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“To my amazement,
this most arduous material and work have
Zak Zakovi is a Montana artist and master builder who makes his home in Bozeman.
Zak was born in Butte, Montana, in 1944 to a hard rock miner and his wife. He was nine months old when the family moved to Livingston where his father began working for the railroad. Zak’s parents, Hank and Amanda, were both craftsmen. He soldiered his way through the public school system in Livingston. Dyslexic and barely able to read, he entered Montana State University in Bozeman in 1962.
Zak speaks fondly of his mentor at MSU, Robert DeWeese, who “taught me to really draw,” and of Frances Senska, who introduced him to the art of ceramics. During his undergraduate years Zakovi also studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, developing his drawing even further under the eye of Alvin Light and continuing his work in ceramics with Manuel Neri. He returned to MSU and received his Bachelor of Science in Art in 1966.
After graduating with his BSA, Zak began graduate work in Humanities. An extension program took him to Arizona State University to study at Paolo Soleri’s Cosanti Foundation. He stayed at the University of Arizona as a teaching assistant and completed his Master of Fine Arts in 1969. This latter diverse and inspiring education, combined with his own determination, intelligence, talent, and experience, enabled Zak to become the craftsman and disciplinarian he is today. Zak gives credit for his success to all of his teachers but especially to his great mentor, Paolo.
After graduate school, Zak spent a year in Tucson and then returned to Montana to start a family. Practical considerations led him to the construction industry but he immediately shaped his work into yet another conduit for his art. Beginning as a laborer, Zak eventually became a construction and project manager and the owner of his own firm. His business evolved to a high Craft and Art form through Zak’s mastery of Design.
In 1984, in his hometown of Livingston, Montana, Zakovi was featured in a one-man show at the Danforth Gallery. It was a moment of personal importance for Zak since it marked a return to the fine arts after sixteen years in the creative, yet functionally oriented building industry. He has been creating astounding work ever since.
Additional one-man shows have included a major showing of thirty pieces of flatwork and fifteen pieces of sculpture at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, and a sculpture exhibition featuring twelve stone-steel-bronze pieces weighing from 150 to 2400 pounds at New Doors on Art in Tucson, Arizona.
Zak’s commissions, installations, and exhibitions display a wide diversity of work and include such pieces as:
The 14 ton, free standing, Sculptural Stone Arch and fountain commissioned for the Great Falls, Montana, library.
The “Windjammers”, a steel and kinetic pair of sculptures billed as “stones that blow in the wind” for the Livingston, Montana, Wind Festival.
A 25 ton sculptured stone staircase featuring sculptured stone pillars created for a residence at the Yellow Stone Club in Big Sky, Montana.
The lovely “Sun Sit”, a carved stone bench at the Bozeman Public Library.
“Embrace”, a 6600 pound stone sculpture commissioned for Bozeman architect Frank Cikan.
Zak’s work is beloved, his skills are admired and his artistry in unquestionable. Montana is proud to call him a native son and we hope he continues to produce his inspirational work for many, many years to come.