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Sturgis Artist Goes Bigger For Impact In Outdoors Art

July 17, 2014, 7:56 PM by Kevin Woster

Sturgis Artist Goes Bigger For Impact In Outdoors Art

Sturgis area artist Dale Lamphere has been expanding his reputation through sculptures large enough to catch the eye and the mind in outdoor settings.

It means a lot of work. And that's just fine with Lamphere, who takes his West-River-ranch upbringing into his studio in the hills near Interstate 90 each day.

"I show up early and stay late," Lamphere says.

That gritty work ethic is based on the empty-spaces notion that much is left to the individual.

"I've always been one to get right to work on things, because I knew that it was up to me and what I did that day would really make a difference,"Lamphere says."And that's my ranch heritage, I suppose."

Hard work and creative skill have served him well during a 45-year artistic career that began with a college course that took him sailing to 18 countries in six months. It was called Semester at Sea and it gave Lamphere a look at the world, its history and art, that would change his perspective and lead him into art.

Yet, he was drawn home to western South Dakota and the Black Hills to live and work. He says the landscape has been a prominent part of his life and his art.

That's especially true in the large-scale outdoor-art projects he focuses on these days. Most of Lamphere's work is now done in stone and metal.

"I work primarily with stainless steel and stone, but I include other metals -- copper, bronze, iron -- for contrast," he says.

And he makes them big, for a reason.

"This area that we live in in South Dakota is so vast, I think large-scale work is almost required, if it's going to be outdoors," Lamphere says. "It needs to be large scale if it's going to have a presence in the environment."

Lamphere is finishing such a piece now. He's collaborating on a sculpture honoring two Rapid City police officers gunned down in 2011. Rapid City artist James Van Nuys created two eagles that will soar on stainless-steel shafts and a stone base by Lamphere.

Lamphere says he is excited about the sculpture, set to be dedicated in Rapid City soon. But he has an even larger piece of outdoor art in the works. It will be his biggest so far.

In fact, it's so big that he has been working with a structural engineer on the design. And announcement on the project will come soon.

Meanwhile, there's work to be done. And Lamphere will show up early and stay late to do it.


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