Nathan Scott has been commissioned by the District of Sparwood to craft a life-size miner sculpture made from bronze to commemorate workers who have lost their lives in the mining industry in the areas that surround Sparwood. While he has begun the preliminary stages, the statue is set to be complete in 2017.
The west-coaster has worked in the mining industry for many years.
“I am from Victoria, well Saanich, but I am about a minute away from the Butchart Gardens Peninsula. I grew up here but spent 10 years in the Yukon as a gold miner, then the Alaska Highway working in the heavy equipment industry. I drove the big trucks, ran the excavators and loaders so Sparwood is my kind of town,” said Scott, who recently visited the area. “I may have gone through as a kid, for some reason that big truck is stuck in my mind somewhere. It’s still as big as I remember though.”
Scott left the mining industry and has been sculpting for almost two decades. Without any formal training he quickly found that sculpting was a “happy mistake”.
“I came back from the Yukon and I had a friend of mine doing murals. I was doing commercial and residential murals for him but I am colour blind. It just was not my gig, it is two-dimensional, we did pick up a job doing a three dimensional mascot,” said Scott. “It was obvious, I have a gift for it. It came out so well. I did a little four-and-a-half foot gardener and the first show I put it in I sold nine of them. From there, six months later I had my first public commission. Since then I think I have about 30 public commissions all over North America. It is a gift, I did not even know I could do it.”
Scott learns the key traits of each installation he works on and their relevance to the surrounding community.
“It all starts with a phone call, and there is always a bunch of questions that go either way then I come up with the concept. The council in Sparwood has decided a pose and what they see as important,” said Scott. “The miners lamp, lunchbox, helmet with light and battery pack. These things are very important to the coal mining industry. They did want to have more of a nostalgic look to it. The picture I will be working from is from the 1960s this will be commemorating the mining disaster that happened around that time.”
Scott will be creating a realistic, properly proportioned sculpture and he is already planning how to best achieve reference photos.
“Since I know the clothing they had, I will find a person with the same body type I am looking for and dress him up and take photos. I sculpt realistic, so I will go around the model and take a bunch of photos and measurements and then I will get onto the sculpting,” said Scott.
Scott has a portfolio of highly regarded work. He is most known for the Terry Fox sculpture on Mile Zero of the TransCanada Highway, which starts at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria.
“Being able to sculpt a Canadian hero was incredible. Another great one was the homecoming sculpture I did for the inner harbour of Victoria. That was for the Navy’s 100 anniversary. Working with all the people there was a great experience, and it was a one year project alone,” said Scott. “The world comes to Victoria, so it’s been well photographed.”