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Pahrump sculptor’s work included piece at Bonnie Springs

Thousands of locals and tourists once frequented Bonnie Springs, an attraction about 48 miles southeast of Pahrump which included an 1880s western town replica created by local resident David Squier, desert wildlife sculptor.

The old town and its attractions have since been demolished to make way for an upscale master planned community. Most of the set has been destroyed, including a copper statue that sat proudly for decades with the owners’ faces, Al and Bonnie Levinson, carefully crafted on it.

It was a gift sculpted by Pahrump artist David Squier in the summer of 1994.

“Al’s son came to me and asked me to create a statue with his parents’ faces on it,” said Squier.

According to Squier, Al Levinson was difficult to work with.

“He seemed to tolerate me, so that’s why his son requested I do it,” said Squier.

Squier needed to get multiple photographs of the couple without them knowing. In time, he had enough of both Bonnie and Al to start his project.

Over a period of roughly 18 months Squier recreated the likeness of the Levinsons in the form of a copper and fiberglass statue with a dedication inscribed on the bottom.

The statue sat on a boulder near the bridge to the old town and was several feet wide and several feet high.

“There were two copies, the original, and the artist’s copy — the original was accidentally destroyed by Al’s son after his father passed,” said Squier.

According to Squier, it was an accident that could have been avoided.

Nonetheless, the artist’s copy now sits in Squier’s Pahrump workshop — a garage filled with dozens of steel, copper, rusted metal sculptures depicting everything from wild stallions to mammoth donkeys.

It’s a copy that he would like to see sold or commissioned in another location such as a museum or gallery.

His workspace is likened to that of a mad scientist’s lab, with tools and various contraptions spread all around with his artwork adorning the walls and sitting on the floor. Every bit of free space is occupied by either his art or various tools.

“When I was a teenager I got into a lot of trouble. My mom wanted to send me to military school. Instead of that I talked her into art school at the University of Miami,” said Squier.

This was back in the 1960s. Squier never looked back and has been creating art since then.

His projects take time, anywhere from a couple of weeks to years. And his sculptures are intricately designed, with vivid, lifelike details down to the nails of a sculpted crow.

His artwork has been displayed not only in Bonnie Springs for all those years but also Black Star Winery and Desert Spirit in Pahrump, plus art galleries all over the country.

“We got to work for many wonderful people all over the U.S.,” Squier said. “The other side is going to a compound at 2 a.m. for weeks doing difficult elbow-grease work then wondering if you’ll ever get paid.”

It’s rough being a mom-and-pop business, he said.

Despite having sold much of his artwork, making money has still been a challenge. That’s the essence of an artist’s profession, according to Squier.

“Someone needs to have a full-time paying job,” he said.

His wife, Marylin, has tolerated the up-and-down career Squier has had.

“It’s been an interesting yet difficult life to be married to an artist,” said Marylin.

For custom artwork and wildlife sculptures Squier can be reached at 775-990-8123 or bidproduction07@gmail.com.

Patrick Billings is a freelance writer from Pahrump. Contact him at aregularbillings@gmail.com.

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