC: Both my grandmother and mother painted when I was very young. That must have something to do with me being an artist. I don’t recall seeing them paint but I remember turpentine and varnish being out ready to use. Music was my dad’s muse, though his career was as an engineer. I watched and later helped my dad build things so perhaps that’s why I gravitated towards sculpture.
LB: Talk a little about your specific process of figure sculpting and casting.
EC: My sculptures are first modeled in plasticene, an oil clay that doesn’t harden. Plasticene is not a permanent material so after sculpting a piece I’ll make a mold of it. This mold is used to reproduce the clay sculpture in wax. That wax is then invested, or encased, in a refractory mold, then placed in a kiln and cooked at 1,000 degrees to remove the wax, which leaves a hole in the shape of the sculpture into which the bronze is poured at 2,100 degrees. After casting the bronze, the bronze
sections are cleaned, chased and welded together, then chased again and again to complete the bronze sculpture. Chemicals are used to patina, or color the bronze.
LB: How long does it take to create a full-scale, life-sized piece from beginning to end?
EC: Tora, the cemetery sculpture, was cast in five pieces and put back together. She took about a year and a half to sculpt, mold, cast, finish and install. Tora started as a 60 percent life-size maquette, which I took measurements from to make the life size armature. The clay was pointed up on the armature and then Tora came back to pose for the life size sculpture after the bulk of the clay was on the armature. The dress was then sculpted on top of the clay figure. It’s a roundabout process, for sure.
LB: What’s your favorite piece and why?
EC: A favorite piece of mine would be Bourges, a sculpture in the leaning series. Bourges is the personification of a flying buttress like you’d see on a cathedral. I suppose it’s an homage to professor Polk, who I had medieval art history with. It was the best class I had in college.
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