From the artist:
"The creation of an original bronze sometimes begins with a fabricated metal sculpture. Overall design; position, attitude, and proportions are outlined in metal, which serves as a rigid armature. Layers of clay and wax, depending upon the desired level of detail, are built up over the metal sculpture. Then elaborate and accurate feather and scale patterns and other fine detail are sculpted and carved in the clay and wax. Finally, the original sculpture is signed, dated and edition size set.
Traditional bronzes are cast by the lost wax method, from their original metal, clay and wax sculptures. A flexible silicon rubber mold with a rigid fiberglass jacket is taken off the original sculpture. This 'Master Mold' is used to cast the wax duplicates for the lost wax casting process. It takes one wax pattern to produce one bronze casting. So, although there is a mold involved, each wax is detailed, each bronze is cast
and finished by hand one at a time.
Bill is involved in all aspects, from detailing waxes to chasing, finishing and patina work. The ceramic shell investment and metal pours are done at trusted outside foundries. Bill has developed his own hot chemical patina techniques and uses a variety of natural, multi-colored patinas on most of his pieces; rich iron reds, browns and golds, copper blues and greens, silver grays and titanium whites. Some colors are impossible to achieve with chemicals, and a light acrylic wash is applied over the base patina. Patinas are sealed with a coat of paste wax while the bronze is still hot from the patina process, or a coat of clear acrylic after the bronze is cool. Most bronzes are mounted on green or white marble or on orchard hardwood bases."
Bill Hunt was born in Bremerton, Washington in 1944 and grew up in China Lake, California on the Mojave Desert. His conservation ethic, and a deep appreciation for the natural world grew from boyhood Scouting experiences, including backpacking in the High Sierra and sailing on the Pacific.
This sparked Bill's keen interest in Biology and Natural History. Enthralled with the sea, he joined the Navy in 1963, and spent almost 4 years aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex.
In 1968 he resumed his education, first at DeAnza College in Cupertino, where he met Zoology and Ecology Professor Doug Cheeseman. Then, in 1971 he transfered to Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. There he was influenced by Dr. Warren Houck, a leading authority on Marine Mammals. He graduated from Humboldt State in 1974 with a MS in Fisheries Management. Upon graduation Bill took a job with Duke Power Company in Charlotte, NC, working as a Fisheries Biologist. Other related work followed.
In 1979, Bill first used an oxygen /acetylene torch, steel welding rod and bronze to construct a scale model of a humpback whale. The result was an anatomically accurate, sixty inch welded and brazed metal sculpture. Displayed for the first time that spring at the Cabrillo Beach Whale Fiesta, the sculpture demonstrated Bill's unique talent for blending scientific detail with graceful movement and evocative beauty. On the strength of this first piece, the Cabrillo Marine Museum and the American Cetacean Society commissioned Bill to build a series of 1/12 scale whales that now make up a part of the museum's permanent Great Whales Exhibit. New ideas and private commissions on a wide variety of subjects followed, including more whales, dinosaurs, marine birds, fish, sea turtles, birds of prey and African mammals. Bill was soon working as an artist as well as a biologist.
Bill and his wife, Rebecca met on a Whalewatch trip early in 1980, and married later that same year. They collaborated on several unique pieces. In 1981, at the urging of fellow Wildlife and Whale sculptor Randy Puckett, Bill and Rebecca left all regular employment behind and moved to the Monterey Bay area to take advantage of the Art Bronze Foundry there. Bill began working full time as a professional sculptor, developing pieces that could be cast in limited edition bronze. His personal experiences watching birds and wildlife in the field are the inspiration for the design of his pieces. Building on visions of his observations, he uses careful measurements of actual subjects, and painstaking examinations of scientific illustrations and photographs.
Before her death in 2014, Rebecca worked in stained glass, and as an accomplished graphic designer and watercolorist. In 1986 she sculpted the first of her limited edition bronzes, a Pintail Duck which later graced the pages of the Mystic Maritime Gallery Desk Calender, 1989. She graduated from Hartnell College in Salinas in 1989 with an AA in Fine Arts. She created five more limited edition bronzes since her first, and in 1990 she and Bill again collaborated on an original work, this time an Art Nouveau inspired bronze Mermaid with an illuminated Nautilus Shell. Rebecca sculpted the female figure, and left the fishy tail and kelp fronds to Bill.
As Bill worked, his art was refined and matured in both style and finish, and by 2006 he and Rebecca had over 70 bronzes in limited editions. Their works are included in the private collections of musician Smokey Robinson, oceanographers Sylvia Earl and Jean Michael Cousteau, entomologist and naturalist Edward O. Wilson, marine wildlife photographer Bob Talbot, economist Art Laffer and Louisiana Governor Edwin W. Edwards. His wildlife bronzes have been shown in a number of prestigious galleries across the United States, including the Mystic Maritime Gallery in Mystic CT; The Red Piano on Hilton Head Island, SC; The Darvish Collection in Naples, FL; Christopher Bell Collection in Monterey, CA and Visions Gallery in Morro Bay, CA. In 1986 Bill was named Outstanding Wildlife Sculptor of the Year by Seagate Foundation for the Arts in Houston, TX and in 1988 he received an award of excellence for new work at the Mystic Maritime Gallery.