Local artist Doug Young’s figurative sculptures share stories and emotions of the past. Whether it be a fictional character or a real-life person, Young’s works of art invite viewers to reflect and learn.
“There’s always a story,” he says. “There’s a story behind everything.”
Known for his iconic bronze Shoeless Joe Jackson sculpture at the Greenville Drive stadium, the seasonal Nativity scene at Bob Jones University and his recent Water Blessing at Greenville Water System’s downtown campus, Young says he sculpts to contribute beauty and positivity in the world.
“Art should be beautiful to me,” he says. “We’re called to create and I think that’s what we should be doing — either singing, acting, sculpting or something. We need to be giving something positive.”
Shoeless Joe Jackson was Young’s first life-size piece, and now he’s created more than half a dozen in the area. He enjoys working on large-scale projects, adding the clay with his hands and removing it to reveal a masterpiece.
Much patience and planning is required of Young when working on these sculptures. He creates 1- to 2-foot models before sculpting the final larger piece.
“I start out small, then I make them large,” he says. “I carve the whole thing again and take it to the foundry.”
A life-size piece can take six months to be completed at the foundry, he says. There, the sculptures are cut into multiple pieces, and wax molds are made which are then dipped in porcelain, brazed and put back together as one piece.
Some commissioned pieces require Young to work alongside city officials, art committees, historical societies, landscape architects and others. With each project being unique, he creates some sculptures by looking at photographs or costumes and others by using models or pure imagination.
“The thing that’s so nice about sculpture is perspective is so different and lighting is so different,” Young says.
The time of day as well as the height and age of viewers are a few factors weighing into how each sculpture is perceived.
“Everybody is going to look at it differently with the things that they have in their background or the things that they bring to it,” he says. “But I just hope that everyone goes away thinking something.”
Young’s works can be seen throughout the Upstate and at his studio at 3110 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville. Visit dougyoungstudios.com for more information.