Artist Feature: David Bruce
"Artist Feature: David Bruce." Off the Easel Magazine. Winter 2012: 25.
A native of San Diego, David Bruce finds inspiration in the Southern Californian lifestyle. Adjacent to the Pacific Ocean and looking to sunny skies above, his sculptures celebrate the luxury of outdoor living and actively pursuing the finer things in life.
Trained and mentored by Joseph Nyiri, the resident artist for the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Bruce has an affinity for recreating members of the animal kingdom. In fact, his original frog sculptures made from copper have become friendly greeters near the doors of EC Gallery’s bright and spacious Seaport Village location. These fun-loving, copper frogs welcome venturing travelers at the doors with a wide-mouthed smile and the tip of a large, copper hat. Each sculpture is made by hand, and no two sculptures are exactly alike.
David Bruce’s metalworking background and a love for raw metal materials were key factors that inspired him to create art that is deeply rooted in quality craftsmanship. By fusing together sheets of copper metal and applying patinas that vary depending on the subject matter, the artist combines a unique creativity and flow of a sculptor, with the technical mastery of metalworking.
His animals are fun, whimsical and speak to the child within all of us. His often larger-than-life renderings bring art into the forefront of life in an approachable way, inviting us to welcome it into every aspect of the home – both inside and outside.
David Bruce’s most recent creation, a scaled model of a one-week-old, baby female giraffe, has already captured the hearts of collectors. Of his accomplished sculpture, the artist says, “The challenge was to make it as lifelike and proportionate as possible in the beginning, and then to distress it, because those distress marks actually take the place of the spots… that was the key...”
With every spot accounted for, Bruce’s baby giraffe was treated with a newly-designed patina and sent to EC’s Seaport Village gallery, to be admired by guests and passers-by.
“Personality is everything in art and poetry” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"Frogs." Off the Easel Magazine. Spring 2010:.
Born with a destiny, David Bruce was blessed with the gift to create. He was raised in San Diego, California by his mother, a painter and actress who nurtured creativity and freedom of expression, and his father, a highly disciplined and skilled military man who worked as a metal alloy gunsmith.
From an early age Bruce was immersed in the arts. He was mentored by Metal Sculptor, Joseph Nyiri, the resident artist for the San Diego Zoo since the 1970s. In 1974, Bruce had his sculptures exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla, as well as taken on tour through the Hawaiian islands.
Although enjoying the beginnings of a promising career as an artist, Bruce’s passions led him down another path: family life. He married and raised a beautiful daughter. With life’s responsibilities came the need to make a steady income. For the next 20 years, David Bruce—a true renaissance man—created custom homes, developed properties, and designed interiors as well as hand-crafted furniture.
Though David Bruce has been down many career paths, his passion has always been in the creation of metal sculpture, and he thankfully returned to the craft once again. His most recent series of sculptural work, the “Frog Series,” is created entirely out of flat copper sheets, which are shaped and molded together to create a magical three-dimensional sculpture. Once the metal work is completed and thoroughly cleaned, a patina—an oxidizing process that gives the sculpture a specific color and texture—is chosen to compliment the piece. In the final step the sculpture is sealed, ensuring enjoyment for generations to come. The “Frog Series” can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors.
David Bruce’s inspiration for this series comes from a gold mine that he owns in Julian, California. He shares, “There are a lot of frogs on my property, which I see as a good thing, because they ensure a healthy ecosystem. If the frogs disappear, I know there is a problem on my land. They act like a gauge of the balance in nature.”
Bruce’s copper frogs embody an optimistic, whimsical outlook on life. “I want people to smile, laugh and relate to them,” Bruce explains. “Maybe they will see something in themselves, for each frog represents a unique lifestyle—what people do to have fun and stay balanced.”
David Bruce’s artistic abilities and years of expertise have given him the privilege to create works for many collectors throughout his life, and he is still going strong.
His future plans are to continue creating sculptures of different animals in all different shapes and sizes. “Right now I am working on an 8-foot giraffe,” Bruce exclaims. “I like to work and live large.”
David Bruce’s sculptures are available at our exciting and picturesque Seaport Village location!
Click here to view David Bruce's collection