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     Fran Volz was born the 5th of 10 children in Menasha, Wisconsin.  At the age of 9 his family moved to Mississippi.  Having an unusual name and new surroundings added to his already shy nature.  Volz learned however that he could amuse his classmates and make friends by drawing cartoons.  In high school he received a recognition award in an art course.

     As a young man Volz regularly spent hours in his dad's workshop fixing and fabricating things.  For safety reasons he wasn't allowed to use the power tools, which only served to make him more proficient with many of the hand tools he uses today.

     Volz served in the United States Air Force and earned a Bachelor Degree  from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin.  Many of his creations are influenced by his religious upbringing and background.

     He began his sculpting career on a cold winter's day in 1987.  Looking to build a snowman he decided to shape it into a cartoon Smurf. Passing motorists honked their horns in approval, and Volz realized he had created something special. Since that time he's been recognized for his snow creations and has received awards in state snow sculpting competitions. Because of his elaborate snow creations, Volz is featured in newspapers at least a dozen times yearly.  He is also visited by local TV and radio personalities who feature his works on their programs.  To share the fun of snow sculpting  he created an instructional video for anyone to try at home: Snow Sculpting at Home.

     In 2004 Volz organized the Chicago Snow Competition. It has grown and is now in the big time downtown at Navy Pier. Teams of artists from around the world travel to compete at this event, now called Snow Days Chicago. Austria, Canada, Russia, Spain and Holland are some of the countries these artists come from.

     While Volz enjoys working with snow, his real love is creating monumental statues in bronze.  He likes the permanence and classical appearance of bronze.  His influences stem from a variety of sources: the style of Michelangelo, DaVinci, Rodin and Houdon; the whimsical subjects of Norman Rockwell; the dynamic poses of Marvel Comicbook superheroes and the fluid, flowing lines of Disney and Vargas characters.  Like his snow sculptures, Volz likes to create bronze works that touch people.  For this reason, he concentrates on the human form (figurative art) and less on abstracts.

     Volz is essentially a self-taught sculptor, learning mainly from observing, studying, researching and experimenting.  However he did receive some formal training in the bronzing process by working as an apprentice to a bronze sculptor in the Chicago area.

     Most of Volz's time these days is spent working on commissioned pieces for cities and private collectors.  The works are monuments to honor historical heroes or events. Or portrait busts of loved ones. If you're interested in commissioning a piece, you can reserve a place on his production schedule by contacting him via phone or email.

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