Central Florida equine artist Mindy Z. Colton merges her love of horses and sculpture into an artistic blend of expression.
When Mindy Z. Colton watches horses roam near her horse farm in Orlando, she doesn’t just see animals— she sees living artwork bursting through life. “I always thought horses were beautiful and had great spirits. They are so expressive and are one of the most amazing creatures on earth,” she explains.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]
Since the age of five, the artist has had a love of horses, whether riding them recreationally or competitively, or through her horse-inspired sculptures. Central Floridians may recognize her sculptures as they have appeared in statewide exhibits and galleries, such as Tresor Gallery in Winter Park, Disney’s Epcot gardens, and the Polk Museum of Art Outdoor Sculpture national exhibit and competition.
Generating the most art buzz for this New York-bred artist is her piece titled Renewal; a towering sculpture made of marine grade aluminum (finished with a copper color), and is positioned in Winter Haven’s Central Park at the Chamber of Commerce. “Some people have said that Renewal looks as though it is emerging upwards and gives them hope,” Colton shares.
A friend’s suggestion to create a larger scale of the sculpture’s smaller original, along with a United Arts of Florida grant, led to Renewal’s popularity and acclaim. The smaller original piece is comprised of recycled misspelled cemetery plaques. The material gave Colton inspiration for the name of her creation. “We melted the plaques down [to make liquid bronze], so I felt I was renewing those pieces from cemeteries, to be reused again in another form,” she recalls.
Art was always at the forefront of Colton’s mind, along with horses, and she excelled artistically in school, graduating with a fine art degree from Washington University School of Fine Art in St. Louis. She later pursued a Master’s degree and graduated with honors from the University of Central Florida.
Colton continued to find success in art as a graphic designer and photographer for 30 years, while painting, drawing, and illustrating. Feeling the urge to physically create with her hands, she took up sculpting again in the late ’90s and soon noticed many clamoring for her sculptures. “I quit the graphic design world and knew that fine art was where I belonged,” Colton says. “I thought by now that I would be tired of doing artwork, primarily of horses, but I’m not running out of ideas.”
Maybe that endless stream of ideas comes from her ongoing interest in trying any type of material, from glass to ceramics to wood. “There has got to be a fun factor involved with art. It is fun, but it is also called artWORK,” she elaborates.
Being horse-inspired has also not lessened, as she has created a plethora of horse sculptures that have won awards and gained several enthusiastic fans. One fan includes her former alma mater and employer, the University of Central Florida, who purchased her Pegasus-inspired Wind Dancer sculpture that now resides on their Orlando campus.
During this year’s Florida 500th anniversary celebration, Colton also honored Florida with a created sculpture of the Florida Cracker horse, decorated with old photocopied Florida postcards in a collage format. “People need to take away from art what is important to them,” she concludes. “I want to challenge people a little bit, but not a lot, as art should be beautiful.”
story by BLAIR TOWNLEY