Hall of Fame and busts: Scott Myers is the man behind the bronze

Josh Harville -- jharville@empiretribune.com
Scott Myers (left) recently completed Charles Haley's bronze NFL Hall of Fame bust, which will be displayed in the hallowed halls in Canton, OH.

Additional reporting by Travis M. Smith.

A Granbury veterinarian of 25 years has been living an exciting life as an artist when he’s not at the animal clinic. Scott Myers of The Pet Hospital of Granbury has been working with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, for decades creating “time traveling” busts of its members.

Of the 295 Hall of Famers from the NFL, as of the current 2015 class, Myers has completed 14 bronze busts of the athletes, over 4% of the total members.

Josh Harville of the Reporter had an opportunity to speak with Myers about his career outside of animal care as an official artist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and other works. Myers was very friendly and excited about his newest bust of recent Hall of Fame inductee Charles Haley.

Haley played for 13 seasons in the NFL, was a two time Defensive Player of the Year (1990, 1995), and to this day is the only player to have ever won five Super Bowls – which included in 1992, ’93 and ’95 with the Dallas Cowboys, according to an SB Nation article. Haley is still very active with America’s Team, and as previously reported by multiple media outlets, even gave the newest Cowboys’ pass rusher – and wearer of his No. 94 jersey, Rangy Gregory a few tips on how to beat All Pro tackle Tyron Smith during the team’s one-on-one pass rushing drills.

Also included into the newest class of NFL Hall of Fame inductees headed for Canton, OH include Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, linebacker Junior Seau, offensive guard Will Shields, center Mick Tingel Hoff, and contributor Bill Polian and Ron Wolf.

Turn to Lifestyles on page A7 to read Myers' interview in its entirety!

So you have made busts for the NFL Hall of Fame, what was your initial thought about it?

“It’s an honor, a blessing, it’s just an amazing thing to be able to be involved with not only something so well known but also something so permanent. To think that I’ve done 4.7% of the heads that are in the Halls is pretty neat, but also to think about it being permanent that my grandkids and their children will be able to go see them is really special to me.”

What is your favorite part of the process?

“There’s two favorite parts. One of them is the challenge of meeting the player and getting to be apart of that player’s journey. There’s so many people that got them there, that coached them, that supported them through junior high, high school, college, pros, their business career and then once they get in there’s all the support staff that helps them with everything from their ring to their coats to their travel plans and the whole center piece of this whole thing is the unveiling of the head; and I get to be that guy. So it’s a really neat part of it. To get to tell them, I want this to be exactly the way you want it to be. It’s going to be permanent so I want it to be just exactly the way you want it, as far as the attitude of the sculpture, the hair style, hair length, facial hair, all that I want to be exactly the way you want it, because it’s going to be permanent and there forever. That part’s really fun for me."

“The other part is the transition from the way they look today and taking them back in time. That’s a part of the process that not a lot of people understand. They want the heads to depict them as they played, not as they are today. Getting a likeness of someone that’s sitting in front of me is not that difficult because I’m literally looking at the shape of the nose, the shape of the cheeks and the jaw and recreating it in three dimensions. But if you then say, now imagine this person 25 years ago, that person doesn’t really remember what they looked like. So I have to help them go back in time and think about what they looked like and get a spot on total likeness of them 25 or 30 years ago. Now Bruce Matthews, he was the only first ballet Hall of Famer I’ve got that I only had to go back five years and that’s not as challenging. With Claude Humphrey I went back 28 years, that’s a big difference. So that’s a real challenging and fun part for me."

How long generally does a bust take?

"It takes about two months. We have the initial period where I receive different measurements, and all I get from them is a sheet of paper with measurements in centimeters the distance between their eyes, the distance from the ears to their chin, distance of the width of their head, and all those kind of measurements. Then I get a CD that has pictures of them as they were a player and today.

"That’s it, and I’m on my own. I have to buy the wood, buy the steal and build the armature and make sure it’s strong, put the clay on the armature and build the head and then start the measurement process. So, that whole process of just going from nothing, from scratch to a three feet head takes about two weeks for me. It’s a real crude process of turning thin air into a head shape.

"Then I pick a point, like a point on the chin and get the earholes and start doing measurements. That measurement process takes me another week to two weeks to get that shape to actually look like the player. This whole time I’m trying to coordinate with this person who’s already famous but is now really famous, because everyone in the world wants them to sign football helmets, sign footballs, play in their golf tournament, speak on television, be on the View, be it wherever these guys go. So, I have to get some time booked with them to them to sit down in a chair anywhere from, I had a guy who wanted to leave in an hour to a guy who wanted to stay two days, and I need as much time as possible to study their head, their bone structure, their nose, their mouth, their eyes, everything about them to try to get an absolute likeness.

"Then after they leave it takes me approximately two to three weeks to take them back in time. That’s where I start really studying photographs. I use their input, some of them want short hair, some want long hair, some want a full beard, some want a mustache all that stuff comes into play. Then when I get it to an absolute close likeness of that I can, if I’m lucky, I’ll let the players see it again, which rarely happens. Then I spend another week just fine tuning, tweaking the littlest tiniest things you can imagine. I use wet-dry sandpaper and put a little piece on my finger tip to try to work the edges to make it as smooth as I can on the skin surface and it also makes them look younger. I keep working and working trying to get that strong athletic and muscular youthful look that most of these men had in their late 20s early 30s. It’s seven to eight weeks. I’m also a full time veterinarian, so it takes me a little longer simply because I have to have my time restricted from that."

Are you going to dabble in other sports?

"I also paint and draw. I like to work in a series where I’ll do a group of sculptures or paintings or drawings from a certain era. Right now I’m doing drawings of early Hall of Famers, I’m talking about going back to Sammy Baugh and Red Grange, the guys that played in the 20s and 30s with the leather helmets. I’m doing a series of drawings of some of those guys, especially the dudes that played without face masks. Then I’m going to try to turn them into a series of paintings as well."

What’s next for you in the arts?

"I think pursuing more of a drawing field. I’d like to get a lot of work under my belt. Like say I can do one head in eight weeks, I could do 20 drawings with charcoal or mixed with some oil paints and mixed media. I’ll have 20 different pieces that I could look at framed, maybe have an exhibit or just use as the ground work for 20 full scale paintings."

Do you get compensated for your talents from the NFL?

"Yes, they pay. I’m not at liberty to tell you how much that they pay me, but I can tell you that I’m a professional sculpture and they certainly pay professional rates. It’s not just for my time, labor and materials, it’s a full commission."

Any closing remarks?

"Living in this area my entire life, I have been a Dallas Cowboys fan since the early days of Tom Landry. Going way back to the days of Don Meredith, even Roger Staubach. Being a Cowboys fan is something that’s almost in my blood, and I’ve watched for a long time them go up and down and it was really something to see Haley play. We’re talking three Super Bowls with the Cowboys and it’s neat to be around.

"It’s really special to be around someone who’s so dedicated to their profession, their achieving excellence, and to get to be able to be the sculptor that did his head for the Hall of Fame is just something I’ve never dreamed would happen. It’s really a blessing. My wife and daughter and her boyfriend are all going to Canton next week. We will be there when Charles walks across the stage and unveils the head. He invited us to his party and we will be attending."