The combined biographies of artists Allen and Patty Eckman and their unique medium.

Photo of Patty and Allen taken at the Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Georgia 10-2-09.
Photo of Patty and Allen taken at the
Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville, Georgia 10-2-09.
The Eckmans' work is on permanent display at the Booth.
Allen Eckman was born in South Gate, California in 1946. At age 5 to 15 his family, parents, 3 brothers and two sisters lived on a small farm in Pennsylvania. They returned to California and after graduating from 1000 Oaks High School in 1965, Allen enlisted in the Marine Corps. Four years later a Sgt. E-5 and decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War Allen studied art. His formal education was completed at Art Center College of Design in advertising art in 1974.

He is married to Patty Tenneboe Eckman, the two met studying art in college. Patty Tenneboe-Eckman was born in Brookings, South Dakota in 1950. She grew up in Rapid City and in 1965 her family, parents, 2 brothers and sister moved to the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. Her formal education was completed at Art Center College of Design in L.A. with a major in illustration, in 1974. After college the couple got married and operated a small advertising company in the LA area while raising three children.

12 years later Allen and Patty decided they had had enough of the stressful life of advertising artists in Southern California. In 1988 the couple set out on a whole new career path which opened up an exciting and different world for both of them, the fine art of cast paper sculpture. Allen had discovered the medium as an art director photographing a brochure and instantly recognized the purity, warmth, and most of all, the possibilities this medium had to offer.

Cast paper sculpture has been around since the 1950's but should not be confused with papier-mache'. The two mediums are completely different. The artists first mix an acid free paper pulp in the studio hydro-pulper from two raw stocks, cotton and abica. Then the pulp is cast into molds which were made from original clay sculptures. The paper is then pressed under vacuum pressure or by hand in the mold where most of the water is extracted at the same time. The drying process is completed by evaporation while the paper is still in the mold. After the dry and hard casts are removed from the molds the exclusive process of chasing, cast additions, cast alterations, sculpting in paper and detailing begins. It takes a great amount of time and experience to create each piece. Some works are so painstakingly detailed they can take many months to complete. The cast paper process is similar to the cast bronze method in many ways. Of course, the finished product is white, light weight and can have an enormous amount of detail because of it's properties and the couplesí inventiveness.

The Eckmans are the inventors of this process and the Eckman Method® of Cast Paper Sculpture is a trade mark of theirs alone. Since 1988 Patty and Allen have developed and perfected the medium of cast paper far beyond any other artist in the world. Their work is considered to be the premier of the industry by many critics. Since the paper is acid free the sculptures are all museum quality. "We have really enjoyed the development of our fine art techniques over the years and have created a process that is worth sharing. There are many artists and sculptors who we believe will enjoy this medium as much as we have."

Allen's inspiration for the Indian subjects he creates came from a significant event in his life. "When I was a small boy in Pennsylvania I found an arrowhead in a newly plowed field and took it home to my grandfather who told me we have a Cherokee ancestry. My great, great, great, grandmother's name was Tounacha Case. She was born in the year 1793 in North Carolina, by the census record. It does not say she was Cherokee because the box on the 1850 census record specifying ethnicity was left blank. My guess is that being married to Laxton Case (a white man) at the time of Indian removal and living in Cherokee country they somehow managed to obviate the "Trail of Tears". I really am interested in the Indian's material, physical and spiritual culture and that whole period of our nation's history I find fascinating. From the western expansion, through the Civil War and beyond is of great interest to me." Eckman has expanded his work through all these subjects . Patty has a great interest in wildlife, birds and flowers in particular. "Ever since I was a child I have had a great appreciation of wildlife. I can sit for hours and watch the birds come to my feeder. When I look at a flower I don't see just color, I see form. Wonderful shapes that the color tries to overpower." Patty also has interests in the Native American culture and since the year 2000 has been sculpting beautiful Indian woman and children. On large complicated and detailed works the couple often work together and both sign the piece when completed.

The Eckmans now reside in Rapid City, South Dakota. Their home and studio is in the beautiful Black Hills. There, the couple finds inspiration everywhere. The wildlife, the history, the climate and the spirituality of their lives provide Patty and Allen with an enormous amount of creativity.

Allen and Patty Eckman

D.B.A. Eckman Fine Art Inc.
222 Timberline Ct.
Rapid City, South Dakota 57702

(605) 343-4252 Studio

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Allen and Patty Eckman, 222 Timberline Ct, Rapid City, South Dakota 57702, (605) 343-4252