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Deran Wright

If it can be imagined, it can be brought into reality in BRONZE.

For 40+ years Deran Wright has been bringing the imagination to life through sculpture, from the ultra-realistic, to the fantastic.

Through the medium of bronze sculpture Deran Wright explores the symbolism, the icons, the myths and legends that are the undercurrent of our society.

Iconic images of heroes, dragons, greenmen, fairies, leprechuans, monsters and hobgoblins run deep through humanity's collective psyche.  Soaring eagles, wild horses running free, children at play.  We surround ourselves with powerful sculptural symbols that inspire and motivate us, and restore our connection to our humanity.

Deran Wright and a Nightwatch Gnome
Deran Wright and the Sleeping Panther
Artistw:minuteman2.jpg

Public Unveilings

1988  Will Rogers Coliseum - Fort Worth, Texas

1988 East Texas State University - Commerce, Texas

1989  White House Rose Garden - Washington, D.C.

1990  Cooper Aerobics Clinic - Dallas, Texas

1994  Graham Public Library - Graham, Texas

1995  Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base - Fort Worth, Texas

1997  Prather Park - Highland Park, Texas

1998  Boy Scouts of America, Circle 10 Council headquarters - Dallas, Texas

2000  Beth-El Temple - Fort Worth, Texas

2002  Main Civil Courts Building - Fort Worth, Texas

2003 Founder’s Park - North Richland Hills, Texas

2009 Azle Memorial Library - Azle, Texas

2010 Westminster School - Atlanta, Georgia

2011 Paul Smiths College - Paul Smiths, New York

2011 Old Parkland - Dallas, Texas

2012 Old Parkland - Dallas, Texas

2012 Azle Fire Station - Azle, Texas

2014 Davey O’Brien Foundation - Fort Worth, Texas

2015 Old Parkland - Dallas, Texas

Select Corporate and Public Client List

 

Azle Public Library - Azle Texas

Badge of Honor Foundation - Dallas, Texas

Beth-El Congregation - Fort Worth, Texas

The Bertha Foundation - Graham, Texas

The Boy Scouts of America, Circle 10 Council - Dallas, Texas

Camp Topridge - Saranac, New York

The Center for Texas Studies - Fort Worth, Texas

Cessna Aircraft Corporation - Wichita, Kansas

Chippewa Shoes - Fort Worth, Texas

Crow Holdings - Dallas Texas

Davey O'Brien Foundation - Fort Worth, texas

Don Young Glass Studio - Fort Worth, Texas

Dorothea Leonhardt Foundation - Fort Worth, Texas

East Texas State University - Commerce, Texas

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce - Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth Police Department - Fort Worth, Texas

Gainsco Incorporated - Fort Worth, Texas

Gideon-Toal - Fort Worth, Texas

Graham Public Library - Graham, Texas

Hahnfeld & Associates - Fort Worth, Texas

Haltom City Public Library - Haltom City, Texas

Harris Methodist Hospital - Fort Worth, Texas

Heritage Trails Commission - Fort Worth, Texas

The City of Highland Park - Highland Park, Texas

Hoka Hey Fine Arts Foundry - Dublin, Texas

Holt, Rineheart, & Winston - Fort Worth, Texas

Hometown - North Richland Hills, Texas

IBEW 16 - Evansville, Indiana

Jason Witten SCORE foundation, - Brentwood, Tennessee

Justin Industries - Fort Worth, Texas

Juta Sugai - Kanagawa, Japan

Kimbell Art Museum - Fort Worth, Texas

Kristen Richards Incorporated - New York, New York

Latham & Sons - Fort Worth, Texas

Live Oak Foundation - Azle, Texas

Medical Heritage Galleries - Waco, Texas

Morris Foundation - Fort Worth, Texas

Muplan - Tokyo, Japan

National School Public Relations Association - Arlington, Virginia

National Association of Police Organizations - Alexandria, Virginia

Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base - Fort Worth, Texas 

North Richland Hills Public Art Committee - NRH, Texas

Old Parkland - Dallas, Texas

Pantherville Railroad Association - Fort Worth, Texas

Paschal High School - Fort Worth, Texas

Paul Smiths College - Paul Smiths, New York

Q Investments - Fort Worth, Texas

The Renoir Foundation - Austin, Texas

Royal Oaks Country Club - Dallas, Texas

Schutts, Magee, & Riddle - Fort Worth, Texas

Southland Corporation - Dallas, Texas

StageWest Theater - Fort Worth, Texas

TCU Press - Fort Worth, Texas

Texaco - Dallas, Texas

Tony Lama - Fort Worth, Texas

TSR - Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Wagnon-Manning Design - Dallas, Texas

Warner Bros - Hollywood, California

Wizards of the Coast - Seattle, Washington

...And many other private commissions ...

Shaping Deran Wright
By Linda Blackwell Simmons
Reprinted from Fort Worth Weekly 2018

His talent is recognized throughout Fort Worth and beyond — bronze classics ranging from portraits to monuments and memorials — to the sleeping panther in downtown Fort Worth. Deran Wright’s latest work, “Aurora, Goddess of the Dawn” –– a 4-foot bronze sculpture of a female nude raising her arms to the sky – will make her debut at the 16th annual Preservation Is the Art of the City exhibit on Thursday at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. This is the first time sculpture has been accepted, and Deran is one of three sculptors who were invited to submit. The other two, Douglas Clark and Julie Lazarus, will be exhibiting animal life and glass pieces, respectively.

While Wright has participated in 10 of the exhibits, it has never been for sculpture. Instead he has offered pen and ink drawings. Inviting him to submit sculpture was an easy choice for Jerre Tracy, executive director of Historic Fort Worth, the nonprofit that puts on the exhibit every year.

Wright, she said, “may be quiet and soft-spoken, but his pen and ink drawings and his sculptures scream of artistic intelligence. His draftsmanship and versatility bring buildings, myths, horned frogs, firefighters, and any subject matter he chooses to life. He can make bronze look like gossamer, which qualified his sculpture for this year’s show.” 

With deep Fort Worth roots, Wright attended Birdville High School and is a fifth-generation Texan. His great-great grandfather served as a captain in the Texas Rangers, and his grandparents were employees of Justin Boots back in their day.  

Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of casting his first bronze sculpture at age 18, and during these past four decades, he has cast hundreds more. His mother recognized his talent when he began drawing recognizable faces as a toddler.

“When he was about 4 or 5, we would go to family gatherings where he enjoyed the company of numerous cousins,” said mother Annelee Wright. “They would be playing ball or tag, but when we arrived and Deran got out his sketchbook, active play would stop, and they would gather around on the front porch and watch him bring life to his pencil and pad.” 

Throughout his school years, he was the go-to artist for comics and portraits for his classmates and drawings for the class yearbooks. While still a young teenager, he became a commercial illustrator, creating artwork for Texas magazines and newspapers. He even received a letter from Stan Lee telling him to hurry growing up, so he could apply for a position at Marvel Comics.

One of Wright’s pieces was unveiled at the White House in 1989 and another at the Cooper Aerobics Clinic in Dallas when George W. Bush was the keynote speaker. His clients have included the Boy Scouts of America, National Association of Police Officers, Texaco, and the United States Navy as well as TCU and the Texas A&M law school (formerly Texas Wesleyan). He once did work on an original Renoir sculpture, and 30 years later he became a key witness in a lawsuit between the Renoir heirs and the French government. 

Even with all the awards and accolades, his favorite work is still the “Sleeping Panther” of Fort Worth reclining in its eternal nap at the intersection of Weatherford and Main streets downtown. 

“It’s been 16 years since I created the ‘Sleeping Panther,’ and now panthers are everywhere,” he said. “They have exploded in popularity. There is a whole story behind this panther, perhaps to be told another time.”

Wright was recently commissioned to create coloring books by two different clients — TCU’s Center for Texas Studies and pen and ink drawings of Fort Worth structures for Historic Fort Worth. Additionally, he is completing three sculpture commissions, a book of ink drawings, an illustrated poem, three works of fiction, and a massive stained-glass collaboration with Don Young Glass Studio. He’s also working on writing his autobiography.

If asked to speak about his work at an unveiling, Wright is more likely to say, “Thank you, I enjoyed working on this” than rambling through a long speech.

“My kids, now 17 and 23, sometimes ask me for advice on what they should do for their careers,” Wright said. “I have no guidance for them, as I always knew exactly what I wanted to do.” 

Bibliography

2020 SHOUTOUT DFW - Meet Deran Wright: Bronze Sculptor

 

2018 Fort Worth Weekly - "Shaping Deran Wright"

 

June 2016 Wide Open Country - “10 Texas Artists Who Explore the Beauty of the Lone Star State”

 

January 2016  BisNow  “The Art behind Parkland Hospital”

 

July 2015 Southwest Art magazine   “Meet 14 artists who work in bronze, steel & more”

 

October 2014 Visual Language Magazine Vol 3 no 11  'An Artistic Life'

 

June 2012 The Dallas Morning News  “Dallas firefighters dedicate statue honoring fallen comrades”

May 20 2011 The Dallas Morning News "At memorial for fallen Dallas police officers: ‘We remember with you’"

 

2010 Labyrinths of British Columbia “Story of the Minotaur”

 

May 12, 2010 Stark Center blog Posted “Helping Hands”

 

December 2008 The Azle News “Soaring Sculpture”

 

November 2008 The Azle News “Art coming in as Library takes shape”

 

August 2008 All Tomorrows Parties ezine “NEW DRONES SINGLE - THE MINOTAUR + A BRIEF RETROSPECTIVE”

 

June 2005 CollegeMama blog “Pixielated and Updated”

 

2005 Panther City front cover “Featuring the photography of Skeeter Hagler”

 

March 2004 Star Telegram “Bronze sculpture honors influential educator”

 

December 2002  Star Telegram Front Page “A Legend in Bronze”

 

March 2002 Richland Hills News “Sculpting History”

 

September 1999 Star Telegram “Shaping a Reputation”

 

July 1998 The Dallas Morning News “Pixie Land”

 

February 1995 Fort Worth Star Telegram “Artwork keep’s Carswell’s memory alive”

 

February 1995 The Sentinel “Carswell Field memorial dedicated”

 

1995 The Healing Arts  “The best American Artists look at Medicine today”

 

December 1990 Orlando Sentinel  “Education Flag Part Of Display Symbol Was Carried By Christa Mcauliffe"

 

May 1987 Western Horseman “Gallery”

 

September 1986 Fort Worth Star Telegram “FW Man restoring Renoir’s Venus”

 

May 1973 Mid Cities Daily News “Youth creates vivid adventures”

SHOUTOUT DFW

Meet Deran Wright: Bronze Sculptor

Meet Deran Wright: Bronze sculptor

December 9, 2020 

We had the good fortune of connecting with Deran Wright and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Deran, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Didn’t really have a choice in the matter. It was something deep in my bones. A career in the arts is not anything I would really recommend… it can be a difficult journey. Not something you get into for the money. I have been very fortunate to have been successful for most of my experience, but there have been a couple of economic downturns. But I never gave up. You have to have faith in yourself and your art, an almost blind stupid level of confidence that what you’re doing matters, to be able to stick it out through the inevitable trials. 

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Sculpture is my passion, and bronze is my chosen medium. I work in a very traditional, classic representational manner, although I enjoy mixing in fantasy and mythological subjects. Even the most prosaic subject may have an underlying, iconic aspect to it which is fun to explore. I have been pursuing this idea for 41 years now.

When I began representational sculpture was somewhat sneered at. At first it was an uphill struggle against the abstract conceptualism mindset that pervaded the arts community. There is still some of that, but realistic sculpture has made a strong comeback. There is room for both, and more, because the very concept of what constitutes sculpture has undergone a sea change over the years. I feel that traditional sculpture has real power. It speaks to us in so many ways. As we have lately seen, that can be a double edged sword. Sculpture can focus attention on topics both good and bad. The people and concepts we lionize through sculpture say a lot about our society. I try to make each sculpture a work that will endure and take it’s place in the local mythos.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I like to hang out in the museum and garden districts. Also enjoy architectural walking tours. Live theater, locally owned restaurants. Food says a lot about a place. We are fortunate to live in the midst of a wonderful variety of cuisines from around the world.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
No one gets anywhere in this world by themselves. There are so many people who have helped me along the path I have walked, in both large and small ways. My family, my friends, associates, the patrons who have supported me over the years. All have contributed to the life I have led. Most of all, I am grateful for the companionship of my wife, Geneva, who has stood by my side, and encouraged me through t’ick and t’in.

An Artistic Life;

by Fred Schwartz

reprinted from Visual Language Magazine 2014

Deran Wright drew his first recognizable picture at age 3 on a building block (a bird). In elementary school he wrote and illustrated comic books which he sold to classmates. At age 15 he became a commercial illustrator, creating artwork for Texas magazines and newspapers. He has a letter from Stan Lee telling him to finish growing up before he applies for a job as an artist at Marvel. 

When he was 12, he met  a noted western painter/sculptor, who after viewing the young artist's ever present sketch pad, gifted him with a box containing a wooden sculptors tool and some 'mysterious substance'.

5 years later, dissatisfied with commercial illustration, he opened the box and cast his first bronze sculpture in 1979, when he was just 18.

 

Deran can be elusive to track down for an interview. To art shows, gallery openings, unveilings, the usual haunts for artists, he appears briefly, if at all. He and his wife, Geneva, are more likely to be found at live theater performances, history symposiums, or fine restaurants.

When I caught up with him recently, he was sketching the complicated knots adorning samurai armor in an exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum. Knots, armor, and Oriental culture are only three of his many and varied interests.

 

Back in his atelier, when asked about his training, he replies, "self-taught". But then I notice the shelves behind him groaning under the weight of a massive collection of books on sculpture. From primitive Oceania, African, Oriental, Classical, Baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco. Names like Cellini, Bernini, Gaudens, Rodin, Manship, and Noguchi are on the book jackets. 

The sculptor didn't pursue a degree in art, because at the time the academic focus was on abstract and conceptual forms. 

Drawn to classic figurative sculpture, Deran embarked instead on a rigorous combination of self study and on the job training. As a result, today he creates sculpture in a traditional style from a thoroughly modern perspective, and his work is in high demand.

 

A very reserved and quiet man, the sculptor can be difficult to draw out. At a recent unveiling, when handed a microphone, his speech consisted entirely of, "Thank you very much for coming. I had a lot of fun making this sculpture."

But it soon became apparent that each and every sculpture has an interesting story behind it.

 

For instance there was the time one of his sculptures was unveiled by President George Bush in the Rose Garden at the White House. Oh, and George W. Bush was the keynote speaker at another of his unveilings.

Or how he became a key witness in an international copyright dispute between the heirs of Pierre August Renoir, the French government and the heirs of Renoir's personal assistant. 

After 35 years of sculpting full time, there are a lot of sculptures and a lot of stories.

The sculptor Deran Wright
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