Gaylord Ho was born April 11, 1950, in Hsin-Wu, Taiwan. Born to poor farmers Gaylord spent most of his free time helping, along with his brother, with the chores of scratching out a living on a small rice farm in middle Taiwan. His parents, while certainly not well off financially, were accepting and loving of their children and believed strongly in education. Gaylord was sent off to the public school system as soon as he was of age. He was not, however, relieved of his duties on the farm and spent many afternoons and holidays wading in the rice paddies pulling weeds and grass, planting rice plants or harvesting the latest crops. Water buffalo was the main farm equipment of the day.
After attending the local school system, Gaylord entered and graduated from the National Taiwan Academy of Arts. His parents were tolerant of his artistic leanings; Gaylord says that his first foray into art was with crayons on his mother’s kitchen wall. They were not, however, convinced that art was a good occupation or a good way to make a living. Gaylord was “called” and would not sway from his goal to be an artist. Gaylord graduated at the top of his class. His student sculptures won the National Sculpture Exhibition. While acclaimed as a student, Gaylord realized that he still had to find a way for his art to provide a living.
After fulfilling his military obligation, all Taiwan boys must spend two years in military service after graduating college, he decided that he could advance his sculpting skills by studying under some of the great Japanese sculptors of the day. He traveled to Seto City, Japan, outside of Nagoya, and lived as an apprentice there during 1975 and again in 1977. The opportunity to learn was great. The conditions under which he lived and learned were not so great. Gaylord explains that he ate miso soup every day for breakfast, for lunch and then again for dinner. As a young man it was barely enough to subsist upon and he still complains that his stomach was hungry every day.
The experience, however, gave him sharpened sculpting skills and an in depth knowledge of the techniques of porcelain and ceramic manufacturing. Back in Taiwan, he used these newly acquired skills to gain employment at a well known porcelain factory. During this period, in 1979, he established the Nomiso Porcelain Design Center. I’ve often wondered if the original name meant, No Miso, for no more miso soup. In 1986 the name was changed to Gaylord Design Corporation. Gaylord Design is celebrating their 25th anniversary of business this year.
Over the years Gaylord has enjoyed much commercial success. He is world famous in the gift and collectibles industry for his numerous successful designs. He has been nominated “Artist of the Year” many times by the collectibles industry. He has been honored by such groups as the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers for his award winning sculptures. He has won awards for his individual sculpts almost every year for the past twenty years. Having achieved the financial success that he needed to support his family, Gaylord now is directing his full energy into satisfying the artist within himself. The artist who, as a student created art just for fun, is now being realized but at the hands of an accomplished masterfully skilled sculptor.
Gaylord travels extensively when not sculpting. He shares his time between two homes, one in Chungli, Taiwan and one in Palos Verdes, California. He also spends time in his satellite sculpting studio in Shanghai, China. It is set in a beautiful public park area and allows him time to concentrate on his quiet sculpting job while also practicing his other passion, teaching. Gaylord spends a lot of his time teaching other sculptors and student sculptors about the fine points of his profession. He teaches students in Taiwan and in Shanghai, China.
Currently Gaylord has a new five story building under construction in Taiwan. It is planned to be his long dreamed of design center where he can bring together the many skills needed for accomplishing design jobs. He will teach sketch artists, painters and sculptors how to improve their skills. The main theme in all of his personal sculpts and in all of his teaching is emotion. How to show the emotion of a particular moment in time is his theme. He is a master at being able to translate these emotions into the body, pose and character of his sculptures. Gaylord’s typical day begins at 5 a.m. He walks one mile to his swim club, does Tai Chi for one hour, swims 500 meters, walks the mile back to his home and studio, has a small breakfast and is at his sculpting studio before 9 a.m. He particularly likes to sculpt with the morning light coming through the window at his back. It is his favorite time to create and complete the fine detail that he has become famous for producing. At lunch time he walks across the park near his home and has lunch with his Mother and Father, now 86 and 88 years old, whom he supports and cares for. When he travels, even though he may have been to see his Mother everyday for a month, he still gets complaints from her during his daily phone call; “Why don’t you ever come to see your old mother?” Gaylord says, “That is a universal Mother’s song”.
In the afternoon, Gaylord spends time meeting with his staff, teaching and handling routine business jobs. After the studio is empty and dinner is taken, Gaylord often returns to his sculpting table to work late into the night on his projects of the moment. He prefers to sculpt during those quiet times when he can put all of his attention, all of his skill and all of his soul into the moment and into the sculpture. At 5 a.m., the next new day begins.
Gaylord Ho is masterfully skillful sculptor and an inspired artist. His goal in every sculpture is to bring to life the emotion of the moment being frozen forever in clay.