Whimsy, charm, and character – interview with artist Norton Latourelle
Art takes many forms, from the two dimensional to 3D, and let me introduce you to Norton Latourelle, what an artist! His whimsical large dogs are eye catching and retain the dog's precious soul. Born a few years after the second world war, Norton grew up in New York and Vermont and began wood carving in 1975.
I asked Norton what his favourite breed of dog was to capture, "Any, really, but my favourites are the Bloodhound, the Airedale and probably the Beagle. I’m doing a lot of Yellow Labs right now so I'm enjoying that.
"I have enjoyed making dog carvings for about 35 years now. I developed this style, which makes it fun for me, and I have ended up producing them in large numbers. Most are signed dated and numbered. The most popular over time has probably been Labradors and I have done hundreds of them."
It is so easy to lose sight of an artist's works as time moves along, so I asked if there was some form of catalogue of Norton's dog pieces, "Nortonsgallery.com is a wonderful way to look at our gallery and much of what is available. We have a lot of dogs pictured, as well as birds, plants and animals." It is a nice, clear website, and hopefully you are now tempted to ask about acquiring your own Norton piece, "People can call us (802-948-2552), email us through our website, or visit our gallery when they come to Vermont.
"Prices range from US$20 to a few thousand. Dog sculptures range in price from puppy size (12") of selected breeds for $250 to more life size versions of 25” to 30” for $750-$850. However, I also do many larger size versions that are priced higher, according to their size."
Commissions are not every artists' idea of fun, but Norton will accept these, "I am still doing some commission work. I have done many people's individual pets. We charge a 15% added fee for custom."
Norton never reproduces his work, each piece is absolutely individual ... one of a kind ... original, unique!
I needed to find out a little more about Norton and asked him to share his favourite dog book with us, "I really enjoyed a book called "The Art Of Racing In The Rain" (by Garth Stein). It’s a story told by a dog about his friend and owner.", and you know where I am coming from, I also asked if he collected anything, "Less as I grow older." (there is hope for your editor!) "The number 5, things with the Norton name on them and toy trucks, just to name a few."
With his experience of the world I wound up the interview asking Norton if he had any comments on dog owning or dogs in modern society, "In the last few years I have being doing some writing and I recently finished a short story/essay on the word Anthropomorphize, which is defined as attaching human qualities to animals. I love all animals and feel they have much to communicate to us. Dogs can be among the easiest to get to know. I end up loving my pets like sons and daughters." which hardly surprises me for one! I do hope you enjoy Norton's art, and perhaps can find a space in your home for a piece, or more, dogs (and other animals) like company!