Artist sculpts faces in under 30 minutes at the SA Stock Show & Rodeo

Hu Tian is at the rodeo for sixth year in row

SAN ANTONIO – When Hu Tian sits in front of a fist-sized ball of clay attached to a small canvas, it looks like art to those marveling and wandering the rows of Expo Hall 2 at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

Tian feels different. "It is therapy."

Tian is a clay sculptor. His booth sits among dozens of vendors selling leather goods, jewelry and wood work at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. This is his sixth year bringing his work to San Antonio and people seem to have taken a liking to him. 

"Lots of people come back, they just want to do the whole family," Tian said. 

Tian graduated from college in 1986 and said he has been sculpting ever since, but it's not necessarily his craft that sets him apart. It's his speed. 

Tian markets his work as being able to be done in 25 minutes. "I start in the clay and control the size, and build up," he said.

Tian can also sculpt from photos. He is currently working on a project with ten people, only from a photo. He said eyes are the hardest part.

"I see 3-D. I catch more details in life but I can do the sculpture from picture," he said.

His favorite part of sculpting is twofold — he likes how different and unique everyone is and likes that people get to see themselves from a new perspective.

Animals are also in his repertoire, both solo and in group photos.

For such a talented artist, it begged the question: who's the most famous person you've sculpted?

"I don't care much," he said "If somebody was famous, I didn't know."

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