2015 AH Classic Wall CalendarShop the AH Store >>

Our 2015 calendars are now available!

Classic Wall Calendar

CL15 $10.99

Our classic 13-month spiral-bound calendar features 30 full-color photographs and a handy map of Arizona on the back.

Order Now >>
Purchase Camping GuideShop the AH Store >>

Featured Book

Arizona Highways
Camping Guide

AGCS3 $22.95

Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.

Order Now >>
2011 AH Wildlife CalendarSee Selection of Images >>

Featured Prints

Poster Prints
Special Edition Prints

Many of the extraordinary images found in our award-winning magazine, scenic coffee-table books and exquisite calendars can be purchased as fine posters and prints.

Order Now >>
Shop the AH Store >>

Featured Gift Item

Centennial Issue Reprint

SPCENN2 $4.99

If you missed our February 100-page Centennial Issue on newsstands earlier this year, here's your second chance to get a copy of this special collector's edition of Arizona Highways magazine..

Order Now >>

  • print page
  • Tell a Friend
  • Post to Facebook
  • YouTube
  • past to del.icio.us
BULLETpeople archive
People Archive Photo
© Jeff Kida

>> Click on image to view
it larger in a separate window.
Au Naturel
He'll sculpt your nude body, but don't ask for his e-mail address — world-renowned artist John Waddell is old-school with some amazing new projects in the works.

By Lauren Proper

JOHN WADDELL LOVES NAKED PEOPLE. But not in a vulgar way. When he says, "Take off your clothes and dance," as he did to a group of college students in the '70s, he's probably going to immortalize you in bronze.

Those students who were willing to pose for Waddell became one of downtown Phoenix's most prominent pieces of art: a series of statues outside the Herberger Theatre named Dance.

Then, and now, Waddell aimed for one goal: to show people beyond a superficial appearance.

"In our culture, we have so many stereotypes of how a person should look that we overlook the beauty of how a person really does look," Waddell says. "In my philosophy, I honor the uniqueness of each person."

A decade before Dance, Waddell made a name for himself with a monument paying tribute to four young girls who died in a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. That Which Might Have Been, Birmingham, 1963 is Waddell's rendition of how those girls would have looked as women.

What's so striking about Waddell's sculptures isn't the physical attractiveness of the people — bronze has a way of putting everyone on an even playing field — it's how they make you feel their beauty through movement. And after devoting most of his life to art, Waddell still hasn't lost his passion for the portrayal of what is truly beautiful.

"I'm 87. I work 12 hours a day, every day, and I love it," he says.

Today, Waddell and his equally artistic wife, Ruth, find inspiration in Cornville, a small town outside of Sedona. The area is a sacred place for Waddell, whose backyard and sculpture garden are surrounded by mountains and hushed by the sound of nearby Oak Creek.

"I believe it's a channel, an opening, for artists that have lived before to come back," Waddell explains. "And so, in my own work, I feel that I'm supported by artists of the past. You no longer can say, 'I did this. This is my work.' You just have to say, 'It came through me.' "

For the past 10 years, Waddell has been working on a 40-foot relief of people in various forms of ascension into the heavens titled The Rising. The more than three-dozen figures have yet to find a home outside of Waddell's studio, and like some of his other works, will most likely be placed outside of Arizona.

In the end, John Waddell believes the secret to maximizing any talent is to always be refining it appropriately through diligent practice.

"I feel that as an artist, or a writer, or a dancer, or even a physicist, you have to keep your tools as finely developed as possible."

>> Back to People Archive

Story ArchivesFind previously published stories online... [more]

Global SnapshotsSend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]

Photo of the DaySend us a photo of you or someone you know posing with Arizona Highways. We'll post it on our website. It's that simple... [more]


Social MediaJoin our Facebook, Twitter and Flickr communities for behind-the-scenes glimpses at Arizona Highways... [more]

Events & PromotionsEscape, experience and explore Arizona, one event at a time... [more]

Travel GuidesThere's so much to see and do in Arizona. Let our online travel guide be your one-stop resource for planning your next Arizona adventure... [more]

site map  |  terms of use  |  privacy policy  |  corporate sales  |  about us  |  contact us

Arizona Highways Television AZ Dept. of Transportation AZ Dept. of Public Safety Arizona Highways Photo Workshops

© Copyright 2014 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The images on this Web site are copyrighted, digitally watermarked and registered with the Digimarc tracking system. All rights reserved. Copying and downloading images from this site are strictly prohibited.