- Arts and Design
Lions, Fu Dogs and Bears (OH MY!)
Unique Animal Sculptures of Lions, Fu Dogs and Bears (OH MY!)
Animals make fascinating subjects for artists. Here you'll find unique sculptures of lions, fu dogs, bears, cats, wolves and other animals. I'll showcase my sculptures plus other artist's creations.
I'll also include interesting facts about the animals in the sculptures and links to animals organizations and artists websites so you can find as much art as you desire.
I create mostly in clay. I love the way it feels in my hands; how I can manipulate it; how I can add to a sculpture or take from it by simply pinching it. I enjoy carving in wood and have a stone piece that has been started but not completed.
Sculpture: Bast Artist: Frankie Kangas
Photo: 2006 Copyright Frankie Kangas
My Latest News
Frankie Kangas in new book of artists
I'm in the book, Artists of the Mendocino Coast, Vol. 2. It just got my copy and it's gorgeous. I'm so excited and humbled being among the incredible artists in this book!
I've been told that the Fort Bragg area has the largest number of artists per capita than any place in the United States. And it is an amazing place to live and do art.
Nanuk, Lord of the Ice on left podium
What Kind Of Animal Do You Want To See? - Tell Me What You Want
What Kind Of Animal Sculptures Would You Like To See?
How I Got Started As An Artist
I Started Late, But With A Fury
I was hooked on sculpture after seeing some art works by Michelangelo in a museum when I was seven. From then on I dreamed of someday working in clay and creating pieces like his. Why clay? I don't know. All I know is that all of my life, I've imagined myself working with clay.
But I spent the first half of my life building a business career in Silicon Valley (California). At age of 48, I retired from business, moved to the Fort Bragg (California), and began taking art classes at the College of the Redwoods. My initial training in sculpture gave me the opportunity to work with a variety of media: wood, stone, wire, wax, bronze, cement and clay. I found that working with clay was my true vocation, turning vision into reality.
Working with clay satisfies some deep tactile sense in me. I've found I do my best work when I can include both additive and subtractive modes, which isn't possible with many other media. I like being able to push and pull, pinch and twist -- to manipulate the clay into whatever shape I want at any time I want.
My sculptures incorporate a variety of finishing techniques -- raku, saggar, horsehair, stains and underglazes, plus both low-fire and high-fire glazes. Most of my work is stylized animal figures, including lions, bears and "fu dogs" (Chinese temple lions). I also create other abstract sculpture.
In addition to on-going art classes and almost obsessive research, I am studying under the tutelage of an accomplished local sculptor.
I donate 10% of all sculpture sales to the National Wildlife Federation to help save Polar Bears from extinction. I also donates 10% of all Internet sales to Big Cat Rescue to help big cats at their sanctuary in Florida.
Lions Sculpture Called "Nine Lives"
Here is one of my latest sculptures. I am fascinated by drawings and painting of pictures within pictures but have never seen it done in sculpture form, so I came up with this idea of a sculpture of a lion face, but made up a several lions. Below you can see the original drawing and the end result. It looks like it was carved from wood because instead of glazing it, I used stains, acrylics and waxes. For information on pricing, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nine Lives -- Can you find all 9 lions?
Ceramic - High Fire Glaze
This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques and an armature of newspaper. As the sculpture dried, the newspaper was removed, the piece was bisque fired, then a coating of glaze was sprayed on the sculpture and it was high fired.
Size: 12 1/2" High x 10 1/2" Wide x 12" Deep
Young King and NWF
I donated "Young King", the sculpture displayed above to the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) in 2008 dinner and auction event at Grant's Farm in St. Louis, MO.
NWF and Adolphus Busch are hosting the event to raise money to save and enhance wetland habitat that is home and haven to a myriad of wild creatures, including thousands of migrating waterfowl. Julie Scardina of Sea World/Busch Gardens fame will MC the event.
Lion, Mother and Cub
Ceramic - Horsehair Raku
This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques. The handcrafted piece was bisqued fired then during the raku firing, horsehair was burned onto the sculpture. As the hair is consumed by fire it twists and turns, producing a unique pattern. The sculpture was then scrubbed, waxed and buffed.
Size: 4" High x 6" Wide x 7 1/2" Deep
Ceramic Lion Sculpture
This one-of-a-kind sculpture was made using a slab of clay over an armature of newspaper. It was bisque fired, sprayed with a glaze, then high-fired at cone 10.
Size: 10" High x 9" Wide x 12" Deep
Sleeping Lion (Mask) by Frankie Kangas
Video Of Lion Sculptures - Some Of My Work
FU DOGS or FOO DOGS
Just What Is A Fu Dog or Imperial Lion
Interesting Facts About Them
I started sculpting Fu Dogs because they are Chinese Lions an I lOVE lions. From the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) until the end of the empire in 1911, Fu Dogs were powerful mythic protectors that have tradionally stood in front of Chinese imperial palaces, emperors tombs, government offices and homes of government officials and wealthy.
* Fu Dogs or Foo Dogs are also known as Imperial Lions, Temple Lions, Guardian Lions,Shi, or Ra shi da.
* They were traditionally carved from marble and granite or cast in bronze or iron.
* Traditionally presented as a pair with the male on the right and the female on the left.
* Having a pair of Fu Dogs in front of a home was a traditional symbol of a family's wealth or social status.
* Symbolically, the male fu dog guards the structure, while the female protects the inhabitants.
For more details about these mythical creatures click Imperial Gardian Lions
Fu Dog - Small
Ceramic - High Fire
This is the smallest version of my smiling fu dogs
(I create 4 sizes). This one-of-a-kind sculptures was individually hand-made using pinch pot and coil clay construction techniques. When they dried they were sanded then bisque fired. Finally, they were sprayed with a glaze and high fired.
Size: 4" High x 4 1/4" Wide x 6 1/2" Deep
Base: 1 1/4" High x 4 1/2" Wide x 5" Deep
Fu Dog - XLarge
Ceramic - High Fire Glaze
Honorable Mention, Animal Contest
Mendocino Art Center in Mendocino, CA
March of 2007
Traditionally, fu dogs are fierce animals to ward away evil or bad juju. I make mine smiling and jolly. I take the, "I'll change evil into love" approach. This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques and an armature of newspaper. As the sculpture dried, the newspaper was removed, the piece was bisque fired, then a coating of glaze was sprayed on the sculpture and it was high fired.
Size: 13" High x 11" Wide x 10" Deep
Base: 1 1/2" High x 10 1/2" Wide x 16 1/2" Deep
Topiary Fu Dogs In China
Asian Qilin / Kirin / Kylin Chimera carved from Qingtian black mountain stone
Genuine hand carved jade, playful fu dog / lion, fitted wood stand included
Genuine jade, hand carved fu dog with cub, fitted wood stand included
Beautiful Fu Dog Lamps On Amazon
Other Books On Chinese Sculpture
Polar Bear Sculpture Comes to LIFE
"Nanuk, Lord of the Ice"
This one-of-a kind ceramic sculpture breaks free and becomes live. See the next section for more pictures of this sculpture.
Anatomy Of A Polar Bear Scupture
Ceramic - High Fire Glaze
This one-of-a-kind sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques. The handcrafted piece was then bisque fired. Both under-glazes and high fire glazes were sprayed on the sculpture. Then it was high fired.
Size: 7" High x 13 1/2" Wide x 15 1/2" Long
Ceramic - Horsehair Raku
One-of-a-kind bear sculpture was individually hand-made using slab-built clay construction techniques. The handcrafted piece was burnished before being bisque fired. Using the special firing technique known as "raku", real horsehair was dropped onto the sculpture. As the fire consumes the hair, it twists and turns, producing an embedded one-of-a-kind pattern. After being scrubbed, the sculpture was waxed an buffed.
Size: 4 1/2" High x 4" Wide x 8" Long
This is my most favorite animal sculpture book -- EVER. It hasn't made it into my library yet. It sits next to my recliner where I can pick it up and thumb through it at will. And, believe me, I flip through it often.
The art ranges from artful realism to provocative surrealism (including animal-human hybrids) and from humorous to bazaar. And, it features every animal imaginable. In my humble opinion, it is a must for every artist's library.
For more information, click 500 Animals in Clay
Van Gogh sold 1 picture during his life and called himself a poor bungler who can't sell a picture.
Dick Blick is one of my favorite places to shop for everything to do with art. I've purchased everything from paper to portfolios and clay and glazes to sculpting tools.
To check them out, click on the banner on the left or Dick Blick Art Materials
Or, get a FREE 624-page Art Supply Catalog by clicking
Artists: Why Create Videos Of Your Work
I've found that taking pictures of my art and turning them into videos is an excellent way to get it seen by more people. They've helped me get visitors to my website and has even converted a few into sales.
You can also get an inexpensive morphing program and do what I did with my photo shown here. It is fun to watch and gets lots of attention. It makes people want to see more of your work -- if it's their style. Art is after art is personal -- everyone has different tastes.
I've included some of my videos in this lens. I have more at Sculpture Video Showcase.
Another Great Art Video
Another fabulous book from my library. The sculptures are creative, fun and inspiring. A "must have" book IMHO.
For more information, click 500 Figures in Clay
More Fine Art Books - Must Read books
What books do you have in your library that you think everyone should read? Add to this list your favorites and vote for them. Come back to see what books you're library is missing!
For Fun Pictures And Facts About Polar Bears
Check Out This LensIf you like this site, you should see my polar bear site. To go there right now, click Are You Polar Bear Aware?
Cibachrome print of a polar bear embryo by award winning international photographers, Daniel & Geo Fuchs. To see it and more of their fabulous work, click The Bulger Gallery.
By the way, how many embryos do you count?
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Lions, Fu Dogs and Bears
This work is covered by copyright and can not be reprinted
in any matter (physical or digital) without prior written consent.
Copyright 2008-2013 Frankie Kangas All rights reserved.
Please let me know what you like; what you don't like, and what you'd like to see more of. Thanks! Purrs and bear hugs, Frankie