Sabra Tull Meyer has always been fascinated by the human form — especially the face.
Even as a young girl, the renowned Missouri sculptor said she would draw sketches focusing on those themes, although she is hard-pressed to explain just exactly what it is that draws her to recreating those shapes and features in her art.
“You just kind of feel drawn to certain things,” Meyer said. “I like the endless variety, for one thing, of the human face.”
Meyer said she knew she wanted to be an artist as early as elementary school.
“I guess it’s just always been something I liked. Even when I was in first grade here in Columbia, the teacher let us have colored chalk, and we could go up and draw whatever we wanted on the blackboard,” Meyer said. “I thought that was the most fun thing I’d ever done.”
Her work now is displayed in slightly more prominent locations than her elementary classroom. Meyer is the creator of the Lewis and Clark monument in Jefferson City, 10 busts in the Hall of Famous Missourians, the Freedom Flight Veterans Memorial in Boonville and a series of busts for the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. Her work can also be seen at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, the Missouri Highway Patrol Museum, the Missouri State Supreme Court, the University of Missouri, Westminster College and a slew of other locations. She is an associate member of the National Sculpture Society and is listed in the archives of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Meyer has been sculpting — primarily in bronze — for the past 30 years, but she came to the medium in her later adulthood.
Sculpture wasn’t offered at the University of Missouri when she was earning her undergraduate degree. She did sketching and water colors — media she said she still enjoys. It wasn’t until her youngest child was in high school in the mid-1970s that she returned to MU to earn her master of arts and master of fine arts degrees and began to focus on sculpting.
“I had always thought I would like it — I’d worked in clay a little bit and always liked the feeling of manipulating and shaping,” Meyer said. “Turns out I was right.”
She said she enjoys working in bronze because it is a permanent medium.
Meyer has created hundreds of sculptures over the years, including human figures, small to monumental in scale, portrait busts, memorial plaques and wildlife subjects.
Asked if she had a favorite piece, Meyer said she enjoyed the challenge of the Lewis and Clark memorial.
“It was a long project, but I enjoyed it so much,” she said.
She said she enjoyed making the busts for the Chiefs Hall of Fame as well, noting athletes have strong faces and are particularly interesting.
In addition to her sculptures, Meyer’s illustrious career has also included a stint as a teacher. She was an instructor in drawing and fashion design at Stephens College and then taught sculpture at William Woods University in Fulton.
“I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the contact with the students — they are interesting and young and full of their own ideas,” she said. “It was fun for me.”
For more information on Meyer and her art, visit her website at sabratullmeyer.com.