Although Colorado native Reven Swanson graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in journalism, her passion was for sculpting.
She worked in advertising and newspaper production for a while, then as an artist's apprentice in Italy. Now on her own, she has two pieces in Loveland -- one by the Visitor Center and another along West Fourth Street.
Her list of public art installations is impressive with sculptures in Broomfield, Pueblo, Frisco, Glenwood Springs, Castle Rock, Evergreen, Greeley, Grand Junction and Littleton. Out-of-state pieces include ones in Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico and Washington.
Swanson's style is markedly contemporary in what she describes as whimsical, playful and celebratory. Materials
"New Dancing Moon" is located on West Fourth Street and is constructed of steel with a fused glass centerpiece. It was created by Colorado native and sculptor Reven Swanson. (Kenneth Jessen)
vary from metal to glass to stone. Her objective is to engage the public. She feels that people are simply too busy with their lives and to her, sculptures are a way of reaching out into the modern world even if it is a passing glance. The designs that Swanson produces are one of a kind and are generally accepted as finished. She has, however, run across cases where a committee charged with the selection of public art might instruct her to make a minor modification.
She views sculpting much like creating something out of fabric such as a quilt or a dress. She might start out with flat sheets of metal but these are given three dimensions when bent and formed. Welding is much like a seamstress sewing fabric together.
Swanson rejects having a grand studio located in some warehouse and prefers to work at home. With limited room, her monument size pieces have to be made in smaller subassemblies, transported, then assembled on site. She refers to this as Mr. Potato Head construction. Much of her work is done in her garden with her five chickens keeping her company.
As a child, Swanson was always interested in art. In kindergarten, she recalls moving from easel to easel, painting houses -- one after another. A plaster of Paris dog sculpted in the seventh grade was next. She attempted creating a likeness of a Holly Hobbie rag doll out of Polyform, a material that stays flexible until baked in an oven. She found it frustrating and at one point, slammed it against a wall. In a strange turn of events, her teacher put it on display in the trophy case right by the entrance to the school to show off Swanson's talent.
As for her future, Swanson is quick to reply, "I am pretty darn lucky to work as a sculptor. I want to continually find a better way to have fun. I get to ski a lot, ride my bike and go horseback riding when I want." Her wish is to be remembered as "... having taking life by the throat and shaken it."