Sculpture and Drawings by Tino Montoya
Art has been a part of me all my life. I would create murals and drawings for fun, for friends or just because I had free time. I see the world with an artist’s eye, always seeing the beauty in everything.
I take unusual photos. Getting people to pose in a Charlie’s Angels pose but just shoot their shadows in a river. Finding a tree with branches that looked like antlers and getting friends to “wear” the antlers. For over twenty years I have shot many photos with my feet in the foreground with fun and amazing locations in the background.
I started drawing skulls because my wife wanted a shirt and couldn’t find what she wanted in any store. I hand painted a skull with butterfly wings for her and was surprised by how many people commented on it. This was just for fun, why so much interest?
I decided to draw a portrait of a family member as a gift. He is a very talented guitarist. I drew him as a skeleton, playing the guitar. This wasn’t a generic drawing. I had to make it look like the person I knew and loved. Giving bones personality was fun and intriguing. I realized this was the path I was meant to follow.
While creating drawings was fun I felt the need to do more. I wanted to create something no one else ever done before. A few years ago I was on vacation visiting family. My wife’s aunt is a very successful artist and her home is like a gallery. I was very intrigued by a papier-mâché dog that was purchased in Mexico for Dia De Los Muertos (day of the dead). I liked it but thought, “I can do better.”
I went home and couldn’t get that dog off my mind. I decided to create my own, my way. Instead of a likeness of a dog I wanted mine to be real. They had to be active and have personality. The process of creating a skeleton dog that is alive was energizing. So many ideas flooded my mind.
Soon I had my first dog. I created it for me, to keep in my home never dreaming of taking it any further. Then the opportunity came to get a piece in Foot in the Door at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I worked like a mad man to get a dog created in only two weeks. I never thought my art would or could be displayed. Bonefido became my fist piece to make a public appearance.
I thought that was the end of the adventure but it was only the beginning. I created cats playing as my first commissioned work. The owners were shocked and impressed by how alive these skeleton cats looked.
I create my sculptures using mostly recycled materials; newspaper, hangers, flour and water. I am creating dogs and cats that are mere skeletons but are alive. They play, they fight, growl, have attitude. This is what I was meant to do. This is not work, it is life affirming and a gift I am happy to accept.
If you enjoy my work but would like a skeleton of your own pet, I would be happy to create a one of kind piece for you.