Chris Barela’s love for the water has been lifelong. Growing up at the beach, and later becoming a pro surfer has allowed Chris to travel the world. At the peak of Chris’s surfing career, he had made it into the finals at the Banzai Pipeline Masters.
Having traveled the world’s oceans, Chris retired from professional surfing; however, he still wanted to stay connected to the sea. That connection inspired him to create his first line of bronze sculptures, an amazing life-like collection of big game fish. Barela also created the brilliant finish known today as a patina, and it’s now widely used internationally.
As Barela’s sculpture line grew, so did the opportunities. He accepted various commissions including The Zane Grey “Tales of the Gladiator,” Ted Williams’ Memorial Sculpture, multiple public installations such as the Marlin fountains in Key West, Florida & the Salmon Fountain in Medford, Oregon, the Tim Kelly Statue that sits at the base of the Hermosa Beach Pier in California, and most recently the Bob & Bill Meistrell statue at Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach California.
Along with the public art displays, Chris’ commissioned works are owned and exhibited by celebrities, public institutions, and professional firms. Barela’s passion for nature is the driving force behind his art. Chris’s talents are not limited to bronze sculptures, he excels at photography and film-making and recently was awarded first place in the Hawaii Ocean Film Festival for his short film on the octopus.
Without question, Barela has become one of the world’s best sculptors/patina artists, which grants him the honor of being one of the most influential artists of today. Call our Laguna Beach gallery for more information about procuring some of Barela’s collection-worthy sculptures.