Biography of Pete McCaskill
An artist brings a concept hidden inside the medium to a finite, real existence; a craftsman carefully refines his painstaking and detailed work. The hands of Pete McCaskill do both, his innate sense of beauty and meticulous workmanship giving graceful, spirited life to the sculptures he creates.
McCaskill creates three-dimensional sculptures through the use of natural materials, focusing primarily on wood, stone and copper. His works are arresting and visually gratifying, evoking a sense of unity between the artist’s concept and the elements he uses.
"It is the nature of the wood or metal that directs me to its eventual finish as a piece of art," says McCaskill. "For example, I recently completed a work made from a beautiful piece of mesquite. When I first saw the wood, it had a sense of life I could not initially define. The sculpture started out as a shepherd holding a lamb. As I continued working, three human figures emerged from their captivity in the wood. It was a moving process for me as an artist.
"At first, I could not sense who I wanted this family to be. In the end, I left them deliberately open to the viewer’s interpretation. Some see the Holy Father, Mother and Child; others see pioneers, or the start of an adventure; still others see their own family," McCaskill continues. "Again, the wood defined itself. If I listen to the many voices of the wood, stone or metal - by voices, I mean their varied and unique characteristics - I can find the beautiful expression contained within. It’s a humbling creative experience that amazes me again and again."
A native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Pete’s interest in art traces its roots to his youth. However, he began his professional career as a draftsman, and in 1986 moved to Texas to work with an architectural casting firm. Eventually serving as its general manager, McCaskill worked with architects, sculptors and craftsmen from all over the world on many ornate and beautiful buildings.
But bringing other people’s ideas to fruition left McCaskill restless. He joined a class taught by mentor and renowned sculptor Charlie Boren, with no idea it would dramatically change his life. At age 43, he left the corporate world to pursue his creative calling as a full-time sculptor, working in his own shop in Alvarado, Texas.
McCaskill’s work can be seen at the Russell Farm Art Center in Burleson, Texas and at various juried shows throughout the country.
"I feel God has given me certain talents, and am grateful everyday that he allows me to pursue my passion," McCaskill concludes. "Walking through a Texas field, some people will see an old piece of wood not even fit to burn. But I see something beautiful hidden under that weathered and beaten surface. The wood was alive before; by God’s grace, I have the opportunity and vision to bring it to life again."