After serving in the Vietnam War, Lucius Upshaw moved to northern California in the 1970’s and graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art.
For years, Upshaw carved stone and wood using only hand tools, chisels, and files. He wanted to get back to the metal casting work of his college experience, so about 20 years ago, he began putting a lot of energy into creating bronze sculpture.
First, Upshaw forms the sculpture from clay. Then he decides on the finish, either smooth or rough/tactile. He makes small editions of thirty or less, and he works with world-class foundries such as the Valley Bronze Foundry in Joseph, OR and the Berkeley Artworks Foundry in CA. These foundries use the ancient “lost wax” process to cast his sculptures into bronze.
Upshaw's art is meant to be enjoyed, both in its form and concept. His subjects have included people, animals, and nature characterized by simplicity in style. Also, he has experimented with abstract art. Most of his early works were non-objective but always based on the idea of lasting beauty. He wants to make pieces that will inspire his audience to say “wow.”
Upshaw also creates outdoor copper sculptures that result in a durable, weatherproof finish. First, he carves redwood. Then he cuts and fits individual metal pieces over the carved wood surface. He uses a ball peen hammer to conform the metal to the surface. Some pieces require thousands of strikes of the hammer to get the effect. He used this technique for “Spiraling River,” a copper sculpture at the Welcome to Redding corner of Hilltop & Cypress; “Neighbors,” a copper wall relief at the Vista Ridge Park in Redding; and his large, copper relief, “Window to the River,” which can be seen at the Sequoia Park and Zoo in Eureka.