The Resin Horse as Art

Resin casting is a relatively inexpensive means to reproduce sculptures in moderate quantities, compared to the costs and production considerations of reproducing items in injection molded plastic (generally toys) and bronzes (fine art). The sculptural work itself, and levels of skill, knowledge and expertise that may be called into play are no different than what would be required to do a sculpture ultimately intended to be cast in bronze. In fact, the market for resin sculptures, and model horses in general, demands a comparatively high level of realism and attention to lifelike detail that is not necessarily a standard within the fine art realm.

Probably the most unique aspect of Resin Horses though, is the fact that they are most often painted with accurate, lifelike color, patterning and details, to include white face and leg markings, pinto and appaloosa spotting patterns, lively dappled greys and all the other possible equine coat color variations. In short, Resin Horses are a melding of two long-standing fine arts: sculpture and painting. Even the Limited Editions offered are unique in that unlike many products available... each copy within an edition of Resin Horses is usually painted differently, and no two are exactly alike!

Resin Horses are most often found painted in oils or acrylics, and by hand-brushing or air-brushing methods. Each artist has their own unique style and methods, and an educated collector's eye can often discern the painting artist based on the work displayed. Unlike most fine art pieces in which the final product (painting or sculpture) is usually the work of a single artist (or possibly an intentional collaboration,) Resin Horses are most often the combination of the respective talents of two or more artists. Most resin horses will have been sculpted by one artist, and painted by another. Even more unique is the fact that the copies of any particular sculpture may feature paintjobs by a large number of different painting artists.
"Artist Resins" and "Factory Resins"
There are two subgroups of resin horses, "Artist Resins" and "Factory Resins". While the envelope is always being pushed in all directions and there are no hard and fast rules. "Factory" type resins are those produced and painted a particular color or limited offering of colors with most copies intended to appear alike. Usually the painting is done using factory assembly-line methods and materials.

"Artist Resins" by contrast are those pieces offered by the sculpting artist or representative firm, with each copy painted individually by hand. Each copy is expected to be individual and unique in this case, whether painted by the sculptor, contract artists, artists hired by the customer or the customer themself.
Customer Involvement
One of the most interesting and fun aspects of collecting resin horses is that the customer often has a role in the creation of a finished piece. You can purchase "body" pieces (unpainted) from one artist, and then find another artist who will paint it in the color and markings of your choice. In a way, this is much like choosing the specifications of a new car. Alternatively, an artist may provide a selection of several copies of a sculpture displaying various colors and markings for you to choose from, and you can pick a favorite from among them to add to your collection.

This aspect of having an art piece modified to some degree to your personal specifications is a rather unique concept when considering it in the context of "fine art". We normally don't expect to have a choice in the matter when purchasing a limited edition print for example. But when it comes to equine or horse-related art, Resin Horses provide the means for the average person to obtain a special piece of sculptural art that is unique and one-of-a-kind, for a relatively inexpensive price compared to commissioning a bronze. Make no mistake, the level of skill and knowledge required to create an original sculpture or successfully modify an existing piece, not to mention painting the pieces in full color equal, if not exceed, anything required or expected of more mainstream "fine artists" who create equine art.
Expanding Horizons . . .
Recently, a number of resin horse artists have been crossing over into the fine art realm of juried shows and gallery showings, entering their creations alongside other more traditional media. No doubt, these pioneers will continue to gain exposure for this rapidly growing artform, introducing it to more people and allowing them to discover that art isn't just for museums, but thanks to innovative artists and modern materials, it can now be affordable to just about everyone.
©1999-2002 Rio Rondo