One of Alonzo’s new friends asked a question that I had asked over 20 years ago, “Can I buy a sculpture that has not been cast in bronze?”
Nancy Mason wrote this reply – Alonzo, of course, creates all these sculptures using clay or a wax/clay mixture. Then a mold is made from his model, and then it goes to the foundry for casting.
The reason we are unable to sell any of his original models is that they have no inherent permanence. Most of the sculptures he makes are unable to stand on their own, as he typically uses only a minimum of armature, or interior structure. In addition, over time, the oils in the clay often “sweat” out to the surface, where they collect any piece of dust in the area, or else the surface of the piece dries out and flakes. And finally, the limbs, horns, tails, etc. of a sculpture bend and break off easily, and the surface is easily marred.
The mold made for the casting is the exact representation of the work Alonzo did, and he is also in the habit of going to the foundry to check the first wax casting that is done from the mold, to make sure it looks as he intended.
Once the mold is made, it may be used repeatedly, up to the edition number that is originally set (Tony Joe, like most of Alonzo’s sculptures, is in an edition of 30, meaning that is the maximum number of times that sculpture will be cast).