By Shya Beth
Surrounded by horses all her life, sculptor Mindy Colton has followed her passion that has led her to explore the depths of the equestrian world. From showing in various disciplines to creating one-of-a-kind sculptures, Mindy’s love of the horse and creativity has entranced horse lovers around the world.
Now living in Orlando, Florida, Mindy’s start in the equine and art worlds began when she was growing up in New York City and first riding at the Claremont Riding Academy in Manhattan, the last riding school in the city. She continued to ride and show well into her teen and young adult years on the East Coast.
“From hunters to equitation, junior jumpers and amateur-owner classes, riding has been a central part of my life,” Mindy said. “Horses are my joy and passion in life.”
Mindy attended Parson’s School of Design in New York, and then continued to ride in the Midwest after transferring to Washington University School of Fine Art in St. Louis, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Although Mindy had a flourishing graphic design and illustration career after college while maintaining her own fine art on the side, life as a full-time artist was calling. Spending 10 years living in Lexington, Kentucky, Mindy expanded her equine skill set and she started competing in dressage and three-day eventing, spending time in the local equine scene. “It was an exciting time to be in Lexington,” Mindy said. “Competing at the Kentucky Horse Park and riding there was a joy and some of my best moments.”
In 1985, Mindy moved to Florida with her husband and received her Master of Arts with Honors while working as an art director at the University of Central Florida. Mindy chose to focus on dressage and training her own horse through Third Level. “I’m really proud of my rescued American Warmblood, Maximillion. He was a horse of a lifetime for sure.”
Winning dozens of USEF/INSILCO Awards, USDF All-Breed Awards and achieving her USDF “L” with Distinction only continued to give Mindy exposure in the horse world and in turn push her drive for her equine art forward. Mindy has explored all kinds of art mediums, from painting to sculpture. Sculpture captured her heart, and her passion in her portrayal of horses can be seen in her fantastical, whimsical, one-of-a-kind style of sculpture.
Starting her sculpture journey with classical bronze, Mindy expanded her talents to modernistic fine art sculpture. “The limitations of the bronze sculptural process and size led me to begin an exploration of other mediums,” Mindy said. “I have created monumental sculptures in aluminum and copper, as well as much smaller sculptures made out of recycled materials, clays and natural elements.”
Mindy incorporates many natural materials to create her unique sculptural mixed-media horses. Her larger equine works have tree limbs that she finds on forest walks and brings back to her studio, carving off the bark and shaping each part. “I use various fiber clays, metal rods, copper and aluminum wires, dried grape vines, shells, oriental papers, old maps, vintage postcards, paint and many other materials in my mixed media works,” Mindy said.
Mindy’s work has caught the eyes of many discerning art collectors and equine enthusiasts alike. Her work is in museums, galleries and public and private collections across the United States, Canada, England, Russia and Europe. It’s been exhibited in numerous solo and two-person shows and more than 200 juried and group shows, winning countless awards.
When Mindy is asked about her inspiration and what she hopes to convey to the viewer of her sculptures, her passion is evident. “I strive for my works to intrigue the viewer, invite a closer look and exhibit strength, determination and vulnerability. With my unique mixed-media sculptures, I can indulge my artistic passion to work in three dimensions, and create larger sculptures to evoke these emotions.”
Mindy is six-time Regional and State of Florida Arts Grantee, using two of these grants to create large-scale outdoor sculptures. “Renewal,” a monumental sculpture exhibited at Epcot International Flower & Garden Invitational Sculpture Exhibit, was purchased by the City of Casselberry, Florida. Another monumental sculpture, “Wind Dancer,” a life-size Pegasus also exhibited at Epcot, was purchased by the University of Central Florida Honors College.
Mindy said her proudest moments and artistic achievements are when clients and collectors see her work for the first time. “I use the horse and other images to elicit a feeling or mood, or to create a story. Seeing people’s expressions and hearing them talk about what the sculpture means or represents to them is a wonderful experience.”
For more information, visit www.mindycolton.com
Art Of The Horse is the world’s first equine art platform, established in 2014 by Shya Beth. With weekly articles featuring up-and-coming as well as world-renowned artists, exhibitions and art news, Art Of The Horse is the premier source for all things equine art. Visit artofthehorse.net