Kirk McGuire was born into an artist bloodline, and when asked how he became an artist he considers himself "a born artist", completely self taught from the age of four. His mother was a very creative and talented artist and encouraged his talents, as did his teachers who praised his abilities from an early age. He knows of distant relatives who are artists and he’s even a distant relative of President John Quincy Adams who was one of our few artistically inclined presidents.
Growing up in the Sierra foothills of California, he gained a great love and interest for nature and the outdoors. Kirk studied all wildlife and the natural world since childhood, including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, plants, and marine life. He recalls finding pockets of natural clay while hiking alone in the Sierra forest as a child, which he sculpted into wildlife and placed in the sun to dry. Kirk is gifted with a photographic memory for all the wildlife he studies, and many times sculpts from memory alone. When he does study, he reviews photos, film and in particular live subjects in their natural habitat making sure he captures what makes his subject look alive and in motion.
In 1983 Kirk began a nine year apprenticeship at The Monterey Sculpture Center where he learned metal finishing until he was promoted to Master Mold Maker after four years. Working in a bronze foundry was a amazing schooling for Kirk. He learned his technique from experience, creating, and perfecting. Kirk has become a Master Sculptor and his eye for balance and details are unparalleled in the sculpture world. One of his first sculptures, the now sold out piece 'On The Move', is museum quality. When he showed it in an art gallery in Carmel California, an industry expert told the gallery owner "Kirk's octopus bronze was so realistic and lifelike, he must have cast it from molding a real one!" This would of course be an impossibility, but Kirk took the remark as a great compliment. Most bronze artists rely on the foundry to do it all, but not Kirk. He has made over sixty bronze creations molding each one himself, as well as doing the wax work, and metal finishing on over 1,500 of his collected limited edition sculptures .
It takes great skill and intricate molds to create the detail and caliber of execution captured in Kirk’s art. The different species he sculpts are impressive and the list is long. Most recent are his new giant octopus, giant squid, moray eel, a large jellyfish, and a leafy sea dragon as well. All his sculptures are very fluid, capturing the essence of the species. After viewing his work in person, or by photographs, many think his works are some of the best they have seen. He has had over 1,500 editions of his work collected in his extraordinary 28 year sculpting career. His work has been collected across the United States as well as Singapore, Bahamas, Bermuda, St. John Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos. He has even been commissioned to create a custom piece by a Malaysian Princess in Johor Baharu.
Kirk has now settled in San Francisco where he has his studio. He’s in the process of recreating his art with a completely new and revolutionary collection of marine life bronzes. Currently he is sculpting five new creations each of which will be offered as sculptures and glass topped tables. All of his sculptures will continue to be produced in small limited editions. Kirk knows these will be his most creative and best works to date, and is very excited about sculpting all of his new creations. San Francisco, as well as his most recent trip to Florence and Bologna have inspired Kirk on a higher level. Filled with inspiration, he continues to sculpt his amazing bronze masterpieces.
From the artist
"I have always been fascinated with nature and the variety of amazing wildlife that exists in it. It is my inspiration! In particular the unusual and unique species. I am also inspired by the beginning of the bronze age of man. I sculpt in a way that shows an emphasis on balance and harmony, movement and rhythm. Every living thing has beauty and I try to show this. I strive to make all of my bronze sculptures fluid, defy gravity, and bring attention to each amazing species that I sculpt. Making a heavy stationary object appear to be light, move, and be filled with life is a challenge for sure. This is what I do. I love the challenge. I hope through my sculpture to bring an awareness of the land and sea around us, to the animals that live here. We must respect and cherish all life and our home Mother Earth. Many people ask me "why bronze?" Bronze lasts forever! I’ve created in most art mediums over the years, but once I discovered bronze I felt connected to it and felt it was the material most appropriate for my art. I love creating pieces of art that have unusual textures and amazing shapes that fill space with movement. To me bronze captures a moment of life and a moment in time forever. If you think about it, many of the amazing sculptures we now cherish, are in awe of, even amazed by, are in bronze and have lasted for centuries because of it. Some of the greatest museum pieces were found at the bottom of our great oceans and are thousands of years old. Once they have been cleaned of crustaceans and barnacles, they remain as they were created all those years ago. When you collect a bronze you not only have insured you have a valuable piece of art and history, you insure you have an investment to pass down to generations to come. Fine art collectors tell me my work makes them happy and that is all I need to hear. In some ways to create in bronze means you are immortalizing your subject as well as yourself. I like to think someone might discover one of my sculptures like a lost treasure, salvaging it from the bottom of the sea. Clean the barnacles off it and enjoy it for generations to come"
At the moment
"I absolutely love sculpting the strange and unusual creatures that we really know little about such as octopus, giant squid, cuttlefish, moray eels, leafy sea dragons, and so many other species of the world. Since my first octopus bronze sculpture has sold out it's editions, I have just finished a new octopus sculpture titled ‘Cephalopod’ which is my very first bronze sculpture also offered as a glass top coffee table. I’m also creating a new giant squid as a bronze sculpture or small dining table, as well as leafy sea dragons with flowing sea grass sofa end tables, and a large bronze moray eel swimming over a 15 B.C. Minoan vase covered in coral. This too will be offered as a small dining table or free standing sculpture. Always pushing my limits, I’m also currently sculpting a large jellyfish, which again will be offered as a glass top rectangular coffee table or a free standing sculpture. I will offer this piece in polished stainless steel as this will best represent the airiness and fluidity of the creature.”
Locations where Kirk McGuire sculptures have been exhibited:
Carmel, CA. Boca Raton, FL.
Monterey, CA. Captiva Islands, FL.
Pacific Grove, CA. Sanibel, Islands, FL.
Santa Cruz, CA. Key West, FL.
Soquel, CA. Boston, MA.
Capitola, CA. Maui, HI.
La Selva Beach, CA. Kauai, HI.
Cambria, CA. St. John Virgin Islands
San Diego, CA. Turks and Caicos Islands
Palm Desert, CA. St George Parish, Bermuda
Sausalito, CA. Shaw Cente, Singapore
Manhattan, NY. San Francisco, CA.