A deeply creased, time-worn face peeks into the light from a gingham bonnet in the transparency of water color. A large U.S. Congressman looks down on a congressional meeting room in the House of Representatives in an elegantly framed oil portrait. A larger-than-life-sized family cavorts in the water of a hospital fountain, their laughter frozen perpetually in bronze. These are but a few snapshots of the tapestry of métier that is the work of Sam McKinney.
Born in 1951 in Lexington, Kentucky, Sam McKinney spent his childhood in coal studded Fleming-Neon in southeastern Kentucky. After receiving an AB and MA in Art at Morehead State University, he has made Morehead, Kentucky his home. He resides in a log house and connecting studio, (that he considers a functional sculpture) reconstructed of eighteenth and nineteenth century structures designed and built by himself.
A figurative freelance painter and sculptor for over thirty years, Sam McKinney works mainly on commission. His personal masterpiece, “Adam’s First Breath” unveiled and displayed at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum in Hamilton Ohio, is McKinney’s tour de force. The 1,800 pound sculpture in bronze and granite was the focus of Mr. McKinney’s energies for more than a year and is, he says, the culmination of everything he has learned about his art. In 2010 Pyramid Hill commissioned Sam to sculpt a 10 ton monumental bronze and granite sculpture entitled “Wherefore Art Thou”.
His work in oils, watercolors, bronze, stainless steel and acrylic sculpture are nationally collected by such entities as political personas: U.S. Congressman Carl D. Perkins, accepted by Speaker of the House of Representatives, (Thomas Foley) Washington DC, former Governor of KY, Bert Combs, Corporate founders and collections, e.g. Grove Inc., CSX Railway, King’s Daughters Medical Center and private and public memorials and monuments. He has been from time to time an adjunct professor at Morehead State University, teaching figure drawing and watercolor and an artist in residence in Kentucky schools.