40 Prominent People | Dave McGary

Dave McGary
Sculptor • Scottsdale, AZ

Dave McGary

Distinction: For many years, McGary has been one of the best-known sculptors in the West.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the art world during your career? The access that computers provide has had such an impact. The computer has expanded our reach worldwide. Also, the quality of the materials has improved, offering new opportunities in the lost-wax process.
How do you define success? Outsmarting the native trout in the rivers of Idaho! Specific to my art, when I was young, there was this incredible challenge to bring the images of my imagination to clay. Thirty years later, I find that I am more satisfied with finished pieces and what I am communicating. I have established my own artistic identity, my signature style. People see a McGary and they know it is a McGary.
People would be surprised to learn that … I have so many other interests, like fly-fishing and restoring very rare, pre-World War II automobiles.
Where do you find inspiration? I am inspired by all my Native American friends. The personal histories they have shared with me over the last thirty years are my main source of inspiration.
What role has Southwest Art magazine played in your career? From my first feature article to years later, when my bronze YOUNG MEN OF THE ENEMY FEAR HIS HORSES, was on the cover, Southwest Art has been instrumental in getting my work in front of the art world’s audience.
Describe yourself in one word. Dedicated.
If your home or studio was on fire, what one thing would you save? I would have to save two things: my two little studio buddies, the dynamic duo of Kodi and Bailey, who are a mix of poodle, Shih Tzu, and Bichon.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next 10 years? More public monuments. They are a great way to educate the public and a challenge to create. I’d also like to catch bigger rainbow trout.
Any regrets? That I didn’t think about the opportunity earlier for my bronzes to help generate educational scholarship monies to help Native Americans go to college. My wife Molly and I did this for the Shoshones at Fort Washakie at the University of Wyoming. We’ve helped raise over $400,000 for scholarships.
How would you like to be remembered? For having documented, with respect, the culture of Native American people. For being innovative and establishing my own techniques and style of work. I hope I have changed the way people look at bronze sculpture. For showing that there really are no limits in what is possible in bronze, that we can capture an amazing amount of detail and depth of color for another level of realism.

Featured in “40 Prominent People” in May 2011.