Scottsdale, AZ
Jackson, WY

Austin Barton

Austin Barton (1927 – 2017)Austin Barton was raised in Joseph, Oregon and the Wallowa Valley of Eastern Oregon. Austin loved many aspects of the western way of life and was influenced by Cowboys, Native Americans and their many stories.   Breaking horses, working on farms and ranches, logging, and construction is how he earned a living before entering the Navy in 1944, where he was sent to Japan. Barton left the Navy in 1946 after the war was over, he worked in construction on dams on the Snake River in Oregon. After having 5 children and a back accident he decided go to art school and become a fashion and merchandise illustrator. He spent 20 years as the head of the art department and worked for all the large department stores.

In 1984, Barton began painting and sculpting.  He left illustrating “cold turkey” and the love of sculpting took over.  A self-taught sculptor enjoyed working with his hands and cast his first piece in 1985. Barton did his first figurative sculpture, titled “Solitude” which sold out within a year.  His first major gallery was The Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale and Jackson, WY.    Legacy Gallery felt his figurative work was so accurate because of the 20 years of drawing people for the advertising industry.  Once Barton decides on a subject, he sketches it, reworking the drawing until it suites him.  “Sometimes it goes together fast, sometimes it doesn’t”, he says.  Barton doesn’t work from photographs or models, preferring not to be influenced by anything but his own mind.  “I work to establish my composition and my piece using my own head. Then I refer to pictures for the finishing details.”

The last 20 years of his life was challenged in creating monumental-sized sculptures.  His most well-known piece titled, “Attitude Adjustment” was completed in 3 sizes.  The monument is on display in five public areas, Joseph, Oregon and Carson City, Nevada in the city center.  The Booth Museum in Cartersville, GA has the piece as you enter the museum.  Boobejaanland in Antwerp, Belgium is a Western Amusement Park and the 12 foot “Attitude Adjustment” is a major draw for attendees. Another monument of Barton’s is five life size horses located at the entrance to the community of Maricopa, Arizona.  Austin Barton spent the last years of his life between Battle Ground, Washington and Joseph, Oregon doing what he loved most sculpting and spending time with his wife Shirley and their family.  He passed away in 2017 in Washington.



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