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Corpus sculpted for Pope John Paul II Catholic Church

By Roberto Garcia
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Roxanne Schick This crucifix, with the Corpus created by Pagosa sculptor Roberto Garcia, stands at the front of John Paul II Catholic Church on South Pagosa Boulevard.

Photo courtesy Roxanne Schick
This crucifix, with the Corpus created by Pagosa sculptor Roberto Garcia, stands at the front of John Paul II Catholic Church on South Pagosa Boulevard.

Father Don Malin called me about a year ago and I met with him  to discuss creating a four-foot bronze sculpture of a Corpus of Jesus Christ that would be mounted on an existing 10-foot steel cross in front of Pope John Paul II Catholic Church.

I made a charcoal sketch, which I submitted along with my proposal to Father Don. Father, Ruben Meza and John Rasich later commissioned me to create the bronze. The Corpus was delivered and installed a few days before Easter 2013. My wife, Ana, John O’Brien and Chad Haspels helped me install the piece.

The process used to sculpt the corpus for the crucifix is called “lost wax bronze casting.” It’s an elaborate process, but here are half a dozen major steps. First, I create a clay model, followed by a master rubber mold. Then, I cast an exact wax copy and mold the wax copy with ceramic material. I then melt the wax out and pour in molten bronze at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, I weld all the sections together, grind, polish and add the patina or color finish.

I have also created and cast in bronze the Fourteen Stations of The Cross that now reside in the Father John C. Bowe Prayer Garden behind Pope John Paul II Catholic Church. I began these sculptures in 2003 and, after three years, the works were installed in the Prayer Garden. I have also accepted a commission and delivered a sculpture to a church in Texas.

Presently, I am a full-time sculptor and painter. I believe the best art comes from a person’s imagination and art is a discipline, which takes much practice in order to become skilled. Most often, I create art for the sake of art, or to fulfill the creative desire that is unique in all of us. Every piece is a step or lesson to create the next one. All work represented in the Corpus is done by the artist, including the bronze casting. My website is www.garcia-art.com.

I am grateful for the honor of working on this project and hope to continue creating work that enhances the artistic culture of Pagosa Springs.

Bishop Fernando Isern will be here to bless the new crucifix on Saturday, April 13, following the 5 p.m. mass. All are welcome to attend.

This story was posted on April 11, 2013.