By ADAM SCHRADER
Published in The Dallas Morning News on Sept. 24, 2015
Las Colinas is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its mustang statue one year late because of last year’s road construction. But organizers had several events lined up this week, including an opportunity to meet the sculptor, Robert Glen.
In case you missed him, neighborsgo conducted a brief question-and-answer with him.
For more information, visit www.mustangsoflascolinas.com or www.robertglen.com.
Q: How does it feel that the sculptures have stood the test of time?
A: The bad thing about that is that I’m 30 years older. If I’m in the United States, one way or another, we take the trouble to come out here and touch the horses and check it out. What becomes more amazing all the time is that it has created such an impact in the area and people love it. Everywhere I look, there are emblems of the horses in the area. As far back as when Ben Carpenter was still around and I would stay with him when I was in town, he and I used to come down here every night just to look at the horses. He just wanted to see them like I did.
Q: Now from my understanding, you’re from Africa?
A: I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and lived there most of my life so far. For the last 25 years, I’ve been living in [a] Tanzania National Park, where I do my sculpture animals from life and Sue [Stolberger, his partner] paints from life. Even the horses.
These horses were actually the original mustangs in America. That breed, from the south of Spain in a place called Jerez, was brought here by the Spanish conquistadors. So I went there to study those particular horses, the Andalucía horses. Every horse is born a different color but they end up white, which is interesting. When they brought the original horses, they were stallions for fighting and conquering.
Q: How long were you in Spain?
A: For three weeks. It was fantastic. The family I stayed with has continued the breeding line of those horses that started about 2,000 years ago.
Q: How important was that trip for the outcome of the statues?
A: I think everything. It helped me know what this particular breed of horse is like and helped me depict it in very close representation. They galloped the horses around for me and showed me their behavior. So I had a pretty intensive study for that time.
From day one of the project, it took seven years to make these horses. And from day one, we traveled with a film team who filmed the whole project all the way through in different stages, and a lot of still photographs. They were there in England during the bronzing at the foundry too. [The film can be seen at http://www.ictn.tv/specials/06302008-14.]
I went to school in Kenya. I had other things to do in my life than school. I started getting involved with birds at the museum when I was 12. My parents then realized I was a little bit strange because I didn’t want to get involved with school. So I was introduced to the ornithologist, who is probably more responsible for my natural history life than anybody.
Eventually, I went to Denver, Colo., when I was 16. I was accepted by taxidermist and animal sculptor Coleman Jonas. I thought I knew everything and he very quickly straightened me out. That three years was everything about where I am today, because of what he said to me and what he taught me about how to look and what to do.