For the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, William Matthews created a stunning mural interpretation of a watercolor painting capturing the spirit and history of the American West. His original watercolor painting was translated into an eye-catching 63′ x 12’ small tile mosaic mural overlooking the entire south entrance of the 14,000-seat, 230,000-square-foot Dickies Arena, adjacent to the Will Rogers Memorial Campus. Flanking Matthews’ mural are two bronze 12-foot-tall bas-relief sculptures, further celebrating the significance of the horse in the history of the American West.
The mural commemorates the horse, first brought by the Spanish and now an enduring symbol of the American West, and whose introduction to North America transformed the Great Plains and the West for both Native Americans and American pioneers. Set against an untamed landscape, the piece captures the movement of wild horses racing among scrub and brush, set against rolling hills and mesas, under a storm-filled sky. Willy worked with the celebrated female-owned studio Mosaicos Venecianos in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where artisans pieced together more than 600,000 hand-cut glass tiles of 570 different colors to realize this scene with remarkable richness and vibrancy.
The two 12-foot-tall bronzes were conceived from Matthews’ original composition drawings and sculpted by Texas-based artist Buckeye Blake, himself a member of the Cherokee Nation. On the left is a depiction of an early cowboy of the American West, skilled and confident. On the opposite side is a Comanche, considered the “Lord of the Plains” and master of the horse culture, brave and graceful. Both figures, seated on horseback, serve as welcoming ambassadors to all visitors. The bas-relief sculptures were cast in bronze in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Check out the videos embedded below to see drone footage of the project during installation, and the short film created by Amie Knox and Chad Herschberger entitled Los Caballos: West Texas in Glass and Bronze.