Blair Buswell: Mormon Sculptor
Blair Buswell is an accomplished sculptor. He is the chief sculptor of the busts for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Since 1983, he has created life-size busts of annual inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Included in the almost 100 inductees to the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame are Jerry Rice, John Elway, Bill Parcels, Brett Favre, Jerry Jones, and Kurt Warner. Two of Buswell's favorites remain former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, who helped him land his job at the NFL Hall of Fame, and his former BYU Cougar teammate Steve Young. His many portrait busts are on permanent display at the Hall’s museum in Canton, Ohio. In 1990, he became the first sculptor to be honored as the Sport Artist of the Year by the United States Sports Academy. He was appointed by the governor of Utah to serve on the Utah Arts Council.
After high school, Buswell went to Ricks College with art, academic, and athletic scholarships. Although he majored in art and was named the college’s top art student, he was also an All-Conference running back and most valuable player in football, and an All-Conference sprinter. He studied illustration at Utah State University before he transferred to Brigham Young University, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in secondary art education with an emphasis in sculpture. Again, while ranking as the top sculpture student, he played on the football team (with Steve Young) and was honored with the Scholarly Athlete Award. While still a senior, he was hired to teach sculpture at BYU and taught beginning and advanced sculpture for the next four years.
Buswell loves the American West. From 2001 to 2009, he and two other sculptors (Edward J. Fraughton and Kent Ullberg) created a city-block long wagon train in Omaha, Nebraska. He created multiple wagons, mules, oxen, horses, and other animals, and figures.
His pieces are displayed nationwide in museums, private collections, college campuses, sports complexes, and fine art galleries. He is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous Group, the National Sculpture Society, and the United States Sports Academy, where he has served on the National Faculty since 1985 and the Advisory Board since 1994.
In 2000 he created a life-size bust of former LDS Church president Harold B. Lee; he has also sculpted President Thomas S. Monson—both are on display in the Conference Center. Buswell is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife, Julie, are the parents of three children.