Update on Joe Rundell's latest Sculpture
Joe calls me from time to time for a catch up chat. He reached me this evening as I was finishing a flute that has to be in the mail tomorrow, heading to the Conservatory of Music in Cremona, Italy. I am a bit nervous sending a musical instrument to the home town of Stradavari. It is like sending coals to Newcastle?
So that was my news to share with Joe, but that is small potatoes compared with Joe's current project. He has over twenty possible commissions on his bench, and just finishing the bust of Alexander Jefferson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. Here is a paragraph from the newspaper:
VIENNA TOWNSHIP, MI -- Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson of the Tuskegee Airmen was flying his P-51 Mustang fighter low, just above the treetops, firing at a radar station in occupied Southern France in 1944 when a German shell came up through the floor of his plane and smoke poured in.
Jefferson ejected from the airplane and immediately pulled on the cord of his parachute, but there wasn't enough time for it to open properly. Had his parachute not gotten caught in a tree, he would've hit the ground hard and might not be alive today.
"It was awful close," said Jefferson, A Detroit native who now lives in Southfield.
But the 91-year-old veteran did survive the crash and prisoner of war camp, and on Tuesday, July 16, he came face to face with the sculpture of himself that will grace a memorial statue commemorating his time as a pilot. Multiple organizations have shown interest in the statue, and one of the locations it could possibly end up is the Clio Veterans Memorial Park.
The statue was commissioned by the Alexander Jefferson Tuskegee Airmen Endowment fund, which devotes funds to a college scholarship and other causes. Vienna Township resident Joe Rundell, a self taught sculptor, is making the statue.
Rundell, working from photos, has the clay bust of Jefferson done, which took him about three weeks, he said. The full statue will be of a young Jefferson in his pilot's uniform. Rundell noted that the face is the hardest part of a statue and that he's about a third of the way done with what he says has been his favorite statue.
Here is a link to the TV news-clip :
If you can believe it, Joe is also working on some gun engraving in his spare time, and looking forward to coming to FEGA, Las Vegas, next January.
Rock on Joe!
Last edited by rod; 07-29-2013 at 07:17 AM.
I also talk with Joe from time to time and am amazed at his output of work, both sculpture and engraving. When he began telling me that he was doing a sculpture of a Tuskegee airman and how the pilot was shot down, a light went on in my head. In 1995, the survivors of Luft Stalag #3's fiftieth reunion was held at the Netherland Plaza hotel where I worked as security director. I saw a gentleman, who I took to be a Tuskegee airman, in a leather flight jacket and approached him. We had a lengthy conversation about his service that I will always remember. As it turns out I was talking with LTC Alexander Jefferson who Joe is sculpting the statue of. I was very happy to learn that Jefferson is still with us, and active all these years later.
Though Joe is entirely self taught he is, in my opinion, one of the worlds top engraving artists. If you have seen his chapter in American Engravers -The 21st Century you will know what I mean. If he was working in Europe he would be working daily on guns like Purdey, H&H, Fabri, or Famars. Instead, because he is in the US, he does his work on old Winchesters or European guns that he has to buy with his own funds to have a canvas worthy of his work. I once jokingly told Joe that he should change his name to Giuseppe Rundelli and maybe he would get some respect in the world of fine guns. With all of the statuary commissions he presently has he will probably go down in history as a sculptor with a footnote that he engraved guns.
C. Roger Bleile
Author of American Engravers series of books.
NRA Benefactor Life Member
Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind. Johannes Brahms
Roger, you never disappoint,
That is a great post. What a small world!
You, like, Joe, never stop contributing to the common good, as many more do on the forums.
It is tempting to take a break eventually, and smell the roses, however, making a contribution, big or small, appears to be what sustains us. Even serving a cup of refreshment has the potential for a Japanese Tea Ceremony, if done in good heart?
There's no doubt about it. Joe's engraving is world class along with his stock carving..........and so is his statue/sculpting work by the looks of it.