Toney Redman

Meet the Artist: Toney Redman

"I was raised in the mid-west and have had no formal art training. I graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with a degree in psychology and began law school in 1967. After my first year of law I enlisted in the U.S. Army and did one tour of duty in Viet Nam. Thereafter I returned and completed law school, received a J.D. degree and moved to Dillon Colorado with no intention of becoming a practicing attorney. I returned to Lincoln one year later where I practiced law for 42 years as a criminal defense attorney.

I never considered becoming an artist either but always enjoyed "making things". For 15 years I made furniture from oak, walnut and mahogany. In 2oo5 I discovered the creative possibilities of steel, built a second shop and began creating sculptures. In 2014 I retired from the practice of law and now focus entirely on " making things".

It would seem to most that I made a radical switch from being a trial attorney for 42 years to being an artist doing metal sculpture. As I see it the transition has been quite natural. Both occupations are about creating an image that captures the attention of the observer. Jury persuasion is visual art in its highest form. Just as the sculptor, from wood, steel or stone, carefully crafts and coaxes a form of being that has an emotional appeal, so too does the trial attorney. The trial is a wholly creative process wherein the attorney precisely choreographs strategies and chisels and molds the evidence into a form which most positively and profoundly appeals to twelve people. Both sculptor and attorney take the raw, ennoble it with imagination and design, and render it to be of value. Put very simply the goals are identical--the artist crafts a sculpture with visual appeal and the trial attorney sculpts mental images in the minds of others.

The challenge that goes into creating a work of art should reflect the passion of the artist. I believe creating fine art is about the power of visualization and imagination and the ability and technique the artist employs to define his or her work and present the ordinary in an extraordinary way.

I try to coax "being" from the inanimate to give it a spirit and present it with a new sense of relevance and meaning. My passion for art is relentless and it continues to evolve as I explore new ideas of form, construction and color."

The Process

Each metal sculpture is made entirely by hand from steel and or copper. The brown patina on steel is simply "rust". Each part of the sculpture is first forged for shape and then textured. Some of the texturing is done with a plasma cutter, to lend a woody bark appearance, and other textures are pounded into steel and copper with a variety of texturing hammers. The brown tones are achieved by first laying down an acrylic base, for a bone or antler appearance, and then the steel is coated with a solution that accelerates the rusting process which lasts 2 to 24 hours.

Copper colors are a bit more tricky and unpredictable. A variety of patinas are used in combination with heat. The difficulty is that the final hue isn't realized until a sealer is applied. Its a bit like painting in the dark.

When completed all steel parts are thoroughly washed coated with several coats of sealer and heavily waxed.