Chris Navarro — Confidence, Faith, & Ignorance: The Keys to Success

The BoldBrush Show: Episode #76

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On this episode, we sat down with Chris Navarro, a professional bronze sculptor with a passion for Western art. Chris tells us all about his past as a bull and buck rider, his serendipitous discovery of his love of sculpting, the 3 ingredients to becoming a great artist, and how he always uses rejection as a motivator for getting his work to the next level. Finally he tells us about the importance of having a good reputation and keeping your word as an artist to your collectors, and we hear all about his new projects and his participation at the upcoming Briscoe Night of the Artists!

Chris Navarro's FASO Site:

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Chris' YouTube Channel:



Chris Navarro: 0:00

I tell I tell people, you need three things to be a good artist and you need the same three things to be a good bull rider. And you need to have confidence, faith and ignorance. And people go, Oh, they just kind of froze them. And they said, Why you say ignorance, I says, because you got to believe that you can do it even though everything's stacked against you. Welcome

Laura Arango Baier: 0:18

to the BoldBrush show, where we believe that fortune favors the bold brush. My name is Laura Arango Baier, and I'm your host. For those of you who are new to the podcast. We are a podcast that covers art marketing techniques, and all sorts of business tips specifically to help artists learn to better sell their work. We interview artists at all stages of their careers as well as others were in careers tied to the art world in order to hear their advice and insights. On this episode, we sat down with Chris Navarro, a professional bronze sculptor with a passion for Western art. Chris tells us all about his past as a bowl and book writer, his serendipitous discovery of his love of sculpting the three ingredients to becoming a great artist, and how he always uses rejection as a motivator for getting his work to the next level. Finally, he tells us about the importance of having a good reputation and keeping your word as an artist to your collectors. And we hear all about his new projects and his participation at the upcoming Briscoe night of the artists. Welcome, Chris to the BoldBrush show. How are you today?

Chris Navarro: 1:21

I'm doing well. Really well. How are you doing? Great.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:25

I'm like, as I was saying, I'm so excited to have you on the show. You're my very first guest who is a sculptor, and you sculpt for a living. And your sculptures are absolutely breathtaking, amazing. It is again, aside from sculpture, it is specifically monumental sculpture that you do, which is an even smaller niche within

Chris Navarro: 1:46

Well, I specialize in monumental sculptures, but I do all sizes tabletops besides usually every monument I do, I do my kit, you know, to figure out my designs and compositions first and then I usually end up casting the my my kits and doing those also but you know, when you're doing a big monument like like that big T Rex I did that's 28 feet long, 30 and a half feet tall. So and then I made it half skeletal half flesh, but I made my cat work on my design proportions.

Laura Arango Baier: 2:15

Yeah, I mean, that's a great point to make. Of course, you know, before you make something large, you know, kind of like when you do painting, you always have like little study of the final piece. So you can work out any issues, you know, to prevent any issues from happening with the final piece, which of course with sculpture, you would have the same thing. But I do admire that, you know, a lot of your your pieces are monumental, they're quite big. And of course, we can dive into the actual, I guess the logistics of how they're cast and everything a little bit later. But before we dive in, do you mind telling us a bit about who you are and what you do?

Chris Navarro: 2:52

Well, my name is Chris Navarro. I'm just turned 68 years old. I've been a professional bronze ours for over 38 years. I've owned a gallery in Sedona, Arizona for the last 24 years. I have two studios at a studio in Casper, Wyoming. This is my hometown. And I also have a studio in Sedona and an art gallery that I own. So my wife and I run that. And I've been blessed to be able to make a living at this, this roller coaster ride of being a professional artist. Because you know, this was a great event. I mean, that's one of the things about it. You never know how much money you're gonna make from month to month. So it's it's always interesting. Again, I've been really fortunate, I've been able to support my family and then have a good life from it. And just, I love so it's, you know, it's not something I plan on retiring from. I just, I don't know how many more years I got climbing ladders and scaffolding, but I got a few more.

Laura Arango Baier: 3:51

Yeah, I mean, it'll keep you fit to also, you know, maintain that.

Chris Navarro: 3:56

Yeah, watch, ride horses a lot. And I got into pickleball here last few years, my wife and I play a lot of pickleball that's awesome. I have a yoga routine I do every morning. So I kind of keep things around and keep the juices flowing. So yeah. So you know, the older you get, the more you need to use it or lose it they

Laura Arango Baier: 4:18

said exactly. That's an excellent point to make. So it's, that's awesome that you have a routine and you know you're focused on you know, not just feeding your soul with your work but also your body. With keeping that up. I think it's such a balance and especially as artists that can be such a sedentary lifestyle. Although, you know, with sculpture, you're definitely more on your feet than a painter, of course.

Chris Navarro: 4:42

I try to be pretty active and do a lot of things. So I've also had a lot of injuries, you know, over my rodeo career and I use guild has been the best thing I started doing in 2012 Because everything was starting to hurt my back and you know, stretch getting things moving first thing in the morning. It's a good way to start today.

Laura Arango Baier: 5:04

Absolutely, yeah, definitely wakes you up. And then you know, I find it interesting too, that, you know, you just mentioned your injuries. How a lot of your work is very much. It's very Western has a lot of horses. And you know, for listeners who maybe haven't heard, like you mentioned, you did have a career, you know, riding bulls and broncs. Do you mind telling us a bit about that?

Chris Navarro: 5:28

Oh, yeah, I started. I got my first horse when I was 12 years old. I always wanted to be a cowboy when I was a little boy. And my mom said, ever since I was like two, three years old, so I wanted to be was a cowboy. So I was fortunate I got a horse given to me when I was 12 years old, and we were stationed another airbase and other family had a horse and they were being transferred, and they gave me the horse. So it was great training, because I didn't have a saddle at the time. So I rode that horse, horse bareback for a whole year before I got my first saddle. So that was really good training for getting balanced in coordination and for riding rough stock. So I started showing horses, I joined four h and I started working with some trainers that were at the stables where I kept my horses and I would ride some of the younger, inexperienced horses and get to get them gentle down some and I really liked horses, horses have been a big part of my life, they still are. So when I was 16, we were transferred again to Madrid, Spain was torn on airbase, and they had a riding stable over there. And then I went to, there's a military rodeo circuit over there between the Navy, the Marines Army and the Air Force, the different bases, they have a rodeo clubs over there, I got introduced to that. And I watched some guys riding bulls and broncs one day, and I said, you know, I'd like to try that. Next day, you know, I started getting on some and I start having pretty good success at the beginning. And it's just something I had a real passion for. And a lot of passion for because you know, had you gotten injured, you know, I mean, that's the thing. You know, when you're young, you still bounce at 16. So balls all through school, and then I won the title for the I won the all around title over there when I was a senior in high school and the military circuit. So I was writing against the guys that were probably, you know, five, six years older than me, they were all mostly enlisted military men, a lot of Marine Corps guys, a lot of Navy, and a lot of air force and some army guys. So I was independent. My dad was in the military, but I wasn't, but I was writing against all the soldiers that were other also more soldiers. I was writing against it. And I loved it. And I thought, What man, I want to do this for a living, and I've had some success with it. My parents say you gotta my parents both have college degrees. And they will say, you know, there's not much of a future in this. We want you to get out of school and get a college degree. And that's when I I read an article, Western horseman magazine bought Casper College rodeo team. And what a great team they had. They weren't like, they weren't a national champions for several years. And I said, Well, I'm gonna go to college, I want to go where the rodeo. And I said, I've never been to Wyoming before. And Wyoming is called the cowboy state as well. That's the place I want to go. So I remember I was 18 years old, I bought an old car for $250, San Antonio, Texas, where my family is all from. And I drove all the way from San Antonio, Texas, up to Casper, Wyoming. This is a 1974 and I had an old car for$250. And everything I wanted the truck and I didn't know one person in the whole state of Wyoming and I liked it so much. I just settled there. It's still my home now. And that's one thing growing up in it, like people say, Oh, you didn't know anybody. I said no, it wasn't that big difference from my past life, you know, moving every two to three years. So I really didn't even think much about it. So I started there with with the dreams of that. And I went to college for two years and I rode bulls had a little bit of success, not not as much as I wanted. And then I left college and I tried to ride bulls full time for nine months. I got tired and I got hurt a few times I've started not having any money at all, you know, I was just poor. I was living from hand to mouth and I couldn't, you know, it was a hard existence financially. So I decided to quit riding bulls and finally get my life together. And I started working Wyoming oil fields now starting to make some pretty good money working on oil rigs. So I was wearing a hard hat still toes and getting greasy, dirty every day and working outside. And I mean, I like to work. It was good, hard physical work, but I was you know, in the prime of my life at 21. And then I did that for a couple years and I felt like something was missing. Then one day and we were out hunting, my roommate. We were going to last Kevin Wyoming and there's a famous Wyoming sculptor named Harry Jackson. And I didn't know Harry Jackson or any of his work. So his cousin was a caretaker for her and he said, Hey, let's go over and, you know, we'll get some lead or my cousin's he's managing this. This ranch a studio for Harry Jackson. Great. So when we get there, they have this bronze and they put out a crate and it's a beautiful bronze of cowboy riding steamboat, the famous Wyoming bucking horse and it's called two champs. It was probably about I don't know it's probably at least four 30 inches tall. And it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw this guy's riding horses just twisting inside out and it's spurn embodies this back from like the early 1900s. When the steroid Bronx back then was single rig saddles and all that, and I said, Man, I got that as most beautiful thing. I'd like to own that how much is a guy goes $35,000. I said, Wow, that's a lot of money. This is a 1979. I'm thinking like, and I'm not I can't afford that. But you know what, maybe I go make new ones. So very next day, I had the spark eluding me and I went down to the art store on Casper called go to our store, I met John go to Kona, and I said, Hey, I don't know anything about making bronze sculptures, but I want to do one, he so I can start give you some supplies. So he sold me a bunch supplies. And I drove over to the Natrona County Library, which is about four blocks away. And I went to the library and I said, you know, I really don't know that much about sculptor. He can be every book you got on sculpture. I think I got like a dozen books. And I was living in a trailer house at the time. So I drove all that back and started going through those books and putting the materials in my hand. And I mean, I learned from the trial and error. You know, it's it was a slow process going that way. But I mean, my first sculpture was a bull rider, and it was called spinning and winning. And I cast it the next year. And I remember, it cost me$1,000 To cast that sculpture. And that took almost, I don't know, two thirds of my paycheck for the month, you know, and I was thinking like, Wow, that's pretty expensive. And I said I had to do it. Well, Clicquot foundry and Cody, Wyoming is run by Bucky Hall and him and I've been in business now going on for 43 years. And he saw it he goes, that's pretty nice for your first piece. There's a local art show here. Cody Art League, let me enter. So I don't know. That's my first sculpture. I said, All right. So he entered it for me and I want a blue ribbon in first place and $15. And I said, Well, I'm on to something now. And I don't know the skin a little bit of reassurance that maybe I could do something like this. And next thing I know I I start sculpting with some working all day. And then I go home at night and sculpt. And on the weekends. I had weekends off, I'd go sculpt. And I just started creating art. And I started drawing and I went back to I went to Casper College, they had an art department. I didn't even major in art when I went to school. And when I was running bulls, I was an Animal Science Technology major. So I took horseshoeing and I took like, you know, beef production, horse production, you know, I was learning in agriculture as an Agricultural Department. And I was thinking like, you know, I should have gone to the Arctic, but I didn't know you can make a living as an artist never entered my mind. And then. So then I went back to college at night, and I started taking on to painting and drawing and I took photography, and I took creative writing and video production, I went back and started learning these things that I needed. I mean, when you're an artist, you got to wear a lot of hats. I mean, so I did learn that, you know, I was I was trying to find somebody to photograph my sculptures and I had to drive down to Loveland, Colorado, because there's a bunch of professional bronze artists living level Colorado, because of the huge foundries that are down there. But that's 250 miles each way. And then the guy was charged me $100 A sculpture to shoot them. And I was watching them this is back in the old days when there was film. And they were shooting them with four by five full cameras, you know, full format cameras, and I, you know, saw, I went to a pawn shop bought a used one graphic view, and then I learned how to do it because you know, magazines, what do you look at you send them slides back in those days, things have changed so much, I mean, digital cameras, the internet. But back in the stone age, in the 1980s. There wasn't any of that. And it was, I feel like, at least in the United States, and probably most of the world, you know that, you know, the We're experienced kind of a renaissance in art, I believe there's more professional artists in our time now than in any other time. It has to do with the Internet. Back in the old days before the internet and everything else. I mean, the only way that you could get success is you had to get into art magazines he had to do. Hand there's just a handful of good art shows back then to get in and he had a gallery representation. And then people couldn't, that's how they found out about you. But now with the internet, it opens the field up for so many people to actually be you know, share their work with others. And I I've been in the internet, I got my first website in 1996 was a group website with artists for conservation. I'm still with that group. But I have my own website now with FASO. So and that's been a really good website because I was doing the old building from scratch, keeping it up dated, having speed problems, crash problems, it was only some kind of problems, but I'll be honest, as fast as taking it over. It's, it's been a real, it makes it a lot easier. And I and I think just like how many artists are on there. I mean, there's more artists that have websites now than than ever and I think there's more growing so it's just it's just changed the whole nature of being a professional artist, the internet. Yeah, it's

Laura Arango Baier: 14:48

definitely helped it become more got accessible. You know, for a lot of people and especially, you know, there are even people today who have absolutely no gallery representation They can still make a living thanks to the internet, which I find amazing. And, you know, obviously, you had to have a lot of tenacity. You know, before right before the internet became so excited.

Chris Navarro: 15:17

People, I tell people that you know, bull riding was really there are some don't believe it, but it was good training, do professional artists, it makes you mentally and physically tough for one thing. The second thing it does, I tell, I tell people, you need three things. To be a good artist, you need the same three things to be a good bull rider. And you need to have confidence, faith and ignorance. And people go, Oh, they just kind of froze them. And they said, Why you say ignorance is just because you got to believe that you can do it, even though everything's stacked against you. Like you get on this big old 1800 pound bull and you think like, you know, he ain't gonna step on me and hurt me on this ride, you know, and if you start thinking that way, you're gonna get hurt. And you start thinking like all these you go in there with some fear, you're gonna get hurt. So yeah, I think, you know, it made me I tried to live my life with as little fear as possible in it. And I think it was a great training. So like, I haven't been afraid to step out there and do things like that. So like, I have a scuffling for almost seven years before I decided to do it full time. And I got me and my wife got married 1980, it was the same year I cast my first sculpture. So she's kind of seen the career go from nothing to something. And then I was working in Northville, as a field superintendent, the time I was making pretty good living, I had an office and a secretary and a truck and a steady paycheck. And then it was March 13 1986 cylinder, I quit that job. And my little boy was 10 months old, and my wife was pregnant with our daughter. And a lot of nobody thought was a good decision. Nobody said, hey, my mom said, you know, son, that's pretty risky, you know, which is, you know, been afraid of risk. So you know, I mean, I went out there, I didn't have a plan B a whole lot. I had a thrift plan at work, and I'd saved about $25,000. And that was my seed money to get me started. Until my wife says, I can't make a living in a year at this, I'll go back and work in oil rigs, but I think I can make this go. And, you know, it seems like when sales started getting low, or some some would come along a commission or a big seller come along, and I started getting in more galleries. And when I first started marketing assistant back in 1986, when I became a full time artists, you know, the internet still wasn't around. So well galleries was kind of the way that I figured to go and I said, Well, the only people that buy art and have discretionary income, so I'm gonna go to places that have wealthy people living at them. And that's kind of my basic philosophy. It wasn't that deep. I went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and got in the gallery there. I also went to Aspen, Colorado, I was in gallery and Park City. I like to ski so I started working on it. I was in Vail and Breckenridge. And I just there were places I could drive to in a day from Wyoming and I started marketing all my artwork there, and they started selling. And that was kind of the thing that got me going. And I was fortunate that I was able to kind of keep things rolling, where I never got completely busted out, you know, where I had to go back and get another job. So I always just believe that, you know, I can do this, you know, and sometimes you work a lot hours at it. And you know, I've seen it whenever I lacked in talent I'd make up with with hard work. And, like, I don't really have an academic background in art. I tell people I have a PhD in art though, because I was poor. I was hungry, and I was determined. That's my PhD. Oh, and I still been blessed with it, you know. And then you know, after about seven years, I started taking my first workshops, there was a scuttles artist workshops down in Scottsdale, Arizona. And I think I took my first work from from Jerry belcea and great sculptor and, and my learning curve went so fast in that one week. I said Wow. So in the next three years, I did 12 workshops with different artists Richard McDonald, Glenna Goodacre and fraught and I studied with some real masters abroad sculptors and and I tell you what, if you want to be a bronze artists, I mean, that's the quickest way I think, to learn a start through books and trial and error. And even though that's how I started, because I didn't know any better to be honest with you. And now that I've taught like six workshops, so they take a lot out of you and when I teach a workshop, it's I'm tired for the next week or two after because you know, I put a lot into it and I tried to get those students everything I've got because you know, that's what the people before me were giving me everything they got so and I actually use like models when right whenever I do workshops, I did one up in Kalispell, Montana, it was called Lions, tigers and bears and we actually had a grizzly bear a live grizzly bear live Tiger. And also he had like, he had like half a dozen mountain lions up there to plus the wolves and otters was a game farm up in Kalispell Montana. See in Wyoming, you're not allowed to have game farms. So, Montana call A lot of those places can have game farms, but Wyoming can't so, but I thought there's nothing better. And it was so fun to sculpt grizzly bears from life, you know, because it's not something you get to do every day. That's probably one of my most fun workshops, then, you know, a lot of other workshops I always had, I used to use, I'd bring my own horses, and we use horses for models, and, and I still use them for models, I mean, I ride them all the time to rope on them, so I get double w double dip on them. So and that's one thing, you know, we I think the two hardest things to sculpt as representational artists, the number one is a human figure. And number two is horses. And I think those two are the most difficult to actually get the realistic, you know, the realism coming through on a board and you get anything off proportionally, people just notice it, you know, at least I do. And that's why, you know, whenever I sculpt or any do any proportions, I work out my proportions by head size. So like, when I'm sculpting a horse, I usually, you know, average horse head is about 26 inches. And then average mass heads about nine inches. So I'm going to do a one six scale, I scale everything off of that. And I usually use metric the metric system so much better than standard. So to make something look realistic, you got to get the proportions, right, if you get the head too big, or the legs too short, or the body to sin, you know, and I think I try to elongate things a little bit, because it's more attractive, you know, and making things short and squatty. So, you know, you know, I take some artistic license, you know, and then, you know, when you do these big monuments, he's put all that aside and you start the sculpting away on In fact, the most fun thing I've ever sculpted in my whole career. I did a life size t rex and I was sculpted on the head and I had to head where I could bring it off with a crane, you know, so I could set it lower. So I could stand around and walk around it. But the head was huge. It was five feet long, you know, and, and I started just freeform and honestly, like, I really don't I've never seen a T Rex. And there's not a good reference material on T rexes, you know, so I mean, I had a, I had a skull replica that was cast. And I kind of use that for the teeth measurements and everything else. And I put all that stuff aside, and I just started sculpting it and it was was so fun, just like I just make it out of my mind mostly, which is the most fun way to sculpt in my opinion. I hate sitting there and looking at reference material. And I just like to let it flow I can, that's why I like doing these quick draws that I've been doing for the last 38 years. I do two quick draws a year, I still do the one at the Buffalo Bill art show and the Jackson Hole Arts Festival, they're a week apart. So you got to do a sculpture in 90 minutes from start to finish. And then they'll catch our calcium and bronze, but they'll auction them off. And then how many people you know, you can sell on to this. But you know, it's just getting in that flow state. And that's I'm a big believer in the mental aspects of life, you know, where you can, like, not overthink things too much, and just kind of let it flow out of you. And that's that's the funnest way to to make art or do anything really. Because once you get going on it is that 90 minutes goes by like It's like 15 minutes, it's an hour and a half gone by easiest so zoned in and so in tune to what you're doing. And that's one of the things I like about that some of the things that attracted me about bull riding, you know, it's just, he went into instant flow state, every time he climbed on a bullet nodding your head, it was just like, bam, your whole senses, your hearings would go away, and you just be so focused on what you're doing. And I find that doing these quick draws similar experiences over the last a lot longer. But I, I've been I've read every book I can on flow, you know, you know, there's quite a few books out there on it. And I still compete in team roping. And I try to use that. And I've been competing in pickleball, too. And you get in those flow states doing that, you know, and that's, I don't know, for me, it's kind of an addictive thing. And anytime I get in flow, it's a good day. Yeah. I don't know if that makes any sense to everybody.

Laura Arango Baier: 23:52

Oh, it does, I think I think it will, you know, there's so much to, you know, creation that is so dependent on flow. And, you know, in on the one hand, you know, being careful, like you were saying with proportion with making sure that things are like a puzzle that fits together in a cohesive manner. That makes sense. But at the same time, there's that balance of the abstract, the more abstract conceptual side that allows for more of this creative side to come through without all the logic, you know, it's such a balance. Yeah,

Chris Navarro: 24:27

I definitely don't believe in overthinking things. Like I remember that lady asked me she goes, Yeah, I want to sculpt a dinosaur. I want white to come out of it. And I say Yeah, can you never even in my mind that would come up with that ideas. 90 year old lady and she says, I want to leave a big monument to the state of Wyoming at the Tate Museum and I want it to be a dinosaur like coming out of it. And I thought wow, that is what a request. Well, if I'm gonna do a dinosaur, I'm gonna do it a T Rex, and if I'm gonna do live out of it, I know I gotta have a negative cavity in there so I'll make it half flesh and a half skillet. So when you looked at one side of the whole sculpture, it looks like a completely fleshed out T Rex, and then you'd spin it around. And it would be a total skeleton. And I don't know, it was kind of it was a cool concept and had our light coming out of. And she's the same lady also commissioned me to do, I did a 70 foot tall, Jesus Christ and was Sacred Heart of Jesus. And she wanted a light to come out of his heart design that it was a challenge to do that. So I've only done two sculptures of light coming out of them. And Mario's Tobin was the Benefactor commissioned me to do that. And, and then the last piece I was working on, she passed away before I got it done for but you know, you know, artists need those kind of collectors and sponsors to do a lot of these big projects, you know, and I'm always grateful for that. Because I mean, I need to make a living doing somewhat different author, you know, and I get paid for it. And I've been able to make a good living out of it. But I don't want to take it for granted. Because I know what it's like not to have nothing. I know what it's like to be at the bottom, looking your way up, trying to, like go into five galleries and the alternative you down because they don't want to represent you because you know, it's not good enough. I know what that's like, yeah, it's not a good feeling. But it fires you up, always. You know, I'm trying to help other artists out and I tell them, I let rejection work for me, when someone tells me that my work is not good enough, or I can't get in this show, or, or I get rejected for this, or I get a rejection letter for applying for a big show, or a gallery turns me down says no, you know, I still Yeah. Okay. Look, give me a chance, I'm gonna work a little harder and get it right, you know, and then I made it the first time I went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming shredding in galleries. It was before I became a professional, I had like five or six little sculptures and I went in, in my little portfolio, and I knocked on five doors, I started at the best gallery and went down to the other ones. As I said, these are the five galleries I'd want to be in. And they all told me no. And I went, my wife was waiting for me in the car. And I went back, and I said, You know what, I'm not good enough yet to get in these galleries. I want to go home work hard. That's how I took it. I didn't say like, oh, golly, I can't you know this. And that. I mean, you're not going to please everybody with your work. And you should try to, you know, what, you should try to do the very best. And that's the only thing I can really do, I can't do anything else. And I try not to let others but what's going on in someone else's mind, really, I got no control. But I can try to control my mindset. And that's kind of how I look at it. And I've been fortunate to make a living at it with that kind of mindset. You know, I know there's a lot of young arts because I get approached by all these artists that want to be represented at my own gallery in Sedona, and we only have probably about 15 hours, and I have to take somebody down to put somebody new up. And it's hard rejecting these young artists to come in there and growing their portfolios, because I know what it's like, you know, and I tell them that I said, man, good luck, because you know, what, just keep working hard. So the more that you know, how you get better, make lots of art. And the more art you make, the better you're gonna get. I mean, I don't know any other simple way to explain it. But the sheer number of hours you put in the process, that's how you get better. There's no quick fixes. There's not no gallery, there's not no art agent, there's not no article in some magazine that's gonna make your career it's a lifelong struggle, you just keep doing and go on to the next thing. You know, like when I finish a big sculpture, I put that aside, don't even think about anymore. I go start on another one, you know, and that's it, guys guess the way I approach it? I'm not saying My way is doing it is the right for everybody. It's just worked for me.

Laura Arango Baier: 28:27

Wow, you have given a lot of wise advice. And I especially love you know, the instead of you know, letting the rejection gets you, you know, using that as motivation to work harder. Yeah, it is. It's, I think it's funny, because a lot of people, they, they think, Oh, I got rejected, therefore I'm never going to be good enough. And I think you know that absolute is sort of mentality is really it's so bad. Because it's a glass ceiling. It's like no, you can always improve. I mean, any sort of craft, there's always something more. And then I think you have a very stoic mindset, which is great. It's the whole, like, you know, if it's out of my control, it's out of my control. If I can do something about it, I will. And that's all

Chris Navarro: 29:10

I had that keeps my sanity to be honest with you know, you know, I mean, think you're responsible for doing the very best you can. And that's why that's what I tried to do, you know, the very best I can, I don't want to do you think any less. But yeah, what's your best isn't good enough for a lot of places or people you know. So, you know, you just gotta do what you think you can do, you know, you know, in your own heart, and I'll give it all your effort. And that's about all you can do.

Laura Arango Baier: 29:39

Yeah, and, you know, to tie it back to your experience with, you know, running bulls and broncs. You know, I feel like in a way that is so similar to sculpting in the sense that, you know, you're you have this wild material in front of you, and it's going to do what it wants to do. And you can't really do much about that except the work around it. And like so much of writing these animals is basically shaping yourself to their movements. Right? You have to

Chris Navarro: 30:08

follow you. That's exactly.

Laura Arango Baier: 30:12

Yeah, so it makes perfect sense that, you know, it would be excellent training ground for such a complicated and difficult career like, like sculpture and being a full time artist, right? Because you have to fit yourself into whatever direction you know, life is taking you whether it's more sales, less sales, you have to always constantly adjust your schedule, you have to adjust, you know, what you need to get done. And okay, I have to take this to the foundry now, but then I also have this other commission, and then I have to talk to this other person. Yeah, there's so much like you were saying, you know, with putting on all these different hats, and you have to be the salesman, the producer, the producer, the marketer, the everything, you know, like, it's insane. So

Chris Navarro: 30:55

well, you know, and like I said, at the beginning of the stage, you know, the art magazines were the way to go. But it was expensive, doing a full page on Southwest or Western art collector, or whatever it is wildlife, art, news, all these magazines, I used to do full page ads, and it costs you several $1,000 to do one time, and then that ad has such a short shelf life, you know, that magazine, six, eight weeks, you know, other issues out and that's all gone, it doesn't do any good anymore, you know, and always thought, Man, if I gotta get a big article in southwest store, and help make me I got a big article, Southwest armor, it was gone in six weeks, and it didn't make me. So I think you know, myself, I've been putting most of my advertising money and promotion money into the internet, mostly with you know, I've been making, I usually make a YouTube video of all my new sculptures. So I have like, 140 or so videos on my YouTube site, that I've crossed them over into my website. And I think as you know, Sean, sculptures three dimensionally with videos really great way to do it. Plus, a lot of people don't know your story until you tell them you know, I've written four books about, you know, my artwork, too. And I didn't have anybody coming and saying, Hey, Christopher, we'd like you to, we'd like to do a big book on your artwork. I think nobody was going to do that for me. So I said, Well, I'll make my own. But besides, he's going to know more about what I want to say about my art than me. That's why That's why I've written four books. And I think those books have really done well for me and I, I mostly just promote them on my website, and that my art gallery, you know, galleries that represent me, I don't really have them in bookstores or anything else like that. But it really wasn't so much as a vehicle to make money as far as I was getting my, my thoughts, my artwork out in front of a lot of people. And I think, you know, that's a good way to look at it. And then people always ask, Well, how do you price your work? Well, I price my work, you know, because foundry bills are so expensive. And I think being a bronze artist, especially nowadays, ever since COVID, bronze foundry bills have almost doubled. This is 2020. And I've never seen it like this. And I've been casting bronzes for over 43 years. And I think it's the most difficult medium to break into for young artists right now. Because of all the financial outlay, you have to get to get your bronzes cast. And I think it's another thing about is when you make when you finish your sculpture, it'll take you three to four months to see the first casting, because you got to make your mold and you got to do the ceramic shell and dipping in and all that. That's why you know, I mean, I took some painting and I've done some painting I like plein air painting, I had a dear friend who is a really good plein air painting, I go out and we just plein air painting and it's so fun. It's just like, you get to make something in an hour and a half or an hour, you know, and you're done. And it's maybe it might be just a six by nine or whatever. But it's very gratifying to kind of instant gratification. And sculpture, you don't get that instant gratification, you get that long haul gratification. And that's part of the nature of it. And I really don't know what's going to happen for the future for bronze artists, because the foundry business has been in such a flux, it's code. A lot of foundry business has gone out of business in the United States. Some of them are now you know, it used to take eight weeks to get a cast, you know, it's over, you know, five months or some tabletops and it's over a year for a monument, you know, just to get a cast, where it's just really, it's changed the whole business and it says COVID

Laura Arango Baier: 34:13

I wonder why, you know, it makes me wonder

Chris Navarro: 34:16

employees a lot of employees left and it's it's hard physical work and you know, it

Laura Arango Baier: 34:21

is yeah. A lot of those foundries and it's so much it's usually this huge space and especially if you're making monuments, you need a lot more space and you know, the typical

Chris Navarro: 34:33

and then you got to have compressors sandblasters grinders, it's just it's, it's a lot of it is you don't you don't stay clean in it. You know, you said dirty you get pretty dirty. It's working in foundries. It's not like you get a little paint smudge on Yeah, it's you know, you get pretty dirty doing a foundry work. But, you know, I think there's always gonna be a place for Broadcasting's because you know the great thing about bronzes is such a permanent medium, like all these outdoor monuments that I have out now or anybody's, they're gonna last for 1000s of years. I think the first castles they have are from China and they're over 5000 years old. So bronze really doesn't rust. It's mostly copper alloy. silicon bronze is mostly what we use now. And it's just a tough, permanent medium. That's one thing like, like, I did this 15 foot Eagle dancer and I've got him holed up on his toes, you know, I'd put some stainless steel supports through there, but it's the only thing that you can really make it fly like you can't do that with stone or wood, you know, those sculpting. So, you know, I tried to exploit the bronze, you know, the tensile strength of everything because you can really get some movement in it. Yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 35:42

that's very true. It's but you know, with like marble, for example, the David he has a crack that's starting to happen, because, you know, it's such a rigid medium, and his pose isn't exactly the most stable. So that is a great point to make with bronze being a lot more stable

Chris Navarro: 35:57

was a flawed stone. And Michelangelo did. Yeah, it was, it was already it was already rejected by two other artists, and then they carved some on it. And so he made a Mikado, terracotta, you know, to work into this. Like a lot of people think that Michelangelo grabbed a chisel and went to town, he didn't do that. He claimed the catch, just like everybody, you know, I mean, you got to work out your design and composition and a small moquette you're not just gonna take a chisel and make something that's beautiful today. Just like, you know, an sp a tall, I mean, he was genius. He's probably the greatest artist I've ever lived in my opinion. You know, that's my opinion. But you know, when he was 23, did the PA tie like he did David when he was 2526. And then he did the Sistine Chapel. I mean, the most iconic pieces of art are head, you go to the library, and there's a purse to shell. So Michelangelo than any other artists, you know, I mean, that was a genius, you know, and he lived to be 89 years old, he died in like, 1565, I believe. And in the era, I saw, I looked it up. And I suppose the average male expectancy in Italy at that time was 43 years. And he lived to be 89. You know, he was he worked the data guy, that's he woke up with a passion and a purpose. And I think that'll keep it long. And that's, I want to try to go that route myself wake up with a passion and purpose every day. BoldBrush

Laura Arango Baier: 37:17

We inspire artists to inspire the world, because creating art creates magic. And the world is currently in desperate need of magic. BoldBrush provides artists with free art marketing, creativity, and business ideas and information. This show is an example. We also offer written resources, articles, and a free monthly art contest open to all visual artists. We believe that fortune favors the bold brush. And if you believe that to sign up completely free at BoldBrush That's BOLDBRUSH The BoldBrush Show is sponsored by FASO. Now more than ever, it's crucial to have a website when you're an artist, especially if you want to be a professional in your career. Thankfully, with our special ink forward slash podcast, you can make that come true. And also get over 50% off your first year on your artists website. Yes, that's basically the price of 12 lattes in one year, which I think is a really great deal considering that you get sleek and beautiful website templates that are also mobile friendly ecommerce print on demand in certain countries, as well as access to our marketing center that has our brand new art marketing calendar. And the art marketing calendar is something that you won't get with our competitor. The art marketing calendar gives you day by day, step by step guides on what you should be doing today, right now in order to get your artwork out there and seen by the right eyes so that you can make more sales this year. So if you want to change your life and actually meet your sales goal this year, and start now by going to our special link forward slash podcast, that's I think you're doing it. Yeah. And that's, you know, it's so funny because I actually have a, you know, obviously I've Michelangelo's David's lips right behind me, which is so funny, you know how endearing sculpture can be, you know, obviously paintings, they're beautiful, but there is, you know, the the impact of sculpture, you know, it's it's present, it's, it's, you know, 360 degrees

Chris Navarro: 39:26

you can tuck your hands over. In fact, I've been really move that I've done a few shows where some blind people have come in and they asked, they can touch my sculptures, and that's how they see the sculpture with their hands. It's kind of a cool experience to watch people do that

Laura Arango Baier: 39:40

is Yeah, because it's so it's so hard to find tactile, like, you know, art experiences.

Chris Navarro: 39:45

Exactly my like, I don't I don't tell people they can't touch the bronze as I say, Yeah, touch them, you know, feel them feel heavy. They are awaiting them, you know. And yeah, that's a great thing about sculpture because it's like us, we're Three dimensional, and paintings two dimensional, but so you got to work out all your problems. 360 degrees. Yeah, yeah, that's a big relief. I'm trying to do a big relief right now, I'm trying to work on a commission that's going to be loving my 40 feet, it's gonna go to Wyoming have we're in the beginning stages of it. It's called Buffalo and the Iron Horse and it's a it's an 1870 steam locomotive running head on it and charging buffalo is running in the other way. So they're going to collide in the middle, but they're like, separated, or they're on their way in there. So it's going to be it's going to cover the whole side of one of the buildings in the museum. So I hope that job comes through. It's hard to know, because, you know, I, I'll bid 10 jobs and get one, you know, and that's just the nature of the business. So I sure would like to get that job though. It would be very cool to do a relief that big. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 40:56

I hope you get it. And speaking of I really want to know, you know, maybe there's someone out there who's listening and maybe they're interested in sculpting. What advice could you give them if they want to start getting into sculpture? Well,

Chris Navarro: 41:12

I would say, you know, the, if you really want to take a workshop from a professional if you can, and if you can't, there's some great books on sculpture. Lantieri has great sculptures on modeling the animals and modeling the human figure, those are very good sculpture from the inside out is another great book. There's still me I mean, I read constantly I listen to books, I either listen to audiobooks, when I'm working almost all mostly all nonfiction. There's so many great books out there, I'll get so tuned in a book, it'll make me want to stay in the studio longer. So I can keep hearing to it if it's a great book, and there's a bunch of great ones out there. Now, like mostly all nonfiction, because there's some amazing stories out there that are real true. Instead of, you know, fantasy or anything like that. I really believe that, you know, your brain is like the more good things you put it into more good things are gonna come out. So it's like a little computer.

Laura Arango Baier: 42:05

Yeah, yeah. And I specifically love that that sculpting a human figure, but by its lead attorney, right, or Lynn Terry. Yeah. Amazing, amazing book and actually

Chris Navarro: 42:17

calling animals he had in their old books, they were made back into early early teens.

Laura Arango Baier: 42:23

And then one thing, yeah, they're very

Chris Navarro: 42:26

novel, you know, and he talks about building monuments to this old school and the amount of plaster and make them out of bid with platforms. You know, now, you know, when I first started doing monuments, I'd sculpt them out of I had an access to oilfield pipe. So I'd make the armatures out of oilfield pipe welding together. And then I would use a foam. And then put a layer of clay on there usually on hikes right to get about a one inch or an inch, you know, somewhat vary. And I'd use this urethane spray foam, I bring a guy that did insulation and I draw a cut out of it, you know, and put it to cardboard over the armature and then spray it and then he'd spread over spread. And then I'd tell him to come back the next day. And I'd work crazy all night and trying to get carpet back to where it looked where it needed. And then I'd say hey, spread here is right there. That's the old way of doing it. Now they have computers that are doing these computer generated runnings and everything else now, I mean, technology's changing a lot of art, and not just AI, but actually, you know, doing sculptures from router bits into you know, they're made by machines, some places, you know, yeah, but I hope that nobody takes the, you know, the hand factor out of them. You know,

Laura Arango Baier: 43:34

I don't think it'll ever go away, you know, I feel like absolutely nothing can replace, you know, the human hand, you know, the human act of creation. I mean, if it did, you know, then painters would have been out of jobs forever ago, and, and sculptors because of photography, you know, because of all that machine can do that. But here we are, you know, like, it's still happening. We're still creating. I'm

Chris Navarro: 43:57

amazing how fast technology is advancing everything, to be honest with you. I mean, yeah, I was born in 1956. That was when things were really, you know, way different than they are now. So

Laura Arango Baier: 44:11

they are, you know,

Chris Navarro: 44:13

the thing about the technology, there's a lot of good in it, too. And I think that you can use just like I was saying how there's more professional artists making a living because of technology of the internet internet's made a big change in everything. And that's why if you're an artist and you want to get out there, you can get your artwork out there for the people who just you know, anything, you're just gonna sit in your studio and just make artwork and you're gonna be successful. That's not how it works. You got to promote your work you gotta that's why I learned photography and video making other creative writing because I gotta write these stories about what it was the year that I had to hire somebody and you know, at the time I didn't have the money to hire somebody. So I had to learn on how to do these things. And the more I've done them the better I've gotten out I'm you know, just like anything else, because you will I look back, and my first early sculptures are not very good, you know, in my opinion now, but they were the best I could do back then. And that's the way it should be, you know, you get better as you do things. And the more you do we learn, you learn through air, you learn to success, you learn to all kinds of experiences, so, but if I was a professional if I was an artist out there, and I really want to learn to make a living, whether it was painting, drawing, sculpting, printmaking, whatever I would, there's a lot of good workshops out there and go find a pro that you think is really somebody that could teach you something and every workshop I've ever taken or given. Artists have been very gift giving other information that's taken them a lifetime learn. And it's usually the most workshops are five days long. I don't know what they cost now. But there was about five $600 back in a day. And that's a good money well spent. Go learn with a pro. You want to be a pro gun.

Laura Arango Baier: 45:52

Yeah, yeah. And even online, you know, a lot of people are teaching online workshops. So, you know, there's a breadth of information out there, and even YouTube. There are a lot of painters on YouTube as well sharing their information freely

Chris Navarro: 46:06

all the time, or how to fix a scene.

Laura Arango Baier: 46:10

Yeah, YouTube is great. And then speaking of YouTube, and also, you know, repurposing old things, you know, you have this interesting project that I came across the they were the parts of those huge wind turbines. Yeah. I'm so curious about your idea with the wind. Like Stonehenge. I almost

Chris Navarro: 46:37

wish that soccer when it come into my head because what happened is, I live in Casper, Wyoming. And there's a lot of wind turbines out in Wyoming because we there's a lot we have a lot of wind and we have our landfill out there is only three landfills in the United States is accepting these obsolete winter monthlies, and the winter where I know nothing about them. So our local paper had a big aerial drone footage, take us of Edina and Cadbury and these huge blades, these blades are 120 feet long, they cut them into 40 foot sections at home on semis. They're just dumping them off and throwing them in there. That's a lot of material destroy them not very in turn the garbage pile. So I started researching. And I started finding out these blades that cost $125,000 apiece brand new. And they're made out of fiberglass. And they have somebody have a balsa wood liner in their older technology. And I started thinking like, oh, that just seems to be what a waste. I says, Maurice mine started kicking in I took out a pad and I drew up my first sketch was called tomorrow the sunrise again. And now she's in the blaze of sunrise to come out. So that's kind of cool. And then next thing I know I come up with another design I did, I was gonna do a copy of Stonehenge called winds edge. And then I came up with a wind cathedral. And I've been trying to raise it. So I started contacting these energy companies that were paying to have these blades buried. And I say why don't you give me these blades and some money and I'll make something out of them instead of spinning. Like they were paying almost$10,000 to bury these blades. I'm not sure for blade, it was expensive. And I've been working on it for over three years now. And every I've gotten one group that I've gotten a lot of notes, a lot of notes, I've given probably six or seven presentations. That's a good idea. And then a company say yeah, we want to do this and then when it comes to it, well, we can't really give you any blueprints on the blades, you know, then we we got some blades that are in his farm field in southern Nebraska, we can use you can use those blades. And then when it comes to finally getting the blades, it seems like there's always some cover up our prime and given up on the project. If you want to look at it, it's on YouTube. It's called Saving wind turbine blades by Chris Navarro. And I can think of you take some of this destined for the trash man and you go make these humongous sculptures. Some of these sculptures would be 108 feet in diameter. The one I've got, I'm trying to make the first ones when Cathedral is going to be you know, I'm gonna make about a 45 foot blades 12 Oh man, it's gonna be, I don't know, 39 feet tall and 85 feet long, and you'll be able to walk through it and you will ride a bicycle through it's gonna be on a bike trail. So I haven't given up on him you know, it's just been you know, I guess it was easy everybody do it. But it has been a struggle. I mean, he did a lot of knows that being an artist, no matter what part of your career or how much success you've had I still deal with those all the time. And I in fact, I wrote a letter the last company I approached about doing these plays and they said hey, we like your idea and everything but we're kind of past you know, just because you say no doesn't mean I can't I'm not gonna do it just means I'm not gonna do it. You just kind of attitude you got to take but I'm gonna get one done. I've told her but I was going to do it. So I'm going to get one done. I don't know when we'll get up. We're getting close. I mean, I've raised money for one already, you know, it's just getting the blades. So if anybody hears this podcast and you've got some big wind turbine blades, you need to repurpose instead of the doorman, the dumper. Cut them into pieces, give me a call.

Laura Arango Baier: 49:57

You know, you might have some luck Maybe reaching out to someone in Norway, actually, Norway has a lot of wind turbines as well. And that's

Chris Navarro: 50:07

a big problem. Because, you know, in the United States, we have all this open ground out here to the inner bearing these blades, they're stacking them up, they buried it, I don't know. I believe they buried over 1000 blades at our landfill last year. These blades don't, they have a shorter shelf life. And people think I mean, they're supposed to last 20 years. But those blades, they were bearing, I went out there and looked at him and I talked to the companies. I mean, I've put a lot of time and effort in this. I've actually cast we brought five bronzes, I think from the designs that I've made. Once tomorrow, the sun will rise again, it has a sun coming up out of the earth. And it's the Blazers shooting out as there were sunrays, and that's that was my very first design. But like I said, I my artist mind got a hold of me on this. And I don't know why. But I've always kind of followed my intuitions. Because, you know, I really haven't really done a lot of abstracts. I mean, they're purely abstract designs, for sure. And I saw those big crystals, you know, that take up half a side of a hill, you know, that are temporary. And I like the idea of making a sculpture you can see from five, six miles away, that'd be kind of cool.

Laura Arango Baier: 51:13

Yeah, yeah. And the other interesting thing. The other watch that I did, I watched the whole video of your little maquettes of the, the wind turbine like parts, I really, really loved the cathedral actually. And Stonehenge, well, the the wind and because I am a huge fan of of Stonehenge, and seeing it, you know, with the, the wind turbines, you know, in that circle for that outer circle, we'd like the little like, roof sort of thing, I that looks so wonderful, and I want to walk through it, which, you know, is gonna say that I love that, in this, you know, in these ideas, you've mostly gone more architectural route, which is, you know, I love that, you know, with sculptures specifically, there's always a little bit of that blurred, you know, sort of line that can happen in between the two professions in a way, you know, like sculpture can easily lead into architecture and is usually a part of architecture, especially, you know, in the past.

Chris Navarro: 52:15

Well, I've been trying some new different art forms because I, you know, don't get me wrong, I like sculpting the guy writing the book and horse, but as I did, I'm working on a series that's called it I call it I made I made up a cold mountain art terms. It's called abstract ism, because it's, um, using realistic wildlife figures and amazing geometric, abstract designs, and combining the two together. And like I did one with a geese are flying to those a mountain and the moon in the geese flying through there. And it's very abstract, very open. And it's, it's called moon, the moon when the geese return, which is April, that's a native the natives call that month. So that's a pretty poetic title. And that's how you should do it. You know, what are they about titles, I think they enhance a sculpture or a piece of art. A lot of times, I'll come up with a title before I come up with a sculpture. That's happened several times, I did a piece called if you want to see a rainbow, you got to stand a little rain, and it's a cowboy. And he's sitting on his horse, he's got a big parking, the rainbow dominates the sculpture, and the figure is small, but he's sitting up there, and he's looking up at the rainbow and it's just finished raining on him. And, you know, it has a real strong abstract design running through it. And in fact, you know, good art has abstract designs, and in any ways, whether it's realistic or not, we always think about, you know, I like to use the circle Ickes an inverted pyramid, a lot of designs, because it's just, it's appealing to me and they're spilling to the eye. So that was abstract ism. And then I came up with another idea of doing a sculpting so I tried to tell us instead of a triptych is two paintings with a sculpture. You know, where I'm combining sculptures and painting into one element of our I've done about half a dozen of those probably.

Laura Arango Baier: 53:59

Wow. So cool. Yeah, that's

Chris Navarro: 54:04

words sculpting abstract is

Laura Arango Baier: 54:09

you know, that's part of the you know, the magic of creation and have that flow you know, of letting yourself be guided by your inspiration. And of course, you know, there is a point where like, you have to be sure like, okay, is this really something I want to pursue because you know, sometimes we do have bad ideas quote, unquote

Chris Navarro: 54:30

I swing the bat out I'm hard every time but I hit the ball every once in a while just like everybody you know. Yeah. I think you're hit some bad balls you never know when you're gonna hit a good one. You know, you gotta hit a lot of balls. You know get to the good one. So I had some brought some sculptures I've just destroyed because they weren't that good. You know, he spent a month on something they use look as a man it's just not cutting it. You just got to be honest with yourself. Remember, I was doing this big wolf howl at one time and I don't know. I spent a lot Time on font I looked at and I said, Gee, this is not that impressive really, that just doesn't, and I destroyed it, you know, and I can reuse that clay because I Sculpey try to recycle as much as you can and clay is one of them because you know, you know, I usually use classic medium clays, the sculpture, meaning my work in the most. And then I'm doing monumental work on a softer one. So classic clay comes in like three harnesses. And I really have never, I've never liked working with hard because it's just not forgiving, but for tabletop pieces, like these classic medium, it comes in two colors, a tan and a dark brown. I mean, I'm just throwing that out there to let other artists know exactly what I'm using. And I only use a handful of little toy told tools you know, I don't have a whole I use a lot. I say that maybe six tools that I really like and I don't really use any more than that. And a lot of them I've made myself you know, I made these really like doing fun faces and everything is I made them with guitar strings and copper tubing. So those have always worked out good just put it on vices. But loop your years in there and they make really fine rakes. It's another little pointers and sculptors out there I can give them a letter working in clay. Yeah, yeah, that's

Laura Arango Baier: 56:13

such a great point to make. I mean, when I did sculpture at the school in New York, we used guitar stirring you know tools were like the will the teacher we had to so wonderful she showed us how to make it and she like had some guitar string that she brought and she also showed us how to do it ourselves how to wrap it up. And it is it makes an excellent you know, raking tool especially for those fine details when you're finishing out because of course you have to start with a much bigger one you have to be more broad and more specific at first and then you start digging in to those

Chris Navarro: 56:46

delicious guitar too. So I quit playing guitar it's been hard on my hands and I don't know I just I wanted to get really good at it and it was taking so much time and I just like got and you know started get some arthritis in my hands. That's one of the bad things about it, but I'd rather you know use them up I guess. Yeah. But you know, you know, I like making things with my hands. That's for sure. That's my favorite tool really skipping clay and roughing sculptures in with your hands. Yeah. And doing these these quick draws are always fun to do like I said he had zoom in 90 minutes and you know you do these big art shows like this a Buffalo Bill our show and Cody Wyoming it's that's a fabulous Museum of everybody gets a chance to go to Cody Wyoming go to the Buffalo Bill historical center. It's got seven wings. It's the Smithsonian of the West. It really is it's it's one of the most impressive museums I've ever been in a small town and Cody Wyoming right by you know, just near the gate of Allah the West Gate of Yellowstone Yellowstone park it's it's beautiful country up there I like Cody a lot. A smaller home away from home because I my boundaries up there. And I've been going out there castles for 43 years. I used to have an airplane tire driving back and forth. Learn to fly in airplanes. I go back and forth. I did that for about, I don't know, 15 years or so. But yeah, I tell you what, uh, you don't like money buy an airplane.

Laura Arango Baier: 58:12

I can imagine. Yeah, I can imagine that, you know, a lot of costs go into, you know, storing it and then you know, paying for the gas and then also

Chris Navarro: 58:22

and everything but it's it's a quick way to get somewhere sometimes, you know, especially in Wyoming, you know, there's not a lot of controlled airspace is pretty cool. For towers in the whole state. So that's one thing I liked about Wyoming. Wyoming is just a lot of people out there. I mean, it's, it's at least populated state United States. There's less than half there's a half a million people live in the whole state. And this is biggest Colorado, so we're right above Colorado, so and Wyoming just He's got everything he got from Yellowstone park down to the deserts you know, I mean, it's like winters can be pretty cold up there.

Laura Arango Baier: 58:57

I can imagine. Yeah. Being way up north, you know, it can get to you. Yeah, wow. Um, so I wanted to know, do you how do you personally use you know, online and social media to get your work out there?

Chris Navarro: 59:15

I use mostly Facebook. I mean, my experience I mean, I really I've tried Instagram a little bit but you know, I just it just seems like the only real success I've really had is with Facebook, you know? And then I was buying ads and doing these other things and that's not really what is this organic thing and I just had my personal Facebook pages full of fights. I you know, you only allowed to have 5000 people on your personal but I got a business one too, but I get more responses off my personal Facebook page than anything I've shown in media. So I put everything on Pinterest, put everything on YouTube. So I got those videos. And I think you know, when you put something on the internet, the good thing about it is it's it's there you can go back 10 years and still pull it off and see if somebody can still be viewing it. You know, as far as SEO and search engine optimization I really don't spend a whole lot of time on that, you know, I think if people find out about you, one of the good things I really heard about it, you know, you know, collectors want to have a relationship with the artists, that's the ones that want to buy art from you. And you don't have the possibility of meeting everybody and face to face. So the next best thing you can do is have a virtual relationship. And that's what we're having right now. You know, we're having a virtual relationship. And then artists, people get to feel like they know you. Because I think that people collectors want to have a relationship with the artists that they collect. Whether it's a virtual or real, you know, and it is fortunate, and when you think you're gonna make something with your hands, that you're gonna be able to sell to another individual to help support your family. I mean, that's how you support yourself. And relationships is where it's really hard. And the same with galleries. I've been with some galleries. I've been one one gallery now for 40 years, you know, the big one Gallery, and Cody, Wyoming, and I was with the Breckenridge gallery for like, Mozilla, I wasn't 10 galleries at one time, and almost all of us that have been in closed, for one reason or another, but I've had long relationships with galleries, you know, in the 30 plus years, you know, and it's, you build that out, you build it out with trust, and keeping your word and honor and everything, you know, I'm a big believer, and, you know, I've done my first few monuments I did on a handshake, and not a 17 page contract, like they had to do with the University of Wyoming, and I just, you want to put my hand out there. So let's, let's do it. That's how I did my first half dozen monuments. And I was able to pull those off, you know, and my words better than any, you know, thing on a piece of paper, you know, you got to, you got to fall through, I have developed a reputation that I'm a guy that gets things done. And when he says and he says, So that leads to something, and you know, you got to have that reputation to, you know, continue going. Because, you know, I mean, there's a lot of people want to be professional art, because it's such a great way to make a living. And it's very competitive out there. And everybody's trying to find this certain way to do things. And if you're able to make a living at it, you know, you're very blessed, because there's not a lot of people that get to make a living full time hours. Yeah, but like I said, Now, I think there's more people making a living as a full time artisan anytime before. Yes, yeah,

Laura Arango Baier: 1:02:25

definitely the Internet has provided room for for more, for sure. Like more people who they have a certain way of doing things, and then the one collector who really likes that, you know, will buy it. And, you know, it's like you said it's, it's on the one hand, you know, being present, you know, letting people see your work putting it out there, right Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, whatever, you can have your website, of course. And then also, you know, the face to face contact, you know, that relationship with

Chris Navarro: 1:02:56

you. I did this. I did a guy came into my gallery told me about a competition called Art Prize. It's in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Have you ever heard of it? I

Laura Arango Baier: 1:03:05

heard about it actually, through your previous interview.

Chris Navarro: 1:03:13

This is like, I don't know. There's only like four or five years ago, this guy came into my gallery and he goes, Hey, man, you do some really nice work. You got to think about doing artprice I don't know what what is our prize sauce in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And it's 1400 artists competed in this competition. And people's choice award gets$200,000 I got into it. That's what I did that sculpture dare to dream Vegas. I know. Skillshare would do good there. So I got involved in that. And it's done all by voting app. So but 100,000 people come through that show. It's a it's a really it was the 10th year when I did it, I think it was on this 10th year. And I was one of the top 20 finalists and made the the 20 finalists that would be picked for sure forgetting the grand prize, didn't get the grand prize, but I gave him my best shot. So that's all I could do. But it was interesting, because you know, I haven't really interacted with that many people at one. It was a 19 day art show. That's another thing. I thought I was just gonna leave my sculpture and leave. The guy goes, you know, we're gonna, you're not gonna win if he saw, you know, well, I said, I would like to win. So there's only one way to win. And that's you have to stay by your artwork and try to get people you know, and meet people and get them to vote. That's okay. I didn't have any intention of doing that book. So, you know, basically, the sculpture is it's a cat, he's looking in the mirror, and he sees himself reflected back as a lion. And he said on a stack of books to say the power of belief, and there's a mouse looking around the corner that just can't take it. Like, you know, this guy thinks he's a lion now, you know, as a humor to it, and it has a good message to it. And so I wanted to make it interactive. So I designed I built these outdoor for mice, six foot, double sided, Blackboard chalk boards, that you could ride on next to the sculpture and it said, when I dare to dream big, I will. And then you do what you say. Hang on what your dream is about writing your goals down and making them come true, which I'm a firm believer in writing your goals down. So. So my wife and I were running the show, and I had to go back and do that. Another art show and she stayed there. And when she she started taking photos of all the people would write on the chalkboard because they'd fill up in a few hours because we were getting 1000s of people come by a day. And they'd write their dreams down. And some of them were like, beautiful dreams. Some of them were, you know, smart aleck dreams, but we took pictures of those. So I started taking I had my phone with me, I started taking all these pictures of them, right, and my wife too. And when we, when I got back, I started reading them. And I saw those just like, there's one in there, like says, I want to help my grandson survive cancer. It's just like, you know, tear your heart out, you know. And then remember, this guy came up, he had a stroke. And he was in a wheelchair, and he couldn't hardly talk with his daughter was pushing him around. And he wrote on there, I want to walk again. And then he got out of his wheelchair hard. And he walked over and touched the sculpture, and he sat back down hard, you know, it's all his effort he could do. And I said, Wow, I gotta record this and write a book about this. So that's, I had no intention of writing dare to dream big, which is, I think the third book I did it was it it came out in almost all those pictures and taken for the with a cell phone. And I just started recording all those, those dreams that people had, because everybody has dreams, you know, and I don't know, it was just kind of a cool story. But I got to interact with more people. In that 90 days, I bet there was 10,000 people I talked to you I've seen like a lot of people because it was a cool experience. And then to go see all these art that they put in there's there's more on the contemporary side. It's there's some pretty really cool things in there. You know, a photographer, one, the one of the main award, the $200,000 Award, and he had traveled around the world. And he was from Argentina. I listened to him. It's very cool story, him and his wife. They were living on they travel around the world of $36 a day, I think is what he said. And it was amazing to see how he did it and all this. They're how we're all connected. So he had like everybody holding this rope. And it was cool piece. I thought it deserved when it was very cool. And you know, it was an experience because I've never been in an art show with 1400 artists. That's a lot. That's just in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But I mean, they traveled from all over to come but it's still going on now. I don't know how that how I decided once was enough of me, but it rain and snow that was outside. It was long, 19 days. But you know, we got through it. Yeah.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:07:34

And it sounds like it was a really heartwarming experience, you know, to meet so many people who, you know, even the simplest dream, you know, it can make it can tell such a big story, you know, compared to, you know, maybe a grandpa

Chris Navarro: 1:07:49

right? That's why you should write your dreams down. That's the first step to making them come true. You see it in print, you know, is your own print, you say like, wow. And I look back to some of my old books I've written down my dreams. I got that one done. Oh, that's good. Yeah, I didn't make that one. It's still there. So you know, I think part of who doesn't want their dreams to come true. And one way to do it is to write it down. And that's what this whole that whole sculptures the story was very dream big. You know, you're going to if you're going to dream, why not dream big?

Laura Arango Baier: 1:08:18

Yeah. Oh, I love that. Oh, wow. That's so inspiring. Um, do you have any upcoming projects or shows or exhibitions that you'd like to Yeah, I'm

Chris Navarro: 1:08:31

doing. I have a show this month. Or March. It's it's Briscoe. It's called an IRA the artists. It's a pretty big Western art show. It's down in San Antonio, Texas at the Briscoe Art Museum. In fact, I did. One of the guys the head guys are commissioned me about in 2018 I did a big monument for The Alamo, which is a really famous historical museum now in Texas and it's an equestrian sculpture with a guy and he's on his horses were charging Ford. There's a famous letter that was written by Colonel Travis you know he's getting ready to be overrun and Alamo where they you know, they annihilated everybody there. This John W. Smith is the guy did the sculpture. This is back in 1836. So, you know, I researched the sculpture or tried to get to saddle and all the clothing and the firearms he'd be carrying, you know, and try to you know, do it our historical accurate portrayal of it. So it's, uh, you know, my parents grew up in San Antonio, that's where the Alamo was, was kind of cool to have a piece there.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:09:35

That's amazing. Oh, that's exciting. A

Chris Navarro: 1:09:39

couple of million people a year go to the Alamo. So let's get seen by a lot of people. It's in the back courtyard.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:09:44

I mean, I have it on my bucket list. So maybe by the time I go, you know, your your piece will be there.

Chris Navarro: 1:09:52

This is going to be the Alamo is it's a real historical day. It's less more than when you really see it in person is a spin admission, you know, but when you go inside at night, you know, the people at Alamo give me a whole tour of it and we went into a lot of places that and a lot of people don't get to go and it's got this big courtyard around it but the Alamo itself has a fort isn't that big? It's surprisingly, you know, when you first see it, you think it's a lot bigger than you know, in your mind. It's a lot bigger, but it's pretty cool to go see it. It's probably the most visited historical site in Texas.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:10:25

I mean, I'm not surprised. It's very notorious the story. Yeah, I grew up listening to the story about the Alamo and you know, other people who died there. It's, it's an incredible story. But speaking of your work, where can people see more of your work?

Chris Navarro: 1:10:42

Well, I'm on gallery in Sedona, Arizona. We open it we've been open 24 years this year in the same location it's called tilaka, Pocky and tilaka potties designed after Spanish style mission and in Guadalajara Mexico. So to lock a Paki is a native word means the best of everything. Because when I first got there's, it's hard to pronounce because when you see it spelled out to lock a Paki, people go, Yeah, you're at that taki Paki place, you know, so but it, people will resonate with it, because it's called to lock unlock it, it's probably, it's probably one of the most visited places in Sedona, because there's like 45 shops and restaurants in this Spanish mission. And it's cobblestones with beautiful fountains and beautiful gardens very well meticulously maintained, it's a beautiful place really, like I can't think of a better place. And one of the reasons I got a gallery there is because they let me have a sculpture garden. So I have a lot of big outdoor sculptures out of it. I got a 12 foot tall Weir, and of course in the front and nine foot blowout, couple of life sized grizzly bears. And I've got about nine big pieces up front in our, in our courtyard. Pacing. So that's one of the reasons I picked that place. Because I, it's hard to find a place I'll show you a big sculptures because there's not many galleries can do that. Yeah, that's another reason overwhelmed gallery, I didn't really want to open the gallery, but you know, I had so many castings available, you know, it's hard to have a gallery show 75 pieces of your work. If you aren't at the site, where the gallery, they're going to take on maybe six to 10 pieces maximum, and then, you know, what are you going to do with the rest of them? So I really needed a kind of a venue to show my my total work. So that's how I got into the gallery business, kind of by accident, really. I mean, but I'm glad I did do it. I think it's been a real it's been a real boost to my career, you know, having my own gallery and you know, but it's, you know, you got to employees, you got auto payments you got you got to keep it going. So keeps you motivated.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:12:39

Yes, definitely. And again, you know, you can handle it, because, you know, you've had that lifetime experience of being a tenacious, you know, person who can really roll with the punches, which is amazing.

Chris Navarro: 1:12:53

Well, it's a good quality to have as an artist, you know, you got to be an optimist. It helps it you're an optimist. I'll put it down.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:12:59

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I constantly think I don't want to know the odds. I'm just gonna go for it.

Chris Navarro: 1:13:05

Remember, I told you that faith and Aaron says, yep, there it is. What I know, you don't want to know that. Your life on Aza this might happen, that's not a way to go. He's gonna have a belief and not a real big plan B, you know, just kind of make an app?

Laura Arango Baier: 1:13:24

Absolutely. Yeah. By the way, what is your website is

Chris Navarro: 1:13:30

Chris Pretty simple. Awesome. I said, I got my first website. 96. So that's kind of, you know, I've been in the website. As an artist, kind of early stages. 96, I would say the internet was just getting going good, or, you know, starting to anyways, but it's just really gone. Gone crazy. Just the last few years, it's gonna I think it's just gonna get more that way too, to be honest with you. But I mean, any artist can show his work to as many people as he can, you know, he wants to spend the time and effort getting his artwork out there. That's the good thing about it. But you know, you got to spend. I, you know, a lot of artists don't think you need to spend that much time promoting your work, but you really have to if you want to be successful, because no art age is going to come around and discover you. It's going to be up to you to do it. So that's why you gotta learn. We're a lot of hats. Yep.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:14:30

That's very wise, where it's, well, thank you so much, Chris, for joining us and for giving us so much amazing information. You know, I'm extremely inspired. So, thank you.

Chris Navarro: 1:14:43

I'm glad. It makes me feel good that you can, you know, hopefully inspire people with your work. You know, I saw that guy's sculpture when I was 20 years old. He lives park with me, and it's still burn and maybe someday somebody walk up see where my sculpture lives parking them.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:14:58

Absolutely. Yes.

Chris Navarro: 1:15:00

It's amazing because if I want to see that sculpture, I don't know where you know, you know, it's amazing how your life takes these forks in life. You know, we go down this road and I saw that sculpture just lit something inside me and, yeah, that no one's really. I need to go make something like that. I want to make something like that. I want to have that beauty and power that this guy created. I want to be able to do that myself. Yeah, that's, that's how I got in. Amazing.

Laura Arango Baier: 1:15:26

Yes. Well, thank you so much, Chris. My pleasure.

The BoldBrush Show. Interviews with today's finest artists and creatives. Watch here or listen on all major podcast services.