Published Dec. 3, 2012
By Laura Kate Zaichkin, Herald staff writer
It may not be the culmination of an already accomplished career, but Anthony Holand's artwork is going to the Super Bowl.
"I feel very, very fortunate to do what I do," said the 32-year-old master metal sculptor, who was raised in the Tri-Cities and now lives in Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. "It's important to follow a passion."
The River View High School and Columbia Basin College graduate for six years has owned Tuck & Holand Metal Sculptors, regarded as one of America's premier weathervane makers.
Holand was commissioned by one of the Super Bowl's sponsors, Gerdau Ameristeel, to create a sculpture that represents the Pittsburgh Steelers to display in Tampa, Fla., at the site of the Super Bowl.
"He had no idea that they would be in the Super Bowl" when asked to create the sculpture, said his mother, Barb Donaldson of Finley. Holand's piece is one of many sculptures created by artists depicting NFL teams that will be on display.
Holand's exclusive client base includes filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Bill and Hillary Clinton. He said he was delighted to be asked to create the nearly 24-inch-long, 15-inch-high football that appears to be blasting off.
"It's always exciting. Each commission has its own excitement and challenge," said Holand, who grew up in Pasco.
When asked to represent the Steelers he thought, "That's going to be interesting -- trying to come up with Steelers."
Holand, who works primarily with copper, bronze and steel, started the piece with a steel I-beam, which represents the strength and tradition of Pittsburgh's rich football history, he said.
And in trying to keep the piece close to its roots, he had the football shape spun by a Pittsburgh company.
"The nice part about this is when I build something, the thought process is that (the owner's) grandchildren will enjoy it," Holand said.
The sculpture, which took him about a week to complete, is for sale on eBay. He said proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
Holand's art roots trace back to his childhood, when he taught himself to weld by making landscape art from a scrap pile on his family's property in Pomeroy.
"Art was always something I excelled at," he said.
He received formal art instruction at North Idaho College, then CBC.
"He would take lots of art classes and not a lot else," Donaldson said. "I would say, 'Honey, art's a nice hobby, but what are you going to do for money?'
"He was an adventurer and an inventor."
One of his adventures took him to Martha's Vineyard the summer before he graduated from CBC, where he worked in a bike shop. Holand decided to return to Martha's Vineyard after he graduated with a business degree.
"According to my mother I needed a real job when I graduated," Holand said. "My mother always said, 'How many ads do you see in the paper for an apprentice metal sculptor?' "
Apparently there only needed to be one. Travis Tuck hired Holand as his apprentice nearly 11 years ago after advertising the position in the local newspaper's classifieds.
"He called and said, 'Mom, I got my dream job in paradise,' " Donaldson said. "I about dropped the phone."
Holand became the owner of Tuck & Holand after Tuck died of cancer.
"The one thing that Travis Tuck told all of his buddies in Martha's Vineyard is that of all of the apprentices that he had, Tony was the only one that had art in his heart," said Holand's father, Gene Holand of Kennewick. "Travis was good, but Tony's taken it to a whole new level."
Donaldson said she's struck with awe every time she sees one of Holand's pieces.
"He's very humble about his success," she said. "He's amazed by the things he gets to do.
"He really is living the dream."
Published with permission of the Tri-City Herald. Additional news stories can be accessed online at the Tri-City Herald.
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