How Scott Johnson created a Fossil Ridge High School staple


Deana Kochis

Scott Johnson in front of Fossil Ridge Sabercat Sculpture

Sydney Lammey, Staff Writer

In 2013, Scott Johnson created Fossil Ridge High School’s sabercat sculpture, Fang. The sculpture is located in the commons and can be seen right when you walk through the door.

The 3-foot tall sculpture is cast from bronze, with details painted with patina.

“You sculpt in clay, and then when your sculpture is done, it goes to a mold maker. The mold maker takes and covers the material and makes a mold. In the case of a big piece like this, the mold maker makes it so that you can take it off in pieces. And then once that mold is on there and done, then they fill that with wax and an old with wax, and then they build another,” Johnson says.

“This [a sculpture of his son] is in honor of our son Scott that passed away in 2001. He was nine years old and I wanted to do something for him. I found an artist in Loveland named Blair Milstein, and Blair did a lot of children’s pieces all over Loveland, one in the library and one in front of the newspaper with kids that are holding a flag. So, I commissioned him and he sculpted what’s called a relief sculpture,” Johnson explains.

Johnson’s first sculpture was a cast of his golden retriever.

“I started by sculpting our dog; he was a golden retriever so I did him from just the bust of him to his head. That was my first piece and it came out pretty good.”

The sculpture started the sabercat project.

“Somebody saw that [the golden retriever sculpture] and they wanted me to do the job… and so it started. When I was over here one time, the principal at the time, back in 2010, asked if I could do a sabercat, so I sculpted a small one, and he was 1/8 the size, and it came out fairly good. And, from there, we decided I could do a big one. [Fang] is one-half life-size,” he says.

Johnson details the research process of creating a sculpture of an extinct animal. 

“I did a bunch of research on sabercats… I even went to the La Brea Tar Pits out in Los Angeles where they have sabercat bones and things like that. So I did research on him, and he’s one-half of what the normal size would be,” Johnson says.

Johnson created the Scott Johnson scholarship in honor of fallen sabercats.

“At the time, another student had passed away. Our son was ten when he died, but he would have come to this high school [Fossil], so we started a scholarship fund under his name and that’s how that came about. But when we had a couple of children that passed away, we decided to put something in there and his honor. The honor of any student has passed away,” Johnson explains.