GALENA, Mo- As a local artist, Brian Rance has discovered a new location to display what he calls his legacy in Stone County.
Brian started his life just north of London. He says his early years were impoverished and dysfunctional. Brian says one act of kindness helped kick off a lifelong journey as an artist.
“I was in the history class, and for some reason or another, I didn’t really have any spiritual belief, but I drew a head of Christ. At the end of the class, the history teacher just came up and took it. The next day he said the headmaster wants to see you. Went to see him, I thought I was in trouble, and he said, ‘will you make a bigger one of this in color and we’ll frame it and hang it in the school?’ I was fourteen at the time,” says Brian.
Brian says the headmaster paid for his examination to get into college. Brian says in England at that time there was a class system, and your class determined if you went to college or not.
“The institution is free, but you have to pay for an examination to qualify,” says Brian. And that’s what his headmaster did. Brian then started college at the age of fifteen.
From there, Brian lived life the polar opposite of how he grew up. He came to America and created artwork for significant businesses in New York to all across the United States. He then traveled all over South America to experience the culture and create art along the way.
He did all of this in his early twenties. His wanderlust ended, though, when he met a piano player in Chicago. Brian says because of her love for wanting a Japanese Akita, they ended up in the Ozarks.
“This is a very unlikely story, but it’s true. My wife was on Michigan Avenue, and she saw a Japanese girl who had a black one and a white one, and then she instantly wanted a black one and a white one too. And the nearest breeder from Chicago was at Reeds Spring, Missouri. When the dog was weened we cam down to get the dog and then we found it’s so beautiful here that we bought five acres in Kimberling City and I built a house, and we lived there for eleven years. That’s how I got here, through a dog,” says Brian.
Brian has since been in Galena for 20 years now, making sculptures and painting for a variety of clients from acts in Branson to clients across the world.
His latest creation, he hopes, will sit atop a building just on the other side of the square in Galena on the Stone County Judicial Center.
“They built a new courthouse, I’ve lived here for 20 years. I care about architecture, I care about sculpture and art, and I thought that a bronze in this town would bring the town culture and dignity and possibly even make people aware that justice does exist,” Brian says.
He made a drawing and took it to the county commissioner’s office, and the architect both said it would be a great addition to the building. The only problem? Brian has to foot the bill of hiring a company to bronze the statue and a different company to place it on the courthouse.
The statue is of a woman blindfolded to symbolize being impartial to whoever is being tried, wielding a sword to symbolize what happens if you’re guilty, and the scale is to balance the pros and cons to make a decision.
“I need about $70,000 or $80,000, and that would include a foundry to pay me something for five months’ work, and then I got to transport this to the foundry, which would probably be in another state. Transport it back again and then pay for the pedestal, and then install this. I don’t think it’s that much money; it’s as much as a nice car would cost,” he says.
Brian says this is important to him as a resident and significant contributor to the Galena economy.
“It will be my legacy, so much like my last hurrah, and I wanted it to be som4thing that is very beautiful and very powerful. The bronze will be hundreds of years, it will still be here,” says Brian.
Brian says he does not want visitors to show up to his shop due to the fumes and the materials he uses for his sculptures. He recommends contacting him if you’re interested in visiting. He does have artwork from paintings to small statues for sale, ranging in prices from $25 to $6,000. FOr more information on Brian Rance, click here.