People in Sculpture

Many of Beyer’s personal and private pieces were of people doing things while trying to discover themselves. His aim was to “crystallize in immediate form the experiences of being human and give expression to things that people value so the values don’t disappear." “A prime example is people making love," Beyer says, “there are three kinds of people – compassionate ones, ones that run along like creatures in a flood (frantic and desperate all the time), and people who beat each other down.” Sometimes his people would be doing joyful things, sometimes acting inappropriately, and often speaking truth to power. In many instances the people are interacting with animals that stand in for people. There is little distinction between them – people are very like animals.

One of the most impressive private sculptures is of “Johnnie Appleseed.” To fully appreciate it one needs to know the story of the legendary Johnnie Appleseed who was famous for planting apple trees in the Midwest with seeds from the East Coast in the mid 19th century. The sculpture illustrates Johnnie’s belief that although he had no wife in this life, he would have two wives in the next life. In Beyer’s version, Johnnie is tall and skinny, like a tree. He is walking along with two buxom angles riding on his shoulders – a vision of his after-life wives. The piece sits in a private apple orchard in central Washington State.