Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wild West Buffalo

 The Wild West Buffalo features two life-size portrait bronzes in it.  The right side has Sitting Bull welded in it and the left side features a portrait of Buffalo Bill Cody.  The two famous characters starred in Bill Cody's Wild West Show that toured the all around world.

The idea to put the two bronze busts featuring Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill came about during the 2012 Christmas fair in Lemmon.  Kavan Donohue was looking through a book in front of Phyllis Schmidt's booth and saw an old poster that showed a picture of  Buffalo Bill in a running buffalo (pictured below).  Kavan pointed it out to me and said if you like to put faces in your pieces put Buffalo Bill in a Buffalo like this. 

This is the face I cut off a twelve foot Angel and welded into Top Knot a life-size horse I was building the summer of 2012.  This face inspired Kavan to have an idea after seeing Buffalo Bills face in the poster above.  This is a big deal because know I am not just building a scrap iron buffalo. It now has a theme to it and the face helps tell the story. In the case of the Wild West Buffalo pictured below Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill being in the same buffalo gives it this new feel that my piece didn't have before this.  Thanks Kavan!

  I talked with Kavan on the phone when I started sculpting the Buffalo Bill bust in clay and he said it really needed to be trying to get out of the buffalo. I remember taking the clay that I had just started the day before to the shop and cutting the armature to push one shoulder down and turn his face.  The action in this portrait really adds to the finished piece.

Here are some progress shots of The Wild West Buffalo while in the welding shop.


 I can really feel my style coming together in this piece.  This is quintessential John Lopez with a touch of Kavan Donohue mixed in.  I liked to hide my bronzes in the Hybrid Metal pieces but in this one I feature the bronzes in an obvious way. The Sitting Bull Bust is not hidden it is intentionally framed so that your eye is drawn to it right away.

The Wild West Buffalo is finally complete.  If you want to see the piece in person come
 to Rapid City, SD June 22 and 23rd for the Art and Wine Festival in the Main Street Square.

After we installed the buffalo in New Hampshire we met this gal on a whale watching excursion.  She called the next morning because she wanted to come and see the two pieces I have at Pinacle.

Kavan Donohue and I in front of Dakotah after a photo shoot for Faces Magazine. 


  1. As I was driving home from work, I saw this piece on a flatbed trailer on the highway in Lowell, MA. I must admit, I sped up to get a better glimpse. It was a giant buffalo made from scrap metal!! I was so excited, it was such a cool piece! I wanted to know what the story was behind it so i googled "Buffalo made from scrap metal" and it brought me to your site. There it was! The Buffalo! You do some incredible work and I'm happy I found these photos of it so I could get a closer look at all the details.

  2. Hello,
    My name is Diego and I write from Italy and I wanted to compliment you on your works.
    Even a friend of mine in mexico city makes sculptures of horses. His website is
    You're very good! Many congratulations!
    You can find me on my blog!