A master's touch: Destin sculptor uses centuries-old process to create art (PHOTOS)

john maher

John Maher builds bronze sculptures like these, beginning in his home studio and ending at a foundry in Pensacola. His work, which also includes paintings and cast marble sculptures, will be on display at the Mattie Kelly Festival of the Arts.

Jacob Fuller
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 04:16 PM.

If you've been inside an Alvin's Island store or one of many hospitals along Florida's Gulf Coast, you've likely seen one of John Maher's murals of sea life.

At this weekend's Mattie Kelly Festival of the Arts, you'll get a chance to see the products of Maher's true artistic love: sculpting.

A full-time Destin artist, Maher makes most of his living painting murals in and on building throughout Florida. Those murals help fund the expensive and time-consuming work that goes into his bronze and cast marble sculptures.

"It's a real labor-intensive process, I tell ya," Maher told The Log. "When I got into it, I didn't really realize the process took so long, and so much labor."

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He said he first wanted to become a sculptor after visiting California, just after graduating from high school in 1984. There, he saw the works of famed sculptor Richard McDonald.

"I was just amazed. He is modern-day master," Maher said. "I thought, 'some day I'm going to do it.' When I found some time and had the money to start, I pursued it."

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