About Down Dog Art
Down Dog Art was created by Michael Patrick Garman.
Mike Garman was born and somewhat raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It would seem that the whole business of being raised takes a lifetime and most of it most honestly done by yourself when you are ready.
His childhood was filled with what the average ho hum American would call strange or peculiar. Without a doubt it was adventurous, and also for a small boy bewildering . It set him up to be able to guide and lead people into wonderful things later on in life. His Mother, a producer of sculptures and a smart business woman, his father, a sculptor and an eccentric of sorts. When with his father he stayed in a 40,000 sq. ft building where the top floor was living quarters and the rest of building was dedicated in one way or another to the production of sculptures. Mike woke to the sight of sculptures and saw the production of them all day. The living quarters were littered with clay and molds, paints, art and anatomy books stacked in piles to the ceiling in some places.
His made his first “real sculpture”, as he likes to refer to it, when he was eight years old. It was a bust of a man. He cannot remember when he first started to practice sculpting as his homes were filled with clay and wax, always on hand and easy to grab and sit down with at any time. The most important piece of equipment created when sculpting is the tool. It is not until the made his first tool that that a “real sculpture” was produced. He makes them all. It is not a store bought tool packed in plastic, but rather it is pieces together with materials that Mike thinks feel comfortable in his hand and can provide the movement to add detail both small and large to his any and all of his pieces. And it is something else to watch him with as his eyes squint up and his unshaven face wrinkle up and focus on the crease between one muscle and another, a bright light glaring at the form he is working on and with each movement it becomes a bit more alive. Ah-but this is now. Back to the beginnings…..
As a teen he worked on and off for his Mom’s business and his Dad’s. Many trips of his childhood and teen years being spent at trade shows. Eventually like any normal teen he broke loose and did his own thing- beginning to somewhat raise himself a bit more. He became a member of National Ski Patrol and working at club med in Copper Mountain, Colorado. He spent his days saving tourists from flying off the sides of mountains and his nights with friends…..having a good time. He was presented with an opportunity to go study portraiture in France with Martine Vaugel in Les Cirque Sur Passavan. He attended. His return ticket stayed in the pocket of his coat much past the date of his return flight home. He wandered around France meeting people, staying in small rooms here and there, gathering ghost stories and of course, sculpting. As all good adventures must come to an end he returned to Colorado to the town of Dillion, nestled safely inside the Rocky Mountains. From there he took one of the biggest steps on his spiritual journey.
He moved to Arizona. He lived with a few other people seeking spiritual growth and answers to the questions that followed them around. He lived a life of strict regimen for a year and then made the decision to move to a monastery in Kentucky. He contemplated for a great time the idea of living his life in servitude as a monk. After many months and more self raising , he left the monastery deciding he wanted to have a family. He returned to Arizona where he worked at a bronze foundry, fell in and out of love and began his first “heart line”. A heart piece is something very magical and special to Mike. I have heard him talk about them for a long time. These pieces mean something and they are the hardest for Mike to let others look at. The Yogi’s are all heart pieces.
He met his wife in Arizona. At a coffee shop. One of those Hollywood moments where your future passes before your eyes and you felt like you have finally arrived home. They spent years together swimming and watching the sun set and rise. He had random jobs and then eventually moved back to Colorado to be a sculptor and run a business.
For 11 years Mike learned the ins and ours of running a huge business. He sculpted new figures: firefighters, soldiers, cowboys and worked on street scenes. He managed employees, the marketing the production and all of the details of business. After 11 years, the owner, due to health problems, was shutting down the business. Mike left to raise himself some more. To find what was in his heart. And what had been missing. By this time he had two small children, a wife, a dog, a white picket fence and the Joneses on either side of him. It was time for some real changes. Big ones.
He missed helping others. His life had become a series of emails, accounting, voicemails and frustration. After many of months of a serious depression, that was familiar in many ways, and loaded the life around him with fertile ground for the changes he wanted, he decided to become a firefighter. He started to do yoga along side his wife. He enrolled in school and started one of the hardest paths he has ever known. He was accepted into the Fountain Colorado Fire Academy. Each day all of the lines he had made on the sculptures of firefighters he had created took on new meaning. He began to see the absolute commitment it took to earn the many pounds of gear a firefighter must carry and the courage it took to earn those lines around their smiles and eyes that he had sculpted so many times but could have never really understood. Becoming a firefighter is no easy task.
Yoga not only helped Mike to lose inches, gain strength and keep focus, but also it complimented all that he had learned in life thus far about alignment. Physical alignment in sculpture, in our own bodies, and now even more importantly how emotional alignment is one of the keys to finding inner peace that flows from breath. Simplification followed. He and his wife sold their home and half of their belongings opting for a life without all of the complexities. They sold the picket fence and the dogmas that went along with it. They bought something small. Simple. Close to the Garden of Gods.
He is now a volunteer fire fighter, he waits tables, goes to yoga and spends his free time building lego kits with his five year old son and watching his eight-year old daughter ride horses. He is happy. Sculpting now only from his heart.
Copyright © 2009 Michael Patrick Garman