Nationally acclaimed sculptor Benjamin Victor is meticulous in his work, studying the character of those his bronze and marble statues will represent and then masterfully re-creating thought-provoking detail in the faces of his clay sculptures.
His most recent work has been installed on the campus of Boise State University — a 9-foot bronze statue of Steve Appleton. The likeness of Appleton stands, hand reaching out, in the courtyard on the east side of the Micron Business and Economics Building.
“We are pleased to unveil this lasting tribute to Steve Appleton, who made so many enduring contributions to his alma mater,” said Boise State University President Bob Kustra. “And to have the talented and inspirational Ben Victor here with us is an extraordinary win for our students and our community.”
Victor, formerly Artist in Residence at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, was chosen from among a national pool of sculptors to complete the commissioned Appleton statue. He has since been named an Artist in Residence and Professor of the Practice at Boise State and has moved to Boise.
Victor received his first large commission when he was only 23 years old. At age 26, he became the youngest artist ever to have a sculpture in the nation’s foremost collection, the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. Nine years later he became the only living artist to have two works in Statuary Hall.
Victor is helping to re-imagine 9,000 square feet of space in the former Mechanical Technology Building to create a studio and public gallery in the coming months. The building is on the east end of campus between the Student Union Building and Albertsons Stadium. He completed work on the Appleton statue there earlier this month.
“If this piece is a success, it’s because of Steve’s family, who worked with me every step of the way,” Victor said. “We set out to capture who he was, both as a businessman and a family man. Steve was a very giving person, so his right hand is reaching out to the viewer. His left hand is clenched to show that he was a tough competitor, who climbed his way to the top.”
Victor has created numerous bronze and marble statues that now stand at sites around the country honoring historical figures, war heroes, firefighters and more. He brought clay versions of many of his works with him to Boise. He will continue to create commissioned pieces in the new studio space and envisions it being a place for both students and community members to see the artistic process at work.
“The art department at Boise State is world class and on the cutting edge with their artistic processes,” he said. “It is exciting and inspiring to be here. We are going to create a gallery that is among the top in the country, and I couldn’t be more excited about helping further promote the arts in Boise.”
Boise State’s Professor of the Practice program identifies talented and accomplished business, scientific and artistic leaders from around the country and beyond and invites them to bring world-class experience and excitement to Boise State students.