Artist makes artwork with bones

Ryan Ogle, [email protected], is a senior massmedia major.

Recent years have seen an arts explosion in Topeka. Thanks to the growing popularity of First Friday art walks, the NOTO Arts District and annual arts fairs, artists of every imaginable medium have emerged from their home studios to share their work with the community. While many can be lumped into traditional categories – painters, sculptors, jewelers, etc., one local talent stands out among the rest. His medium – reclaimed scrap and animal bone.

A native of Charleston, SC, Ptr Sponseller has been in Topeka for nearly a decade, but it’s been in the last couple of years that he emerged as one of the area’s most unique artists.

“Using scrap and animal bones really speaks to me because it’s all forgotten materials,” said Sponseller. “I find things on my farm, friends’ land or I’ll talk to hunters into giving me bones instead of throwing them away in a field where they’ll decay and rot.”

While some might expect gallery owners and appreciators of fine art to balk at the notion of hanging a discarded cow skull intertwined with the rusted front-end of an old motorcycle, Sponseller’s fan base is growing steadily. Several of his pieces have been on display in J&J’s Gallery Bar and can currently be seen at Two Wolves Studio & Artist den as well as at the Johnson Country Resource Library.

Naturally, non-traditional art such as this comes from non-traditional inspiration.

“For me, it was the dark beauty of it,” said Sponseller. “What can I do that nobody else would do with something like this? Others might see it as scrap or a dog’s chew toy, but I see something more. I see it as something beautiful that I want in my house. But I’m also a dark, twisted dude.”

For more, search Facebook for Clover GEAR Reclaimed ART.