The Miniature Art of Randall Zadar
A Complete Catalog
The purpose of this catalog is to tell the story of Zadar Miniatures and to document the work by providing information to collectors, museums, and art historians. Information like production numbers, issue price, is valuable to art collectors. The production numbers are of major interest to collectors as they reveal the rarity of the work. That information is kept in journals in the studio, but now will be available online. The records show that the work was never mass-produced, by the nature of the difficult process of Lost Wax Casting. Production numbers are low (usually under 100 pieces) making the collection rarer. Also, important to note, that all the pieces have passed through my hands at every stage of production. The work was always produced in my studio where I sculpted the pieces, made the molds, cast and painted on every piece.
The story of Zadar Miniatures is one of overcoming obstacles and challenges. Of being resourceful and creative to find solutions to complicated problems. There were many failures and setbacks, but I always kept going because I believed in the art and the collectors expected me to advance to new levels. Each piece presented its own set of new challenges, from sculpting, molding, casting to painting. But that kept it interesting. So there is a story behind each piece.
My intent of this catalog is to inform and to give insight into the work. Sometimes just looking at a piece, it is difficult to appreciate what it took to produce it. Each has a story, some ending in disaster. At times, I had to break the rules. Basically, to cast bronze I had to heat the metal to about 2000 degrees and then spin it around at high speed in a centrifugal casting machine. Things can go wrong, and sometimes did when you’re working with molten bronze.
This archival catalog covers all the pieces made from the first to the last. There are 240 pieces in the collection, from the first one in 1994 to the last in 2017. Production numbers are included in the catalog as well as unusual items like studio samples, artist proofs, prototypes and paint tests. The secondary market values will not be noted. If you contact me, I can forward you information I have from other sources of any pieces I may know of for sale. All pieces are on the secondary market. All Zadar Miniatures were only made from bronze, silver or gold.
Before going on, I should probably comment on how this all got started. I am often asked how did I get started making miniature bronze figurines. A different career choice and one I didn’t plan for or even knew it existed. So the best answer is, it found me. In 1992, I was running my own office machine business. I became restless and started looking for another career. This started me on the road of creativity, something that was not new to me, as I was always creating things growing up.
The first thing I tried was some inventions based on a mechanical motion. At the same time, I discovered my love of antique classic cars, especially the 1948 Tucker Automobile. The Tucker Car was the spark that really started it all. Many of the early projects I made featured a Tucker, including some wood burnt plaques that I made featuring antique cars. One of these plaques of the Tucker, I showed to my Uncle, and he suggested I sculpt a Tucker out of wax and cast it using Lost Wax Casting.
I had never sculpted anything before and had no idea I could. My uncle was a part-time jeweler and knew about the process. As he showed me the wax and how to shape it, something inside me said, “I can do this.” I took the tools and supplies home and eagerly started sculpting the Tucker miniature car. From that project, I learned how to sculpt, make molds, cast and finish pieces. My uncle set up a casting shop in his garage, and we spent an entire year working through failure after failure until I finally had a good casting of the Tucker. The lessons learned in these early days were the basis for the mold making and casting successes throughout my career.
One of those Tuckers, I took to a local miniature show and met a miniature art dealer from Chicago. He encouraged me strongly to continue and to work smaller in the 1/12th scale. That was the fall of 1993 and by the spring of 1994, I had my first six miniatures ready for debut at an art show in Chicago. By 1995 business was booming, and I closed my office machine business and went full time into creating miniature art.
One thing is for sure, I never got locked into a certain theme. The body of work is very diverse with many different themes. I always tried to keep it interesting and fresh by constantly pushing myself to new levels. This variety I believe was a major benefit to the body of work and something collectors continue to enjoy. After 23 years and 240 editions, it was time to stop. The miniatures will continue to live on, and I hope the legacy of this unique art form will continue to grow in awareness and value.