Ernest Caballero, Nevada City |

Ernest Caballero, Nevada City

What is your career and your current job title? Sculptor.

Describe in a sentence or two your art. I work in clay, make a mold of the finished sculpture, and then have it cast in bronze at an art foundry. My work is figurative with mythical content.

How long have you been working in this discipline? Thirty years

Why do you do it? I have always enjoyed making things, working with my hands. It just seems to come naturally to me. You could say it’s my calling.

What do you hope to accomplish? Besides just enjoying the process of sculpting, I hope to make work that has a positive effect on the viewer and that brings an awareness of the Inner Life and the Soul’s Journey.

Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive and if yes, what is that message? My intent is to create work that carries a sense of stillness and presence (like a dream image) that can act as a reminder of our connection to nature and to our inner nature.

Where do you want to be with your art, in terms of part time versus full-time status, art positions and where your works are seen? I am a full-time sculptor. I’d like to see my work exposed to a larger audience. Currently, my work shows in three California galleries – the Borsini-Burr Gallery in Half Moon Bay, James Harold Fine Art Gallery in Tahoe City, and the Mowen Solinsky Gallery in Nevada City. The Mowen Solinsky Gallery showed at the SOFA Chicago Show, Nov. 9-12. This show was a great opportunity to be seen by collectors and galleries from around the world.

What kind of special training did you take? I am self-taught. I have also spent a lot of time looking at and studying art of all kinds. Other professional artists have been a great help to me, as well.

What’s your favorite part of your endeavors? I love to see an image magically appear from the chaos of lumps of clay. I also love the tactile feel of the clay.

What’s your least favorite part of your endeavors? I find moving my artwork out into the world (“marketing”) to be the most challenging part of being an artist. For a lot of artists it is difficult to balance the intense inner focus it takes to conjure up images for art making with the outward focus required to promote one’s art. This is certainly true for me.

How many hours a day, or more appropriate, a week, do you spend on your work? Depending on the size of a sculpture, a piece can take several months to complete. Along with sculpting the clay original, there’s mold-making, waxwork, trips to the foundry, research and marketing. It’s a full-time job for me.

Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it? There are definitely hard parts to what I do, but the enjoyment that I receive from doing it more than compensates. I believe that all people have the capacity for creativity, but some are called to do it as a profession.

Any other comments you’d like to include? I’ve been fortunate as an artist to have received a lot of encouragement from family and friends. I’ve also benefited greatly from having a wife and a son who are both professional artists.


“The Artist” appears each week. To suggest a creative talent who should be profiled in this feature, contact Pam Jung at or 477-4232.

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