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Carving out his niche

Artist Kevin Powell has a wall full of awards for his sculpture.

Sun Advocate associate editor

Somewhere in the mountains, some moose is shedding his antlers. Someone, either Kevin Powell or somebody who knows him, will find them later.

The raw material for one of Powell's next sculptures will be on hand.

Maybe that next set of carved antlers will win some awards, like the ones he just brought back from the Utah State Fair - Best of Show and the Grand Prize in Creative Arts.

Those big purple ribbons have joined the other awards adorning the wall of his home office south of Price, tributes to an artist who meticulous patience stems from one simple realization: "You cannot make a mistake."

> "With work like this, when you cut something away, you can't put it back," he explains.

Powell has worked with bronze, clay and paint, and says that in those media it is possible to add something if you need it.

That's not so with carving wood, marble or antlers. "It's entirely subtractive. Michelangelo had to take a block of marble and take away everything that wasn't part of the sculpture," he notes.

So Powell carefully maps out his creations long before he takes out his hammer and chisel, or knife, or dental tools. It takes a month or more to sculpt a major work.

He has learned how to use his tools and imagination after long years of practice. He began when he was just 12 years old, and by 1987 was successful enough to turn into a full-time professional.

Powell's work is almost entirely dedicated to scenery and wildlife. As an avid outdoorsman and hunter, he has studied the animals and the environment that dominate his art.

He has also supported the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation by putting some of his work up for auction at conventions, and has managed to donated more than $30,000 to the organization over the years.

Powell's art sells nationwide to wildlife fanciers. His awards also come from across the nation, winning praise from such organizations as the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.

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