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Saddling Up For Dueling Sculptors At Central Coast Art Show

chris slatoff.jpg
Sculptor Christopher Slatoff at work in his studio

You’ve heard of dueling pianos or even dueling poets – but what about dueling sculptors? Well, that’s one of the attractions at a Solvang art show.

Sculptor Christopher Slatoff is in his studio, putting the finishing touches to one of his latest art works, using a metal file.

This weekend, he’s part of a unique art demonstration at the SLOPOKE Art of the West Exhibition and sale, in Solvang. Dueling sculptors. What does that even mean?

"Art is just one point of view, it's always one person's version of reality," explains Slatoff. "It shouldn't all be the same. It shouldn't be predictable," he told KCLU News.

The idea is that Slatoff and another artist, Elisabeth Pollnow, sculpt each other - live at the show.

The artist – who has created many familiar public art works in California, including large scale monuments at Pepperdine University and Our Lady of the Angeles Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles - is also a jurist at the unique art show.

"Working life size is so exciting," said Slatoff. "If you're doing a human figure, there's that exact moment when you're no longer alone in the room."

He says he loves creating art that folks get to see.

"If your art is in a museum, even the most diligent art aficionado will get to see it a few times a year.

"But if you're doing work that is out in the public, in the University where you work or the park where you go running, you see it every day. Then you find out whether it meets your emotional needs as it changes."

Slatoff continued, "Good public artwork is sad when you're sad and happy when you're happy. It reinforces your emotions in your life and you can project onto it what you need at that time."

Fittingly for an art show that celebrates the American West, it’s held on an open-air ranch – but the show’s creator Tom Burgher says there’s more to the art of the American West than horses and cowboys.

"A lot of people think Western Art is, 'I saw that, it's Cowboys and Indians.' But it's so much more than that. It celebrates the expansion of society into the American West," Burgher told KCLU.

"So it's pretty much anything, landscapes, wildlife, people, yes cowboys, yes Indians, urban art, graffiti," said Burgher. "Things that are west of the Mississippi that celebrate the attitude that we have out here in the west.

Burgher says that attitude is one of, "I can do anything, nothing is stopping me".

He says that the West's modern day cowboys "in attitude" are the likes of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk.

"They're not riding horses, but they've got the cowboy attitude of independence and they're going to do what they can do...and that's what Western Art celebrates," he said.

The SLOPOKE Art of the West Exhibition & Sale takes place in a safe and socially distanced way on September 24 - 26 at Flag Is Up Farms, an open-air ranch in Solvang, CA.

The 'Dueling Sculptors" start at 11am on Saturday and 11am on Sunday.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award this year, and also won two further first place awards, for Lifestyle Feature and Personality Profile/Interview. Last year, Caroline won first place for Use Of Sound. She also won two Golden Mike Awards this year, for Best News Reporting and Best Entertainment Reporting, as well as a National Arts & Entertainment Award from LA Press Club for One-on-One interview. Caroline started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and she was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007. She moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and is both an American and British citizen. Caroline lives in Agoura Hills with her daughter - her proudest production.