A chance encounter with a Jersey cow launched J. Clayton Bright on his career as a sculptor.
Clayton first met the cow while walking through the countryside in 1977. Her alluring curves made a great impression on him and gradually the idea of the cow as a bronze took root.
Instinctively aware that no one else could create the image she inspired in his mind, Clayton decided to do the sculpture himself.
A sculptor friend gave an afternoon’s instruction in the craft of sculpture, and explained the importance of working from life. Thus armed, Clayton returned to the field, finishing his first piece, Neilson’s Cow, in October of that year.
Born in the Philadelphia area in 1946, Clayton, on graduating from a New England boarding school, enlisted in the army. There he served in the paratroops with a tour in Vietnam as a member of a long range reconnaissance team.
Following his discharge, he worked in Australia, and then hitchhiked through the Far East, Middle East, and Europe.
Upon his return to Philadelphia, he worked at the stock exchange until tempted by the Neilson’s cow to try sculpture. Clayton now has a studio in the countryside west of Philadelphia.