RORY COMBS
Ruidoso, New Mexico

 

Dignity.

It's an attribute Rory Combs finds most appealing in his Native American subjects, and it's what he strives to convey in his sculptures.

 

Moving to New Mexico
The milder climate got us to check out Ruidoso, but the art community that we found here helped us decide to make this our permanent home. I grew up in the Peoria (Illinois) area and lived in the Quad Cities, (Davenport, IA and Moline, IL) all of my adult life.  My wife and I moved to the area in July 2009 and into our house, where I've had my studio. I enjoy being a part of the art community here in Ruidoso; for it’s size, there are a lot of talented artists.  

Sculpting
As long as I can remember I’ve had the ability to look at an image and then create a likeness. In college, I took a wood sculpting class and really enjoyed it. I have a lot of respect for artists who work in wood or stone…clay is much more forgiving. I took a class in clay sculpture in 2001 and fell in love with it. I kept thinking that I couldn’t wait to retire to be able to sculpt full time. It finally dawned on me that I shouldn’t wait until I retire, especially with the cost of casting in bronze. I created my first sculpture in 2005 and am now finishing my 22nd piece. I worked full time as a graphic designer from home for 17 years, and retired in June of 2013. I have 41years experience as a graphic designer.

Native Americans subject matter     
The more I learn about Native Americans, the more I appreciate them as a people. I marvel at their spirituality, wisdom and dignity – it’s important to me to try to capture those attributes in my sculptures. People questioned why I began sculpting Native Americans back in Illinois, but Illinois is rich in Native American history. I have some Cherokee in my ancestry, so I’ve always felt a “connection” to Native Americans. The piece I’ve done a sculpture of Chief Black Hawk, of the Sauk tribe. Our home in Moline was a couple miles from where Black Hawk’s village was located, along the banks of the Rock River and where Black Hawk State Park is located today.

Choosing a piece to do
I have lots of research material, and there’s much more online. There are literally tens of thousands of photos taken by Edward Curtis, Charles Bell, and L. A. Huffman from the 1860's through the early 1900’s. Fortunately, these photographers knew the importance of documenting Native Americans as they lived in the late 1800’s. I’m especially drawn to the faces and ornamentation of the Plains Indians. When I finally decide on my next sculpture, I do as much research as I can about the person and the tribe. It’s important to get the little things right - why a feather might be “notched” or what kind of beading would be used on a particular tribe’s war shirt.

Juried Shows and Exhibits
I participate in juried art shows and exhibits throughout the Southwest. My work has been shown in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and here in Ruidoso. I am a member of the National Sculpture Society.

     
  "Tradition" "Soars With Eagles"    
Shield
"Renegade" "Keeper of the Pipe" "Shield Of Her Warrior" "Guardian of the Kiowa" "Rides Like Thunder"
Pueblo
"Back From Pueblo Creek"
"End of an Era"
"Lone Flag"
"Vantage Point"
"Vision Seeker"

"Slow Bull"

"Red Armed Panther

“Medicine Crow"

"The Victor"

"Black Hawk"

"Yellow Hawk"

"Last Dance for Iron Breast"

"Quanah Parker"

"Mescalero Vigilance"

"Struck By Crow"

"Kashhila”

"JIicarilla Innocence"

"Double Runner"

"Little Horse"

"Sitting Elk’s Oath"

"Red Hawk’s Prayer"

"Morning Chill"

"Prized Possession"

"Scorched Lightning"

"Strong Medicine"

"Slim"

• Prices subject to change.

** Availability subject to change. If a piece has to be cast, please allow 14 weeks.