The University of Texas at Austin
  • Public art collection grows with TMM sculpture

    By Tara Chandler
    Published: Oct. 3, 2007

    “Being in the museum world for 18 years, I’m surrounded by animals and bones and great objects from the natural world. So a lot of my inspiration comes from this environment,” he said. “I also love the Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods. I feel they were the most influential times of design.

    “With my new line of work, I have tried to meld all these elements into my animal sculptures. I enjoy sculpting realistic pieces but also wanted to create a style for myself. This is the basis for my new line of sculptures.”

    Maisano’s personal work includes a series of bronze artwork depicting marine life, woodland and other creatures. The collection is viewable at

    Maisano has been an artist for more than 25 years, but didn’t plan on focusing part of his career on sculpting. His inspiration to sculpt came in 2001 with his first commission of a 12-foot dinosaur he named Ophelia for the Hartman Prehistoric Gardens in Austin. He named the dinosaur after a neighbor who died before it was finished.

    The saber-toothed cat is also dedicated to someone special in Maisano’s life, his mother, but he decided not to name it after her.

    “My mom passed away last year before I finished this one but I don’t think the cat looks like a Rose’ to me,” Maisano said, adding that he found another way to pay tribute to her. “There is something hidden on the sculpture which is my message to mom.”

    The sculpture was created with a donation from Sarah and Ernest Butler, who gave $150,000 to the Texas Natural Science Center and designated $80,000 of it for the cast-bronze sculpture.

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