Artists’ Studios | Josh Tobey


Sculptor Josh Tobey's art studio in Loveland, CO

Sculptor Josh Tobey’s art studio in Loveland, CO

Text by Bonnie Gangelhoff, Photos by Carmel Zucker

This story was featured in the July 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art July 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art July 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

Describe your studio. My wife, JoJo, and I live in the mountains 35 minutes from Loveland, CO, and about six miles, as the crow flies, from Estes Park. Our property is surrounded by national forest on two sides. The studio is a two-story metal building. It has big windows to take advantage of the view of the surrounding mountains and of Loveland in the distance. There are three large bay doors for moving big stuff in and out. I like to leave the doors open in the summer to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and to let our two dogs and the chipmunks come and go.

Sculptor Josh Tobey at his art studio in Loveland, CO

Sculptor Josh Tobey at his art studio in Loveland, CO

What elements were important to you in the design of your studio? When we moved here in 2011, this property was a dream come true. It was built by a woodcarver, so the studio was already set up extremely well, with radiant heat and electricity for all of my tools. The best part of this building is that it is easy to modify. I have built the studio into sections. The clay-sculpting side is a “clean room.” The tool side is separated from the clay room with a partition wall. And recently I have finished the patina room, which is totally enclosed and includes a garage door for moving sculpture in and out.

How does the surrounding area influence your work? There are deer, elk, turkeys, bears, and plenty of other critters in the yard every day. I can hike for miles from right outside my door. I think that being remote keeps me focused, and the great outdoors keeps me inspired. Every day I wake up and get the camera ready for whatever wildlife might visit the yard while I am drinking my coffee. All of this makes being in the studio my favorite thing.

What artists have influenced you? My dad [sculptor Gene Tobey] has easily been the greatest influence. I respect his many works and most importantly his struggles and successes. That’s the true artist’s story. I am one of those people who really wants to make my “own thing,” and my desire to make my work different from my father’s and other sculptors’ works is probably the biggest creative aspect of my body of work. Dad passed away in 2006, and not having him around these days motivates me to excel in my own work. It reminds me how lucky I am to be a sculptor.

Sculptor Josh Tobey's art studio in Loveland, CO

Sculptor Josh Tobey’s art studio in Loveland, CO

What music do you listen to in the studio? That depends on what I am doing. Sculpting incorporates both creativity and labor. If I am being creative, I often prefer silence. I also like to listen to Pandora. I like most music, ranging from Johnny Cash to alternative and classic rock. It keeps my energy level up. If I am doing labor, then I like books on tape—Wilbur Smith books and the Game of Thrones series are my favorites.

Describe your style of work. I am an impressionist; I sculpt from memory. My work is stylized in shape and form. I like to sculpt wildlife, and I often incorporate an anthropomorphic touch.
Do you keep works by other artists in your studio? I collect work from other artists, mostly people I know and appreciate. I have finished works, but my favorite is a collection of sketches by other artists. I like being surrounded in my creative space by my friends’ creativity in progress. I have several of my dad’s sculptures [from when he was in college]. They remind me that art is a journey and a process.

What is one place people will never find you? Any place that sells, or requires the use of, computers and electronics. We do not think alike. And a close second is department stores. I only go kicking and screaming.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not sculpting? Fishing, hiking, traveling, and photographing wildlife. Also, going out with friends when we travel.

Where do you like to take people when they visit? When we do have visitors, it is hard to get them to leave our place. We do take them to Benson Sculpture Park in downtown Loveland. The area is great, and there is art everywhere to see. Fort Collins is a short drive, and with Denver being so close, there is so much to do.

Astoria Fine Art, Jackson, WY; Bronze Coast Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR; Gallery 822, Santa Fe, NM; The Plainsmen Gallery, Clearwater, FL; Rowe Fine Art Gallery, Sedona, AZ; Thomas Anthony Gallery, Park City, UT;

Featured in the July 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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