Sculptor John Lopez is a product of a place. His people’s ranches are scattered along the Grand River in northwestern South Dakota—not far from where Sitting Bull was born and died on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Not far from where thousands of buffalo were killed during the westward expansion of settlers and gold miners. In the boneyards of Tyrannosaurus rex and grizzly bears. Since farmers and ranchers populated this chunk of reservation land, real cowboys have been roping and branding and sheering and haying and harvesting.
John’s own forte lies in gentling colts and perfecting their bloodlines—and he started his celebration of them by sculpting in clay. Capturing every nuance, every muscle, in this land where the business is still conducted over a cup of coffee and “neighboring” is a way of life. Somehow that way of life—where times seems to have stood still—has seen the transition from horsepower to vehicles. The rusted carcasses of discarded equipment stand testament to generations of labor. And the man who knows bloodlines have picked through them, choosing the elements of the past—the actual implements that plowed the soil or cut the grain or dug the dinosaur—and created the curve of a jaw, the twitch of a tail, the power of a shoulder. Join John on a tour of kitchens and scrap piles, barns, and grain elevators, cemeteries, and workshops—hosted by the people of the prairie. Meet Uncle Geno and brother-in-law Stuart, and scrap collectors from near and far. Listen carefully. There’s a story in the wind.