Local artist creates works of bronze

GLADSTONE — A self-taught sculptor residing in Gladstone is making quite the name for himself in the Midwest art community.

“My mom kind of taught me that the only mistake you can make in art is to not do it. If it doesn’t look great, not every piece has to be a masterpiece. If you start out that way, you’ll quit pretty fast,” said Sculptor Andy Sacksteder.



When one door closes, another door opens.

As cliché as it sounds, this perfectly describes the situation of how Andy Sacksteder got into the artistry business. Just eight and a half years ago while Sacksteder was in his early fifties, he was injured at work and his doctor recommended he find a new career.

Inspired by the artwork, specifically a bronze statue, at the Mayo Clinic, Sacksteder started dabbling in the sculpting scene. His art of choice was clay-sculpting with a bronze finish.

In 2012, Sacksteder submitted a piece entitled ‘Captain and the Kid’ to ArtPrize, a world-renowned art competition that takes place every fall in downstate Grand Rapids. The piece placed in the top 100 of the 1500 submitted works and Sacksteder was determined to keep moving forward.

He submitted ‘Uplifting’ the following year and placed third overall. Sacksteder kept climbing and in 2015, his piece, ‘Reach and Splash,’ was awarded first place for best installation.

“Artprize is a great way to get noticed, especially when you’re from a small town, like Gladstone. It’s a great event,” Sacksteder said. “I recommend everyone who does art to just look into it. You don’t have to win to get something out of it. It’s exposure and opens up your eyes, seeing what other people do. It’s a great thing that Michigan has.”

Sacksteder didn’t participate in the 2016 event due to his winning the previous year, but his work was put on display at the Bonifas Art Center in Escanaba for five weeks. As of now, Sacksteder has five statues on display in Michigan and two in Ohio. When he isn’t sculpting commissioned pieces, he’s hard at work on busts to further his talent.

And all of this magic happens in Gladstone.

“I feel very blessed. It’s a very small town. This is going to go in Petoskey, Michigan when it’s bronzed next summer,” Sacksteder said. “I have two statues in the U.P. now and that’s really nice. I plan on doing this for as long as I’m able. I get a lot of satisfaction. It’s quite a passion and I just love doing it. It’s like a little challenge every day.”

While each statue varies, the process is long and expensive, but always worth it. His large statues sell for around $45,000, but between art expenses and bronzing expenses, the payback is modest. His current work-in-progress will be on display in Petoskey next summer, but past that, Sacksteder is open to ideas.

If you’re interested in Andy’s work, you can visit his website by clicking here.