• Laurel Contributor

The Watchers

by Donna Rhodes

Jim Collins’ Watchers view the world from a slightly different perspective.

From locales throughout the United States to the rolling hills of the Emerald Isle, they are watching us … and we don’t mind a bit.

Who are they? “The Watchers,” the brainchild of veteran sculptor and Highlands resident Jim Collins.

His pieces are figurative, human or animal forms, fashioned out of laser-cut stainless steel, often partnered with wood, copper, brass and paint. They stand in profile; some sit; some are frozen in motion. Their line of vision is locked onto the thing that defines their being: “An American Soldier,” Fire Fighters/Dalmatians, flying cows at Nashville International Airport, mythological series, park-bench Watchers, “Cowboy Watcher,” “Road Dog,” a crimson Watcher atop a giant chili pepper, and so much more.

Jim’s made enough Watchers to populate a small town.

Your neighbor’s yard might be home to a Watcher.

Jim says, “There are several on the Plateau, including a deep purple mama bear with a violet and a magenta cub at Lew Pollack’s place on Rock Hill Road. Lew welcomes drive-bys.”

Sculpting has been Jim’s sole (and soul) support since 1983 when he retired his Art Professorship. Thanks to his marketing skill, Jim leases large pieces to corporations, parks, cities in the hope the sculpture’s popularity will warrant a sale.

Ingenious. Everybody wins.

Often Jim finds construction elements/ideas decades before he knows what they will become. He collects them, then waits for the idea-egg to gestate. His egg basket is always full.

Currently, he’s working on “The Wooing of Etain,” an Irish legend of love, jealousy, and loss. Its inspiration? A trip with his daughter to an antique shop where he saw a venerable glass sign inscribed, “Evaluation Center for Disturbed Women.” Sidestepping political incorrectness, he balanced it with an equivalent sign for males and embedded his idea in the Etain tale.

Stay tuned to his website, collins3d.com, for the work’s completion notice. While there, review an array of existing installations. And visit him on facebook (Jim-Collins-Sculptor). Jim is available to craft a custom creation for your home or business. Perhaps a resident or group would consider gifting a Watcher to one of our beautiful local parks. Contact Jim through his website or see pieces firsthand at his home, 1209 Hickory Hill Road in Highlands’ Mirror Lake section.

The eyes of Jim’s art are lovingly upon you.

The Laurel Magazine

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