The park has a strong feeling for the veteran’s, every year they celebrate Veteran’s Day with the La Joya ROTC with a ceremony and posting of the colors. They wanted to contribute to the veteran’s and wanted to have something to represent and commemorate the past wars and those who sacrificed their lives. They felt that the piece would be a good contribution to the loyalty and sacrifices of the soldiers of all wars.
Paul Pritchett is a local master artist specializing in photo realist oil portraits. He currently has a studio and teaches classes at Art Studio by Design, located in the heart of the Arts District at 722 North Main McAllen TX. Last year, Pritchett took the challenge of sculpting a U.S soldier of the Vietnam War. At first, he had the intention of painting a photo realistic military scene, as he had promised himself that he would do. In years past, he had done a few sculptures of civil war soldiers and had just recently finished a small piece to test his ability to work with clay. His fellow artists and colleges were impressed with his sculpting talent and how well he was able to translate his photo realistic technique over to clay that they suggested he do a sculpture instead of a painting. Thus, the Vietnam Bronze Sculpture was born.
Pritchett knew that this would be a long term project but he was looking forward to the process and the challenge that awaited him. It was a long and tedious task but he strongly felt that this bronze sculpture would be a very fulling project. The sculpture took one full year of Pritchett’s talents and time to be fully completed. Various processes and different molds for each process were required for this piece to come to life. He first started and sculpted the piece in oil based clay and once finished went on to make the molds for the casting of the bronze. The clay sculpting process took three months; he began and completed the process in his studio at Art Studio by Design. After completing the molds he then moved the project to The University of Texas Pan-American and began the long task of preparing the wax mold for casting of the bronze in their foundry. After the piece was cast in bronze the real process of detailing the soldier began. All the individual parts that were cast had to be welded together to complete the project and with the application of a patina and sealer the project was completed.
It was a long and tedious task but Pritchett felt that the end results were fully fulfilling. He felt proud that he was able to apply his talents and labor to give to the Veterans a little of what they so deeply deserved. Now the piece has found a new home in Enchanted Valley Ranch where it will permanently reside.