Sculptor makes creating works of art look as easy as A-B-C

Architect, planner, painter and sculptor all describe emerging San Diego artist Scott Thornycroft.

Thornycroft is making a name for himself with three-dimensional letter sculptures that tell unique stories through layers of eye-catching painted detail. Thornycroft’s use of 3D storytelling was inspired by his education and experience as an architect.

“My architecture background helped me visualize how 3D paintings can be,” he said.

Now, Thornycroft’s sculpture-based approach to his 3D work is garnering artistic attention and, as a result, the potential for commercial success. Thornycroft revels in the opportunity to show his artistry to a wider public audience, which differs from the limited audience for his first piece - his wife.

“We were busy building a house in San Diego when our first anniversary was approaching. I sort of forgot and then decided to simply create something in a short time frame,” Thornycroft said.

Creating that first sculpture - the “No. 1,” in honor of the couple’s first anniversary - set him on his current path.?"That gift sealed my fate for the last 15 years. I’ve had to create a new number for every anniversary since,” he said.

Thornycroft’s intriguing anniversary gifts piqued the interest of other art enthusiasts, who began to request similar pieces. When a friend gifted Thornycroft with metal letters from old signage, he realized the potential for expanding from numbers to letters.

“For me, that first ‘R’ evoked something. I saw within it the appearance of an object that directed the art,” Thornycroft said. “It’s probably sort of how a whittler sees a stick.”

While Thornycroft’s first-anniversary-inspired metal sculpture came together quickly, in about three hours, today, each unique 3D sculpture now takes about three weeks, from start to finish, to complete. Some letters are sculpted by Thornycroft himself, while others are re-purposed from recycled aluminum signage.

When recycling, Thornycroft looks for unique or fun fonts and interesting letters that speak to him. What is the message he listens for? He said it’s the beauty he finds somewhere between the strong shapes and the soft curves of each letter. Those curves inspire the story Thonycroft expresses with layers of paint and artistic detail.

A piece that illustrates such story-telling is Thornycroft’s “Divide,” which was selected for display April 19 through June 14 at the National Weather Center’s Biennale Art Show 2015 in Norman, Oklahoma. Thornycroft said he reimagined the letter “S” as “Divide”; he saw a snake in relation to the Continental Divide. He transformed the piece by translating the story of the Continental Divide and accompanying watersheds with unique paint layers and some of his handcrafted stencils.

“Divide” is only the latest piece to receive recognition. Thornycroft’s “Power” -- a piece that evokes the story of electricity pioneer Tesla - was named “Best in Show” at the San Diego Art Institute’s 2014 Juried Exhibition and was included in the Athenaeum Music & Art Library’s Annual Exhibition 2014.

Thornycroft accepts custom orders and has worked on unique projects, such as repurposing a fire hydrant as a memorial for a beloved pet.

For more information on Thornycroft’s existing pieces and their successes, or to learn more about working with him to develop a custom work of art, visit

Source: DiscoverSD