Henderson man brings western art to life
If you are looking for an artist who is inspired by farm and ranch life, then Vern Friesen really fits that description.
We visited Friesen at his gallery in Henderson. "I've done art as long as I can remember," Friesen said. "The bronze pieces started around 1996. My sculpture class in college was my best class. But the casting costs, and the logistics of that kept me from doing that for a while." Friesen says he started out drawing, and then he did a lot of painting, and finally moved into the bronze work. Friesen has been a farmer for most of his adult career. "I would do art work in the off season," Friesen said.
Most of Friesen's work revolves around western scenes. "I guess I was born an artist, but I was also born a cowboy," he said. "The horses, cattle, and wildlife have always interested me, and that's the kind of pieces that I do. Sometimes I'll notice something on one of my own horses, how he stands or how he looks at you that will give me an inspiration to do something."
Friesen has done some life-sized pieces, and one of his favorites can be found outside the York library, and it's called "Once Upon a Time". It feature a grandfather reading to his grand kids. "The main attribute of an artist is his eyes," Friesen said. "People think it's in your hands maybe, but it's really what you see." Most of Friesen's work is displayed in the gallery in Henderson. Friesen has a website called vernfriesen.com. You can see pieces on that website, as well.
The process of creating a piece of bronze art is complex. "I start the bronze pieces in clay, and then I make a silicone mold from the clay, and pour a wax model. The wax goes to the foundry, and the foundry puts it in a ceramic shell, melts the wax out and pours in the molted bronze. The shell is broken out. Any welding that needs to be done is done at the foundry. Then they send it to me, and I do the metal chasing and the patina work to finish the bronzes," Friesen said.
If you are ever in Henderson, you might consider a visit to the Vern Friesen Gallery. Henderson also has a number of other fun places to visit, including the coffee shop called "Perks". The coffee shop just a couple of doors down from the Friesen gallery offers great coffee, desserts, and other treats.