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I nterviewing Barvo Walker is akin to traveling around the world with the engaging sculptor, observing him create his art in places as far-flung as China, Egypt, Germany, Canada, and Mexico — not to mention nearly every state in America. He speaks so eloquently of his myriad commissions that they spring to life in one's mind, be it the two-year project in China composed of 60 pieces artfully situated amidst the natural splendor of a wealthy businessman's estate; animals and humans whose vibrancy belies their bronze forms; or "Vision of the Arts," a $300,000, 18-foot masterpiece that celebrates dance, music, theater, and the visual arts and stands at the entrance of the Granville Arts Center in Garland. "I'd lie on the floor — I was probably three or four — and sculpt animals and other objects out of big bars of Ivory soap," Barvo answers when I ask him to recall his artistic beginning. "I also drew all the time, all kinds of things." (In case you're wondering what happened to those soap sculptures, not one of them exists today. "My grandmother used the bars of Ivory when I was done with them," Barvo says.) Life for the 88-year-old sculptor began in New Orleans. When he was still an infant, he moved with his grandmother, who raised him, to Fort Worth. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and dental school at Baylor University, followed by postgraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. "I started my professional life at 27 as a dentist, and for the next 20 years, I was known as Dr. Walker," Barvo says. "But the whole time, I was drawing and painting; I never stopped that." The dental world's loss was the art world's gain when, in 1980, the elegant Barvo devoted himself to his passion on a fulltime basis. A partial study of his portfolio uncovers children at play, beguiling women in repose, cowboys atop majestic horses, and soldiers in battle. When examining them up close, one wants to call out to them, so lifelike are they. A reclining woman's face wears a world-weary yet confident and satisfied expression. If she replied to my greeting, I would not feel surprise. Barvo, it seems, can sculpt anything, and he does just that in his 5,000-square-foot studio in Oak Cliff. He's the artist behind the monument that honors the five police officers killed in Dallas on July 7, 2017, and his skill and grace are seen atop the Texas State Capitol in the form of "Goddess of Liberty." Countless grandparents have asked him to immortalize their grandchildren in bronze, and, for one of his recent commissions, he brought 30 ducks to winged life on a hunting preserve in East Texas. If you want a glimpse of realistic and dutiful maternal love, take a look at Barvo's 1987 work, "Our Loving Mother," installed at St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana, Arkansas. All artists are touched, I believe, with an ineffable vision — a drive and passion the source of which can seem impossible to delineate. I imagine that some of the mystery and human longing that float above and beneath the city of New Orleans were instilled in the infant that became Barvo the artist, because I cannot otherwise explain the pathos I see in his works. W ith no hesitation, he answered, "Bernini." "He was the finest sculptor who ever lived." I had asked Barvo who had inspired him the most, and his reply made perfect sense to me — a man driven by his work, an artist able to capture the exultance and agony of a human being in intimate and monumental form. Barvo does that as well. 214.505.9887 BARVO, THE MAN AND THE SCULPTOR PAPERCITY PROMOTION 66

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