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Stella Snyder
Stella, 5, works in her father’s art studio sanding miniature resin sculptures of the Encina Power Station and smokestack in Carlsbad. Photo by Bryan Snyder
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Carlsbad artist crafts miniatures of city landmark

CARLSBAD — Shortly after the news broke that Carlsbad’s iconic smokestack was slated for demolition, local artist Bryan Snyder decided to memorialize the landmark with handcrafted miniature resin sculptures.

For the longtime Carlsbad resident, the monthlong art project was an attempt to preserve the memory of the city’s historic structure.

“As a local artist, community member and advocate, I felt it was my responsibility to try and preserve it,” Snyder told The Coast News. “Once it’s gone, to have a miniature sculpture made by a local artist in the heart of (Carlsbad Village) is an attempt to keep the memory going.”

Bryan Snyder
Local artist Bryan Snyder puts the finishing touches on his miniature resin sculptures of Carlsbad’s iconic smokestack. Snyder launched the art project to help preserve memories of the city’s historic landmark. Photo by Henry Snyder

Snyder, who lives in Carlsbad Village with his wife Susannah and their seven-year-old son Henry and five-year-old daughter Stella, has long contributed to the growth of Carlsbad’s blossoming art scene.

In 2015, Snyder helped establish the Carlsbad Art Wall, which has become a landmark of its own, attracting artists and visitors from around the world.

The digital artist has also hosted numerous art shows and scavenger hunts, as well as working with local businesses for creative marketing purposes to promote the artistic culture within the Village.

But Snyder’s latest project presented a different set of challenges, namely working with art resin, a material Snyder hasn’t handled in more than a decade. 

The sculptures are cast by pouring art resin into an original Chavant clay mold crafted by hand. And there is very little room for error. 

Encina sculptures
Built in 1954, the Encina facility was San Diego County’s largest fossil fuel power plant. The plant was retired in 2018.     Photo by Bryan Snyder

 

“If you mess up the mold or resin cast, you pretty much have to start all over again,” Snyder said. “It’s art but it’s also a science project — a lot of chemistry going on.”

After the resin dries, the sculptures are sanded, painted, glazed, positioned on a cardboard mounting board and packaged with a spray-painted “Snyder” logo on the exterior.

These are not mass-produced duplicates rolling off some foreign assembly line — each sculpture, made in Snyder’s studio, will reveal its own unique set of peccadillos.

“They will see the imperfections – evidence of the artist’s hand,” Snyder said. “I could have 3D printed them offsite but then it becomes merchandise, not a handcrafted piece of art.”

Encina Miniatures
Finished miniatures of the Encina Power Station. Photo by Bryan Snyder

And Snyder isn’t working alone in his studio. Snyder’s son, Henry, has taken photos of his father’s work throughout the various stages of production, helping attract plenty of interested buyers on social media. And Stella has provided a steady hand helping package her dad’s art. 

Most of all, Snyder said the project has grown out of his desire to preserve local memories and legacies.

“It’s important to keep those memories alive and I think this sculpture does that,” Snyder said. 

Carlsbad Power Plant Sculptures are available for purchase on Snyder’s website, snyderartdesign.com. Follow him on Instagram: @snyderart

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