About the Artist
James Donald Gabbert
born: 1952, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Current residence: Eden Prairie, Minnesota
I am a sculptor. I was born to be a sculptor.
I’ve always had an artistic bent. My mother said I was always building something out of Tinker Toys or cardboard and scotch tape. Throughout school art classes were easy “A”s for me. However, it was not until college that I realized I had a gift. Early in my junior year one of my professors was frustrated by my lack of progress during a series of life – model drawing sessions. He handed me a chunk of sculpting wax and said “here, try this”. In an amazingly short time I had rendered the female model in near perfect proportion. It was as easy for me as drawing was hard. On reflection I realized my problem with drawing was my mind refused to view things in two dimensions. I could not draw in two dimensions what I saw in three dimensions. On the other hand, given the opportunity to do in three dimensions what I saw in three dimensions was incredibly easy. I have been a sculptor ever since.
I abandoned my artwork by 1981 when I took over the responsibilities for the family business and got married. I simply could not find the time to continue my art work. However, that did not mean I let my skills atrophy. Fortunately, I was in a business (home furnishings retail) that required a great deal of creativity and artistic expression. I was not sculpting with clay or wax but I was sculpting with store design and organizational structures. I found other means to keep my creative juices flowing. It provided me the opportunity to travel and, when ever possible, to expose myself to museums and significant works of art throughout this country and other parts of the world. Watching a movie or boxing or gymnastics on the TV, or, a live performance of anything I’m always studying the human figure and the human figure in motion.
In 2008 my family business and other businesses were sold and my youngest of four children went off to college. It is with these lifestyle changes that I once again saw the opportunity to return to my sculpture. This website will be continually updated with my exploration of this medium.