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Francis Xavier
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Art History

 The Early Years 1965-1975

" The Foundry Crew at San Francisco Art Foundry January 1968"

From Left to Right:  
George Goyer, Jeff Fogman, Onno de Ruijter laughing, Chester Comstock,
, Rol Brenneman

Ghirardelli Square  Mermaid  Fountain
The Mermaid Fountain "Andrea" at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco

I was hired by Ono DeRuyter to work in his foundry in 1966 where I assisted in creating the Mermaid Fountain "Andrea" at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. Helping to create this sculpture in bronze was one of my earliest experiences in the creation of a public monument. My participation included visits to Ruth Asawa's studio to assist with coating the tail sections in wax in preparation for casting and in the creation of lutto (Ground Fire Brick and Plaster) molds for the castings. This was my first experience allowing for exposure to the creative process behind monumental sculpture from start to finish.

During my tenure at San Francisco Art Foundry my apprenticeship training included several guided tours by Ono to the Palace of the Legion of Honor to see their collection of fine art bronzes. This historically important collection of art includes original Greek castings and castings done through the late 19th century in France including works by Rodin, Arp, and other leading sculptors of the modern era.

These castings were looked at and analyzed by Ono with the expert eye of the modern foundry man. Ono was able to point out Roman Joints and assembly marks and the differences in finishing techniques use during the era in which each castings was made. This kind of viewpoint was more than a lesson in the esthetics of the art because these tours gave an inside viewpoint of how these sculptures were cast, assembled and finished.

The second mecca of fine art to which I made a pilgrimage was the infamous cemetery and mausoleum of Forest Lawn in Los Angeles. This cemetery and its obsession with a person's final resting palace was parodied in the movie "The Loved Ones". Having seen the movie who could ever forget the performance of Rod Stieger as " Joy Boy" taking care of his mother who suffered from an eating disorder.

Ghirardelli Square  Mermaid  Fountain
The Mermaid Fountain "Andrea" at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco

Fountian At  Union Square
San Francisco City Scape

In the monumental sculptured fountain located at Hyatt Hotel in Union Square Ruth Asawa collaborated with school children in San Fransico and created scenarios of life in San Francisco using play dough. This fountain was  also cast and assembled by  the crew at San Francisco Art Foundry in 1969. This creative landscaping feature can be seen from several San Francisco Hotels on Union Square.

Rico Lebrun "The Bound Figure of Lazuras"

Working with George Goyer on the casting problems associated with
the sculptures by Rico Lebrun was part of my early traing as a foundryman.

Rico Lebrun scultpture Constructed of wax sheets
and cast direct without intermediate molds.

Lebrun Images Courtesy Of: Tobey C. Moss Gallery

My Sister Andrea

My sister Andra Moore was a model in the bay she modeled for numerous life  drawing classes in the local art classes throughout the bay area in the early sixties. She was instrumental in introducing me to several of my earliest   artistic mentors, Steve Destabler and Alan McCorckle who both were  responsible for molding my talents before going to work for the San Francisco Art foundry

In march of 1968 I was called up in the draft following the Tet Offensive in Viet Nam. The US Army was looking for a few warm bodies to fill the draft quota at the time and I was one of those who were caught up in the draft. As luck would have it  the day I reported for my draft physical was a day when there were 6,000 people in the streets of Oakland Ca. protesting the draft. I had to have a police escort into the building to report for my draft physical.

I chose to do my duty and enrolled in OCS to try and make the best of my situation in the military. My First Duty station out of OCS was Sami San Thialand where I did construction management on local building projects for the US Armay Corp of Engineers.

Lt. Comstock ( Left) In Thialand 1969-1970

After receiving my commission as an officer I spent the next four years in the Army Corp of Engineers doing construction management.

My First Bronze "The Negress" 1966
My First Bronze "The Negress" 1966

A copy of "The Negress" was donated to Reverend Jesse Jackson  and Brigadier General James Hamlet the first black commander of a US Army Division during the time Reverend Jackson visited Fort Carson Colorado and delivered his "Black is Beautiful" soliloquy in the early 1970's. These good will gestures were part of the US Armies racial harmony programs conducted  by the Department of the Army following the Viet Nam war.

The first Viet Nam Memorial
Forth Division Vietnam Memorial at Fort Carson, Co.

Following a one year tour  at Camp Sami San in southern Thailand I was assigned state side duty at Fort Carson Co.  Part of my off duty recreation was creating art for the Fourth Division. I did a representation of the Division Mascot a black Stallion for a gift item given to outgoing staff officers. I was ask to do a representation of the Buffalo which was the Mascot for the 43rd support group, called the providers, and I did a representation of  Kit Carson for the Fort Carson Museum and a representation of the Pack Mules use to hall howitzers by the Tenth Mountain Division.

I also displayed some of my early art work in some art shows related to the racial harmony programs run by the Dept of the Army

 In 1973 Brigadier General John Bennett ask me to design the first Vietnam Memorial ever erected in the USA. This design and the subsequent difficulties with producing the full scale model lead me to resign my commission in the US Army to enable me to pursue my art career.

Following his command of the Fourth Division, General Bennett went to work for Alexander Haig when he was the chief of staff of the White House during the Nixon administration. General Bennett was  placed in charge of security on the Watergate tapes which lead me to believe he may be a good candidate for the identity of  the infamous Deep Throat.

Of course this  strange scenario is pure speculation  on my own part which can never be fully substantiated.

My decision to leave the Army proved to be a good one. However the emotional pain of not being allowed to participate fully in the execution of the Vietnam Memorial bothered me for many years afterward. Every memorial day I still get twinges of anger at the assistant divisional commader I had to deal with that proved to be such an over bearing asshole. However the good news is that after leaving the military my art proved to be an immediate commercial success and I have been doing bronze sculpture and related services for bronze artists for the subsequent 31 years.


Comstock Sculpture Studio
1201 West Thornton Parkway #313
Thornton C0. 80260 
Telephone (303) 657 9778


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