In 1994 prominent artist John Waddell created a bronze bust of Paolo Soleri. Just recently, John Waddell visited long-time friend Paolo Soleri at Arcosanti to present his gift of eight sketches, drawn in preparation for the bronze sculpture.
John Waddell (b.1921) was raised in the Midwest and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and had his first solo show in Peoria, Illinois at age 21. He was in the military and the G.I. Bill financed the remainder of his formal education, which was two M.F.A.’s in Fine Arts and Art Education. He and his wife, Ruth, a close partner in his professional as well as his personal life, moved to Arizona in 1957. Here he headed the art education department at Arizona State University (then Arizona State College) for several years. During this time Waddell made sculpture his primary art form. The 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in which four young girls died, became a pivotal event in his development as an artist. The monument he created in response to that tragedy, “That Which Might Have Been”, Birmingham, 1963, resides in the garden he designed for it at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Lincoln Drive in Phoenix. His sculptures are exhibited in many places in Phoenix, including Civic Plaza and the Phoenix Art Museum. The Waddells have lived in the Verde Valley since 1970 and make frequent visits to Grand Canyon, where they sketch and paint.
The Soleri bust is 48.2 cm [19 inches] and is featured on page 96 of the book “John Henry Waddell, the art and the artist” by Michel F. Sarda, published by Bridgewood Press, Phoenix, AZ in 1996.
See our previous report about John Waddell on 10/27/06.