Down Home LA: The Sculptor

A model of Gorum's work honoring the Comanche and Choctaw code talkers of WW1 and WW2. The...
A model of Gorum's work honoring the Comanche and Choctaw code talkers of WW1 and WW2. The full-scale monument is on display at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, La.(KALB)
Published: Sep. 22, 2016 at 1:18 PM CDT
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Jerry Gorum has been around the block once or twice, but always comes back home. Even after traveling the world three times, he “couldn’t wait to get back here.” The Louisiana artist was born and raised in Glenmora and now operates out of a shed turned studio just off Hwy 165.

Gorum was never classically trained in the visual arts but still managed to become a successful sculptor with more monumental pieces in the Bayou State than any other artist.

He got his start late in the game, waiting until after his daughter graduated from college and moved out of the house.

“I’ve always wanted to do this, and I’m not going to wait until I’m sitting in a rocking chair in some nursing home thinking ‘if I could have tried that I might could’ve made it,’” said Gorum reflecting on his decision to get into sculpture. He went on to continue to say that support from his wife made the life-changing decision a ‘no-brainer.’

He told her, “I’m going to try it now… If you don’t want to be married to a guy without a paycheck, get you a lawyer, and she said ‘Look. We’ve been married a long time. I’m with you…’ That helped a lot,” he said laughingly.

He’s a local artist turned Louisiana Historian. With each piece, he goes back in time through research to make sure every detail is illustrated to perfection.

“The biggest pleasure in doing sculpture is the research you do on the subject,” said Gorum. “You have to find out what that person was like.”

The research he does affects the sculptures facial expression, clothing and stance. Since bronze monumental pieces last for quite a while, he feels he might as well get it right.

“We’re still enjoying sculpture made before the birth of Christ,” said Gorum. “Bronze will be here forever.”

Gorum loves his home state of Louisiana and his Glenmora heritage. It reflects in just about everything he does, but the best example is a story he told about a job offer to pack up his sculpting shop and move closer to a foundry in Houston. The friend that offered the move said he could be a “millionaire in no time.” An easy decision for most artists, Gorum’s response left me stunned.

“I would rather be in jail in Glenmora than a millionaire in Houston,” said Gorum. “I still feel I made the right choice.”

Nothing against Lone Stars, but there’s just something about Down Home Louisiana.