The reach of many Loveland artists goes well beyond the borders of Colorado. Bruce Gueswel is one of those artists. If you’ve been to one of America’s 2,000 Chipotle restaurants over the last 25 years, you’ve seen some of Bruce’s Mayan-inspired wood and metal sculptures. What you may not have seen is his studio work. For that, we recommend gazing in the windows of his 4thstreet Loveland studio, across from Loveland Aleworks. Composed of stacked and bundled rock, his figurative sculptures are solid, dense but also very much full of life. Whether he is creating for a client or just for himself, the joy of making is what keeps him going. We sat down at his fourth street studio to talk about art, community and the future.
How did the Chipotle project change the course of your overall techniques and approach to your work?
The first bunch of them [the Mayan sculptures] I cut out by hand with hand saws, then I started drawing them on the computer and having all the parts cut out with water jets. Over time, we really ramped up our production, and it was all just super fun.
Having a client like that gave me enough time to make large sculptures speculatively, and work on whatever I wanted to in the studio. Unfortunately, it also kept me from being hungry – you know, hustling to get into galleries and marketing myself.
Tell us about your current commercial work.
It has been a great 25 years of making stuff for Chipotle, but they have a new CEO who is changing their model, so things are winding down with me. I’m looking to develop more custom hand railings into the future. Nearly every railing you see in a building is custom and you can do some funky designs – I’ve been having fun making that kind of stuff.
What about your current studio work?
I don’t know what is next. I did The Sculpture in the Park show for the first time in a long time, and it did get me into two galleries. In fact, I’m getting ready to bundle up and haul my stuff up to Steamboat and to Napa Valley.
For me, the figure is a touchstone. That started in figure drawing class in college. When you see the really old stuff – the Greeks, Rodin – you can’t help but emote. It is a place where I feel something. I make the figure into something that requires a little bit of participation and imagination on the part of the viewer. I just want to be playful and amusing.
What do you wish people knew about what it means to be a working artist?
Making stuff is good for you, and it’s good for the people around you. It doesn’t matter if you sell anything or not. If you live your life in the process of making something – using your imagination, using your hands – you will benefit. Whether it is knitting, needle point, painting, drawing, building furniture or making a fence or flower beds in your backyard – it doesn’t matter. It is amazing how much time flies. It feeds you.
Live Loveland’s mission is to celebrate, engage and unify our community. Which of those actions do you think Loveland needs the most and how do you think we as a community can manifest it?
I would go with engaging. I’m on the VAC [Visual Arts Commission] and that makes me feel like I have a little bit of influence on what happens in the community. The city’s collection of public art is commendable – it is diverse and playful and people come from all over the world to see it. There are communities all over who are trying to emulate what we’ve done here, and that’s great. I love meeting the people who are involved in what’s going on. We should strive for doing things that surprise people.
See more of Bruce’s art at https://www.brucegueswel.com
By Jessica Moskwa Hawkins
December 28, 2018
Thanks, Bruce, for your wise words and your personal contributions to great creative vibe here in Loveland!
Great article, Jessica! Thanks for asking such good questions and including a few key images. One very tiny typo: should be Rodin, not Rodan. 🙂
Thanks Cyndi! I fixed Rodin, which I should have seen since I am lucky enough to have visited Museé Rodin! Looking forward to meeting you at an arts event sometime soon.
Playful and amusing….Such appropriate words to describe you, Bruce. I love your quote about making stuff being good for you and those around you. That is one of the many gifts you, as an artist, give to the rest of us… inspiration, engagement, entertainment and emboldening us to dream and maybe even create. Thank you, friend.
I admire your work. And your talent. I believe I recall seeing your metal sculpture of a horse – magnificent.
I like the article
Thank you for the terrific article