The Texas legislature named Abilene the Storybook Capitol of Texas in 2015 because of these pieces and their connection to the annual Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (CALF).
For Broderick, casting the sculptures is a way to connect to the community while showing students in ACU’s Department of Art and Design the business of art.
“I don’t have an aspiration to become a famous artist. I have an aspiration to stay healthy and keep creating art. I want to keep letting my work evolve and see where it ends up.” - Geoff Broderick
“I have this triangle where I do teaching, outside work and my own work and they all feed each other,” Broderick said.
Broderick started bringing storybook characters to life when he was commissioned by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). Steve Neves, professor of art at Hardin-Simmons University, sculpts the pieces while Broderick casts the pieces in bronze. Together, they created Sanderson Mansnoozie (the Sandman), Toothiana (the Tooth Fairy), David and Fergus, and more for the Storybook Sculpture project in downtown Abilene’s Everman Park.
Broderick faced his biggest challenge in the “Duck on a Bike” statue created in 2015 because he had never before heard of anyone casting a bike in metal. He used a real bike to create a mold, then he cast each part of the bike and welded them together.
“It’s hard work, but when you’re done it’s exhilarating,” Broderick said.
He also created a sculpture to illustrate the popular Little Golden Books’ The Three Little Pigs.
A collaborative effort
Broderick said the sculptures have been a collaborative effort. He teamed with a former student, Rebecca (Barker ’04) Bishop, who painted the sculptures using special chemical processes. Bishop had done the same for Jacob’s Dream in her role as head patineur at Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop, Texas.
Another of Broderick’s former students, Kaitlyn Brown (’16), said Broderick is wise and intelligent, teaching his students even outside the classroom setting. She also said he is humble and makes jokes about himself.
“I don’t have an aspiration to become a famous artist,” Broderick said. “I have an aspiration to stay healthy and keep creating art. I want to keep letting my work evolve and see where it ends up.”
A member of the Texas Atomic Iron Commission, Broderick continues to learn from other metal sculptors. The group traveled to Japan in 2015 for the US-Japan Art Exhibition at the Tokyo Museum of Art.
Learn more about the Department of Art and Design.