Organizations* : AAA, NSS, SAA
One of America’s foremost wildlife sculptors, Dan Ostermiller works in a realist style and is admired for his extensive knowledge of animal anatomy, high level of craftsmanship, and compassionate treatment of his subjects. He is committed to studying animals in their own environments and strives to put character into his pieces. His is a fluid style that conveys grace of motion, and he quite often works on fifteen to twenty pieces at a time. Ostermiller has also taught animal anatomy and the animal characteristics around the world.
Ostermiller was raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and his father, Ron, was a highly respected taxidermist. As a result, Ostermiller was working with clay at an early age. As a teenager, he became his father’s assistant and learned the basic skills of making an animal look life-like, from facial expressions to body language. Breaking away from taxidermy because he wanted to be more creative, Ostermiller spent time in Texas as a hunting guide, and worked on sculpting, moving to Loveland, Colorado to be close to foundries.
During this period he was estranged from his father, who was exceedingly bitter about his son’s decision not to become a taxidermist. The two united in the late 1980’s when the father was dying of cancer. Ron Ostermiller lived long enough to see his son honored for his accomplishments, including the 1987 recognition by the Wyoming governor at the dedication of his sons monumental sculpture at the state capital.
By the late 1990’s, Ostermiller had created nearly 250 different pieces of sculpture. He had made several trips to Africa, accompanying hunters to Rhodesia, but lost his interest in hunting animals for any purpose other than photography. He has great feeling for his subjects, and no desire to harm them.
Ostermiller works from a large studio complex in Loveland, Colorado where he is surrounded by a park of his sculpture, a stream, waterfall, and grounds with wild birds. In addition to sculpting, he enjoys hiking, gourmet cooking, and collecting cars.
Ostermiller is a member of the National Sculpture Society, the Allied Artists in New York, the Society of Animal Artists, Ducks Unlimited, and the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. His work is in such permanent collections as the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming; the Wildlife World Museum, in Monument, Colorado and Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado.