Rod Bessire

I am an amateur figurative and portrait sculptor striving to learn, refine, and perfect my craft to the best of my abilities.

Who am I?

I came to art late in life. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and had the typical art education through public school, but never pursued anything artistic after graduation. Instead, I joined the military at 17 and spent the next 26 years as a solider and a military civilian, experiencing life, raising a family, and educating myself.

In 2000 I started building custom computers and wanted to include sculptural elements. After just a couple of years I discovered that I enjoyed the sculpting more than I enjoyed computers!

With limited resources and knowledge, I started teaching myself how to sculpt. I experimented with different mediums and techniques for a number of years with varying success.

Finally, in 2011 at the age of 45, I left military service and moved back home to Utah for a new job. With the kids out of the house and a significant amount of time on my hands, I started pursuing sculpting in earnest. To this day, I continue my journey striving to learn, refine, and perfect my craft to the best of my abilities.

What do I create?

I create figurative and portrait sculptures from 2D images. I create my pieces first using oil-based clay and then mold and cast them myself in a variety of permanent materials including Bondo®, fiberglass resin, and cold cast bronze.  I occasionally have pieces cast professionally in bronze if resources permit.  The final medium for a piece is dictated by my time, resources and desired outcome.

Why do I sculpt?

The simple reason that I sculpt is that I am fascinated by the human form and I am a very tactile and visual person – I love to use my hands to create what I find beautiful. 

The human form beguiles me, it frustrates me, and it inspires me.  I want to capture it in all the ways it can be captured. Whether it’s a gesture, a look, an emotion, or a pose, something in an image grabs hold of my imagination and I can’t get it out of my mind until I’ve captured it in real space.

I see sculptures as moments in time and strive to capture those moments in three dimensions.

How do I sculpt?

My creative process is one of constant tension between my desire to create and my impatience to arrive at the final result. 

I have a love-hate relationship with my process.  I love the way the human form inspires me.  I love the potential I can see in my mind for the finished piece.  I love the way the clay allows me to easily experiment with shapes and forms. But, I hate the time required for the vision – the trial and error, the details of the process.  I am always at odds with myself – fighting for perfection and always, because of my impatience, feeling I’ve come up just short.

Competition and Awards

I usually display my work through local and state fairs. I am limited by restrictions on nudity in these venues, but have won a few awards for the pieces I’ve been able to show.