Born in the Outback of Australia in Alice Springs, St. Clair learned at an early age to be self-sufficient and creative, as this was necessary to exist and survive in the harsh conditions of the Australian bush. He spent most of his younger years mustering cattle and working as a butcher. By the age of 22 St. Clair had his pilot’s license and no longer mustered by horseback. He covered thousands of miles as a commercial helicopter pilot gathering cattle, horses, and wild camels, as well as fire-fighting and helicopter rescue missions.
Accruing years of flying experience could not prevent an unfortunate accident in 1994 when his helicopter crashed and left him 17 hours in subzero temperatures until rescued. Suffering near fatal injuries, doctors told him he would never walk again. But self-determination won out as he doggedly set to prove them wrong. St. Clair successfully and single-mindedly beat his disability, regaining his ability to walk. But it was during that three and a half years spent in a wheelchair that he picked up some clay and discovered his talent of sculpting. From then on this new passion consumed him as he committed himself to learn the other steps of the sculpting process, mold-making, waxes, casting and chasing. St. Clair’s art experience expanded when he moved to the USA.
His first monuments were both commissioned by his home country. The Pioneer at one and a half life-size is the largest monument of a horse and rider in Australia. It is located in the Northern Territory in the city of Katherine. The Cunnamulla Fella in Cunnamulla, Queensland is twice life-size and represents the traditional stockman of Australia. St. Clair’s recent monument work unveiled in Southlake, Texas in 2010 and standing tall at nine foot, six inches, Sentinel, majestically represents all firefighters and police officers.
Much of his work expresses his love for animals and he recreates them with amazing life-like qualities, focusing on minute detail. He credits his earlier careers as stockman and butcher for laying the groundwork in replicating these details. Just as talented in human form, he has sculpted busts of colorful characters from Grapevine and Australia, some of whom have witnessed the wonderful transformation of Archie St. Clair from ringer (cowboy) to internationally-acclaimed sculptor.
St. Clair moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in 2000, and now operates from his studio/foundry in Grapevine, accepting commissions from around the globe and boasting a client base including government commissions, bronze art connoisseurs and collectors.
In addition to his government and private clientele, from 2004 to August 2010 St. Clair was “Resident Artist” for the City of Grapevine, commissioned to capture the history and unique character of the town. His bronzes, including life-size sculptures, can be viewed on the sidewalks and in the city parks.
St. Clair’s new significant masterpiece, The Maverick, does more than inspire – it speaks to the soul – it reveals the conflicts, the passion, and the dreams within, and awakens the spirit’s desire to soar.