Los Caballos

Submitted by William Matthews

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Client: Dickies Arena

Location: Fort Worth, TX, United States

Completion date: 2019

Project Team

Artist

William Matthews

Project Manager

John Grant

Public Art Services

Overview

For the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX, Denver based painter William Matthews’ created a stunning design that captures the spirit and history of the American West. The original watercolor painting was translated into an eye catching 63′ x 12’ 2” mosaic smalti tile mural that sits above the South entrance of the new 14,000 seat, 230,000 square foot Dickies Arena, adjacent to the Will Rodgers Memorial Campus. The mosaic smalti tile mural commemorates the horse, first brought by the Spanish and now an enduring symbol of the American West, whose introduction to North America transformed the Great Plains and the West for both Native Americans and American pioneers. Set against an untamed landscape, the piece, captures the movement of wild horses running among scrub and brush, set against rolling hills, mesas, and a storm-filled sky. Each side of the mosaic smalti tile mural is flanked with a 12’ 2” tall bronze bas-relief sculpture of a cowboy on one side and a Comanche on the other, conceived from Matthews’ original composition drawings. On the left is a depiction of an early day cowboy of the American West, skilled and confident. On the opposite side is a Comanche, considered the “Lord of the Plains” and master of the horse culture, brave, and graceful. Both figures, seated on horse-back, serve as welcoming ambassadors to all visitors. ‘Los Caballos’ is a celebration of the American West, the land, and the succession of people and animals who have been here for the last 12,000 years.

Goals

The goal for this project was to create an iconic work of art that captures the spirit of the American West and welcomes visitors to the site. Our clients provided dimensions for the artwork and our team identified materials that would not only stand the test of time but would feel at home with the artwork seen around the Will Rodgers Memorial Campus. Through the use of ancient art making techniques we were able to create a contemporary work of art that complements the modern building and celebrates the land, the people, and the animals that have and continue to call this place home.

Process

Matthews' original watercolor painting was translated into the mosaic smalti tile mural by the celebrated female-owned studio Mosaicos Venecianos in Cuernavaca, MX. 600,000 hand-cut glass tiles of 570 different colors come together to realize the scene. The 2 bronze bas-relief sculptures were conceived from Matthews’ original composition drawings & sculpted by Texas-based artist Buckeye Blake, a member of the Cherokee Nation. The final sculptures were cast by Tim Joseph, Sculpture Center, Fort Collins, CO. Additional collaborative partners include: ECD Metalworks, Michael Mowry, & Yetiweurks.