A chance encounter with a Jersey cow launched J. Clayton Bright on his career as a sculptor.
Bright first met the cow while walking through the countryside in 1977. Her alluring curves made a great impression on him and gradually the idea of the cow as a bronze took root.
Instinctively aware that no one else could create the image she inspired in his mind, Bright decided to do the sculpture himself.
A sculptor friend gave an afternoon's instruction in the craft of sculpture, and explained the importance of working from life. Thus armed, Bright returned to the field, finishing his first piece, Neilson's Cow, in October of that year.
Born in the Philadelphia area in 1946, Bright, on graduating from a New England boarding school, enlisted in the army. There he served in the paratroops with a tour in Vietnam as a member of a long range reconnaissance team. Following his discharge, he worked in Australia, and then hitchhiked through the Far East, Middle East, and Europe.
Upon his return to Philadelphia, he worked at the stock exchange until tempted by the Neilson's cow to try sculpture. Bright now has a studio in the countryside west of Philadelphia.
The sculptures capture the natural pose, attitude and expression of the model, whether it is a person or animal. In both cases it is Clayton's control of his craftsmanship which enables the vision to become reality. In all cases Clayton's art radiates energy and a sense of recognition in the eye of the beholder. The subject matter of the bronzes ranges from people, young and old, navy and white, male and female, to a wide variety of animals, both wild and domesticated. Bright works only from life, so he can gather his understanding of the model's personality. This insistence on creating from life necessitates his working where the model is, be that a barn, a field, or a house.