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Sean Colson

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S T Y L E  M A G A Z I N E

Talk about all in the family. Sean Colson’s father, Frank Colson, is a renowned sculptor and instructor. His mother, Diana Colson, is a writer, composer and filmmaker. Sean grew up in Sarasota. After graduating from Sarasota High School in 1979, he started a bronze casting supply business and a bronze foundry. He reproduces, repairs and restores historic Sarasota statuary, and also designs original works using bronze and other materials. He and his wife, Marina, offer art and cultural tours around the world.

I hear you started making art an early age.
I sold my first illustration for a nickel in 1965. Within an hour,   I sold five drawings, just enough to buy a Matchbox car. Before the summer was over, I was able to purchase a fleet of cars. Two years later, at 7, I participated in a father-and-son exhibition in Sarasota — and John D. MacDonald purchased one of my drawings!

How would you describe your latest art?
It’s pretty much the same style as when I was a kid: comical, playful, imaginative fantasy figures and machines.

How did you become interested in working in bronze?
I started manipulating clay and wax as a child. My father had — and still has — a ceramic and bronze-casting studio next to our house. When I was little, I played with these materials. As I grew older, I helped my father with his work and learned to cast my own pieces, refining my style along the way. In Elizabethan times, I would have been considered a boy apprentice. Are you involved in any public art projects? I cast large bronzes for projects created by other artists in the United States and Canada. Most recently, I helped design the Ringling Isles statuary urn commemorating John Ringling.

Your wife, Marina, is also an artist. How does that work?
We call ourselves the “togetherness team.” We collaborate really well together.

What are your principal artistic influences?
Dr. Seuss, the movies “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang” and “Yellow Submarine,” and the town of Woodstock, N.Y. What are your goals for Sarasota this coming season? I hope to have an exhibition of small bronze sculptures. I’m also striving to finish text and drawings for two books, “The Book of Love and Peace” and “Baby, Peace!” (Sample drawings can be seen at I also plan on offering classes in creating bronze sculpture.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009    

Feature Story
Sean Colson

Sean Colson

Sean Colson was raised in the Sarasota art scene. Born in Tallahassee, his parents brought him to Sarasota at the age of four. The year was 1964, and the family had purchased the original home of famed watercolorist Hilton Leech because it came with a licensed art studio on the property. His father, sculptor Frank Colson, soon set up Colson School of Art on Hillview Street.

By age five, Sean and his brother Kevin were making illustrations and drawings of cars and selling them in the front yard for 5 cents apiece. As time progressed, Sean's father gave him many opportunities to express the artistic side of his character. His mother, Diana, showed him the world of the performing arts; she taught music at Southside Elementary and used her summers to create short films in various countries of the world.

As Sean's art progressed, he moved from drawing cars to people. At nine years old, Sean had his first art exhibit, a Father & Son Show at the Hilton Leech Art gallery in Sarasota, where his drawings were purchased by such luminaries as famed author John D. MacDonald and photographer Jan Silberstein.

Throughout the ‘60s, his father held summer art workshops in places like Canada and North Carolina, Maine and Mexico. These environments filled Sean with creative energy, and he gradually moved from drawing into sculpture. He first began working with clay, making ceramic art tiles, then evolved into creating whimsical bronze sculptures, These small bronzes featured imaginative things such as cowboys riding dolphins and whales morphing into jet airplanes.

In 1970 and 1971 the family traveled around the world for fourteen months, with his mother making short 16mm films for schools and libraries. Sean would star in one movie while his brother would star in the next. During their extended travels, they made films in Kyoto, Hong Kong, Sydney, Bali, Bangkok, Katmandu and Old Delhi. Sean and Kevin also attended school in Queensland, Australia while their father opened a bronze sculpture foundry. Upon leaving Australia, the family traveled overland from Nepal to London and then back to the U.S.

After graduating from Sarasota High School in 1979, Sean started his bronze casting supply business He took a few college courses, but left school to partner with his father in the bronze foundry business in what is now Sarasota's Historic Rosemary District. In the late ‘80s he and his brother joined forces with Drew Truitt in a new business in downtown Sarasota called Colson Originals. Here they reproduced historic statuary for the streets of Sarasota.

In the early ‘90s, Sean moved to Central Studios on Central Avenue, helping to develop an enclave of local artists. Here, he continued to reproduce historic Sarasota statuary, and had a visit from a relative of Charles Ringling which motivated him to expand his line. The Ringling Museum hired him to work on repairing many of their weathered pieces, and he also worked with his father on maintenance of metal sculptures belonging to the City of Sarasota.

This year, Sean introduced Sarasota's Ringling Isles Urn, a piece which he and Ed Pinto designed to commemorate Sarasota's rich history with John Ringling. This stunning piece is hand carved in marble and is available to order. It can be seen at Sean's art website:

Whether it's bronze casting, statuary, illustrations, art travel or film, Sean Colson is very much the artist.


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