Jerry McKellar - Interview
Jerry McKellar, who received his D.D.S. degree from the University of Washington, practiced dentistry in a busy private practice for over two decades. Throughout his dental career, he noticed that he had a natural artistic talent and a deep appreciation for art that he just couldn’t seem to shake. “I’ve never had an art lesson,” he says. “I found out about 30 years ago that I had the ability to draw and paint, then later turned to sculpting. My part-time hobby soon became out of control, so in 1994 I quit my dental practice of 25 years in order to devote full time to my art career.”
His sculptures vary widely in style and subject matter, and range from miniature to monumental. They have a strong composition, and the feeling of power and movement are consistent throughout his pieces. His professional background as a dentist is reflected in the structural accuracy of the facial anatomy in his busts and figures. The human figures focus on an accurate depiction of the culture, ritual, or tribal affiliation of his subjects.
McKellar says the 24-inch tall and 19-inch wide bronze sculpture is typical of his work. Some sculptures are not finished with a typical polished bronze finish, but show an aged look. “A majority of my work is detailed,” he says. “I use smooth surfaces on some of my sculptures, and then I place a marbleized patina on them. “Serenity” is an example of this method.”
As for his decision to switch career paths from dentistry to art, “Art has opened my life to things I know I would not have seen. I now visit galleries and museums around the world, examine colors, textures, and compositions,” he says. “I feel blessed having a talent that touches others, and that I enjoy so much.”