Artist Spotlight: Larry Anderson

Few can boast that a U.S. President chose to be photographed with one of his works. Bonney Lake sculptor Larry Anderson can. An image of President Barack Obama was captured with Anderson’s sculpture, “Springfield’s Lincoln”. The bronze portrait is a lifesize sculpture of Lincoln, his wife and two of his sons.

Art is Larry Anderson’s calling and has been for over half a century. His high school and college transcripts would show an insatiable craving for artistic knowledge. Fearing he couldn’t support himself as an artist, he majored in education with a minor in art; in graduate school, he studied painting and minored in sculpture. After teaching for twelve years, he took a gamble to follow his passion—he left education to pursue art full-time. He has been at it for almost thirty-five years.

What inspires you?

For commission work, I do what’s appropriate for the site and setting. I like working one on one with clients, talking with people and doing the research. I try to make my pieces relevant to common, everyday people. Most of my sculpture work is life-sized and ground level so people can touch and relate to them.

What’s made you successful?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had opportunities. We all learn from our mistakes and keep working.

How long does it take to complete a piece?

For life-size work, sometimes it takes nine to twelve months to get it designed and put in place, including research, concept, foundry work and installation.

What was the most surprising compliment you’ve ever received?

While hiking in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, I was riding on a tram to the trailhead. Someone noticed my Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine t-shirt and asked me what my connection was. I showed them the picture of my sculpture, “Continuum” on the back. The individual, a Denver veterinarian, became excited. He had graduated from WSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine and had seen some of my work there. I was surprised at meeting someone in that context who had seen my work.

Which work do you consider most successful?

A Civil War sculpture “Coming Home” at the Ohio Veteran’s Home in Sandusky, Ohio.

What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
It’s always nice to get a compliment about a piece I completed quite a while ago. I enjoy having so many in the greater Tacoma area.

Janae Colombini