"As an artist it is my intention to try and interpret the theatre of life that unfolds so beautifully in nature. I am totally captivated by these dramatic and humorous scenarios. I try to express human emotions within my work, as my images reflect my belief that man and animal share the same living spirit.” - Lyle Sopel
Growing up in rural British Columbia, Lyle Sopel has lived close to nature for most of his life. As a youth he traveled across Europe acquainting himself with the history and tradition of western sculpture and studying the masters. As he recalls, "One day, I happened to view students working in a sculpture studio. From that moment on I knew all I wanted to do was sculpt."
On completing his visual art studies at Vancouver's Langara Art College, he was honored with the prestigious Vic Scott Award for Visual Arts. Following this training, Sopel's talent was recognized early by two patrons of the arts who provided materials, equipment, studio space and acquired the finished works. After three years, the body of work was exhibited in Sopel's first private showing. A prominent collector purchased the entire collection from Sopel's patrons. Through those early years, Sopel developed the skills and expertise to begin an independent practice.
Sopel’s works were exhibited and admired by visitors from around the globe at Vancouver's World Fair (Expo 86). Shortly thereafter, he was acknowledged as a master jade sculptor in a cover story featured in National Geographic Magazine. Throughout the next decade, Sopel fulfilled his dream of becoming a renowned fine art gem sculptor with rising international acclaim. In 1992, the Lord Abbot of a Thai Buddhist monastery searched the globe for an artist who had mastered the art of sculpting jade, to create the largest sitting Buddha the world had ever seen. A five year search resulted in the location of the perfect thirty-five ton boulder. He then commissioned Sopel to advise on the sculpting of this spectacular monument. Serendipitously, nine years later, Sopel was commissioned to create a life-sized Jade Buddha in 2003 - the largest in North America. This statue is installed in a private residence in Palm Springs, California.
Lyle Sopel's jade, precious gem and newly evolved bronze sculptures are housed in the collections of royalty, fine art connoisseurs and heads of state from around the world. Lahaina Galleries is proud to represent this great artist and his wonderful sculptures.