Sculpting ‘Dolphin Family’

Famed local artist James “Bud” Bottoms stopped in to Anacapa’s season finale First Thursday Breakfast Club to share his life journey from World War II soldier to commercial artists to revered bronze sculptor. Bottoms is a native Californian with a lifetime of experience swimming and diving in the
Santa Barbara Channel.

Bud Bottoms showed students a naturally occurring nugget that the Chumash believe represents the upper, middle and lower worlds. The shape was the inspiration for the base of ‘Dolphin Family.’

He is the creator of the Stearns Wharf centerpiece “Dolphin Family” sculpture as well as countless other sculptures and monuments around the world honoring marine mammals. His admiration for the intelligence of whales and dolphins influences much of his bronze work.

While working on the now famous “Dolphin Family” bronze at Stearns Wharf, he overcame many technical and political hurdles, but, he explained, the reward was worth the effort. During his presentation, Bud encouraged students to chase their “highest aspirations in life.”

After the main presentation, students and parents talked with Bud in more detail during which he revealed his close ties with many influential people across disciplines ranging from spiritual leaders to space pioneers to scientific futurists!